Betel celebrates 25 years in the UK

Over the weekend of Friday 20/Sunday 22 May, ‘Betel UK’ will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of its first British base at Windmill House in Alvechurch. Betel centres now also operate around the UK in Nottingham, Derby, Watford, Manchester, Hexham and Motherwell. A large multifunctional space has been created in Chester Street, Aston, which houses Anchor Point Church, a range of social enterprises, an arts performance suite, a dance studio, conference and meeting facilities, a community outreach centre, a cafe with soft-play area and a resource library.

Betel UK is dedicated to restoring homeless, addicted and long-term unemployed people to healthy, independent lifestyles. Its UK residences currently provide help and hope to around 350 recovering people. Betel trains men and women in a wide range of life and employment skills, equipping them to build a stable and productive future. All Betel’s residences are drug- and alcohol-free and totally free of charge. To support its work Betel UK runs social enterprises, including ‘Gardens by Betel,’ ‘Treeworks by Betel,’ ‘Betel UK Furniture’ and ‘Rising Café.’

Betel UK is part of the larger work of ‘Betel International’ network, which began in early 1985 in Madrid when Betel (Spanish for ‘Bethel’) received its first destitute men and women off the streets through the pioneering work of a team of ‘WEC International’ missionaries. Over the last 37 years, more than 200,000 homeless and socially disadvantaged people have been helped around the world. Today, Betel residences host more than 2,400 recovering men and women free of charge in 100 urban areas in 23 nations.

Betel belongs or relates to various Christian alliances in most of the countries where it works. Betel remains a ministry of WEC International and is a founding members of ISAAC (The International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition). In the UK, Betel is a member of the ‘Ground Level’ network of churches and the Evangelical Alliance. It works in close partnership with secular, governmental and private charities and institutions which provide similar- or related-services. Betel receives referrals from agencies including the Probation and Prison Services, the Courts, the Police, homeless hostels, local communities, other voluntary drugs and alcohol projects, and churches and religious groups. Over the years, it has received assistance from the Bournville Village Trust, The Vardy Foundation, Aston Reinvestment Trust, HSBC, The Charities Aid foundation, TRIODOS Bank, Proyecto Trust, The First Fruits Foundation and many others.

The problems of homelessness, family break-up, long-term unemployment and substance-abuse continue to grow, while statutory funding to address them shrinks. Betel UK’s purpose is to rescue those on the slippery slope to despair who want to rebuild their lives but can’t get into overburdened, under-funded state provision. In keeping with its pattern of growth around the world, Betel is committed to expanding into every major city in the UK as properties and funding become available, offering hope and hospitality free of charge to the neediest men and women of Great Britain – at no additional cost to government, social services or families.

For more information about Betel UK, click HERE. To read about Betel International, click HERE. WEC International’s UK website is HERE. Ground Level’s website is HERE.

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