We write to update you on the work at Horizon Life Training.
First and foremost, we give glory to God for all He has done over the last 10 incredible years of life transforming work through Horizon Life Training.
For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8 v 28
You may be aware that since the lifting of Covid restrictions we have struggled with the number of referrals coming into the centres. We have received 15 referrals over the last 12 months, however 10 of these left HLT early (some felt strong enough to seek their full independence in community early and some were sadly evicted, which is of course the nature of our work). We had an average of 11 residents towards the end of last year, but numbers have reduced since then and in May 2023 we had just 4 residents. Our capacity is for 15 residents at Killinghall Farm and 8 at the Women’s Centre at Bramall House. This has needed some serious reflection.
It is important to recognise that our referral rehab Managers fully endorse and support the work of HLT, informing us that we are their first option to their residents at move on for those who are wanting to upskill and retrain for future employment. We are truly grateful and have been continually blessed by their support. Yet there are several factors that have changed since we started this work. Some of our referral rehabs have now progressed their work and also offer educational packages of their own and in addition Green Pastures have opened a large similar facility with capacity for around 200 residents. At the same time, the feedback from our referral rehab Managers is that the number of those wanting to choose a further residential program following rehab is dropping – there are more employment opportunities than there were 10 years ago and many seek a more immediate independence or return to family. Whilst we have been active each year in visiting the rehabs to promote our work and the opportunity it provides, in the view of Teen Challenge we should not expect to be working with the numbers of residents we have had in earlier years, suggesting we should think in the terms of 6 – 8 residents rather than 20+.
The difficulty with lower resident numbers is the challenge of balancing our income with our running costs. Much of costs are fixed – staff costs, rates and utilities which have all significantly increased. We have naturally been pro-active in reducing our costs as resident numbers have fallen and you will be aware we made the difficult decision in early 2022 to ‘mothball’ the Bramall House Women’s Centre until we could secure a higher resident intake. However in reducing costs we introduce additional challenges – we currently employ just the Centre Manager and one Support Worker to operate a 24-hour support facility and we believe that is not a sustainable long term structure. We think the minimum number of staff required is 4, however it would be challenging to be financially sustainable operating 4 staff with just 6 – 8 residents.
We have therefore made the difficult decision after much prayer and discussion to not pursue additional residents this year and allow the current work of HLT to wind down over the remainder of 2023. We see this not as a closure of HLT but as a managed sabbatical. It will allow us a period for planning and reorganization. We want to reassure all that we wholly trust that God will continue to use the vessel of HLT for His glory, with it continuing to be purposed to reach those in need of a safe place to heal, restore and transform their lives. We are not in a crisis financially but we seek to be responsible stewards of our financial resources and seek to look ahead at how our financial model will work.
We will need to work closely with our Landlords to determine the path ahead. We have a few ideas on the table; possibly the support of young people (where a there is a clear lack of provision currently), possibly to provide Christian respite accommodation, possibly simply a re-boot of our current model for HLT but widening our opportunity beyond an addiction related follow on program, to name a few. Whatever the next phase has in store for us, it will need careful planning, adjustment and organisation – hence the need for our shorter term wind-down
We are open and excited for whatever God has for us in this next season and ask you to join us in prayer. We thank you all for your steadfastness as in the last 10 years your prayers, support and generosity have enabled 156 lives to receive the life changing work of HLT!
Your ongoing support is so important to us as we navigate this next chapter. We stand united on His Word.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart! Galatians 6:9
Therefore, let us continue to be God’s ambassadors, joining together in declaring that Jesus is Lord over all our land. Let us pray and believe that “greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done here!”
We would naturally be pleased to receive your thoughts and will seek to answer any questions arising as best we can. Please feel free to contact the HLT office in the first instance.
With grateful thanks