“Homeless man is admitted to Nottingham’s Queens Medical Centre having been badly burnt in waste skip fire.”
This single event in 1995 was to lead to the formation of the Aspire Trust, which in turn, was the forerunner of today’s Canaan Trust.
A minister from one of Long Eaton’s churches recognised that the unfortunate man behind this newspaper headline would still have nowhere to sleep or stay when he might eventually be released from hospital. This minister decided to invite the man into his own home. Subsequently, members of the minister’s church, the Oasis Christian Church, provided the funds for the lease of the charity’s first house for homeless people.
By 2000, run primarily on a voluntary basis, the Aspire Trust had acquired three properties and was able to provide shelter to 15 individuals both male and female.
In 2005, with the acquisition of Jordan House in Main Street, Long Eaton the Aspire Trust became the Canaan Trust with the charity working in co-ordination with the county council and the Government’s Support People initiative. Client referrals came from Erewash Borough Council, Broxtowe Borough Council, Barnardos, Social Care, the Prison Service, and client self referrals.
The trust is still run by a board of volunteer trustees. An independent Christian charity, the Canaan Trust seeks to show the love and care of God to all who seek its help and support. This, of course, does not mean that its clients have to have any religious belief or affiliation. Each person is embraced as a unique individual, equally and inclusively embracing their diversity in terms of their own religion (or none), race, age, gender, and need.
The Trust is sustained in an informal, voluntary, non-structured manner, by all of the Christian churches and denominations across Erewash and Broxtowe. This support provides a solid community base which enables the project to undertake much of its work, receiving invaluable financial and spiritual support.
Today Canaan Trust provides accommodation, support and sustenance for all the homeless who seek its help. As well as responding to the needs of those clients who come to live in one of its homes the trust supports all who come to its doors. It provides food parcels, toiletries and warm clothing to the men and women who regularly or periodically call. The Trust aims to engage with all the street homeless in the area, those who might be “sofa surfing” or living in garages, sheds, or cars. Its pastoral care means it is happy to assist and guide individuals in whatever manner they may need help and support.