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Make your next action count

Vivienne Wiggins, Chief Executive Officer of Beacon House, Colchester, and Chair of the Essex Faith Covenant Steering Group, welcomes the opportunities Inter Faith Week 2018 bring to strengthen our communities.

"I sometimes think that Beacon House has an impossible job.

"Each day we open our doors with no idea who will come in, or what their issues may be. We know that they may be lonely and isolated; that they may be frightened and confused by the situation they are in; and that they may have been rejected or shunned from several other places in Colchester. We also know that the reason that many people come into Beacon House is because we know them by their name. They are greeted and respected and valued.

"I manage a team of fantastic staff and volunteers at Beacon House, who are prepared to accept, encourage and support everyone who comes through the door. I support the team to do their best with the resources available, and to believe that each person we support has a value and a purpose. I keep the environment safe, legal and solvent, so the team can concentrate on the people we serve.

"We are constant in the provision of our services; nursing services for those who are sick, food for those who are hungry; clothes and showers for those who are dirty and would be naked without the clothes we give them. These are the services that Jesus is expecting us to do, and the commission is over 2,000 years old. We can offer this help free of charge, supported by the donations of food, time and money from local churches, schools and individuals. These arrangements encourage everyone to do whatever they can and builds a wider community of compassion and care around our work.

"Every day, each one of us have hundreds of opportunities to interact with other people, and to choose how we react to the different people that we meet. In our encounters with vulnerable and less fortunate people it is sometimes easier to blame the system or blame the person who is suffering and say it is their fault. The more challenging option is to look for good in the situation and ask ourselves what we can do to improve the community around us.

"We work closely with the DWP, Probation services, local GPs and hospitals, local landlords, substance misuse services and social services. The support needed to help someone into a stable and fulfilling life involves many statutory and voluntary agencies, and it is only by working together and respecting each other’s constraints and offers that we can get results. We encourage partners to have a solution-focussed approach to get the best outcomes for the people who need our help. Whatever role we are in at work or in the neighbourhood, we all have something to offer to contribute to a more caring and supportive community.

"Today marks the start of Inter Faith Week; I’d encourage you to embrace this, not by visiting a website, or attending an event, simply by asking yourself to think of the loneliest or most vulnerable person that you know, and how your next action will make their lives better or worse?"


Vivienne has experience in housing, production control, advice services, substance misuse and community funding, as a parent and in a range of voluntary roles, which she uses in her day to day management of a very busy day centre that provides holistic support and services for homeless and vulnerable people in North Essex.

Posted Monday 12th November 2018