The Besom In York Love. Pray. Give. Go. Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:56:06 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The Besom In York 32 32 178353335 Thanking God for 2020 Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:56:01 +0000

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

1 Peter 1: 3-4 (NIV)

Unexpected is the word I would use to describe 2020! As I’m sure, most people would. Here at the Besom, it was a strange journey in many ways. And yet, as these verses remind us, as Christians we always have so much to thank God for. Our present circumstances cannot obscure the living hope we have in Jesus.

Therefore, after a year full of disappointment and hardship, I want to share some good news instead. Here are some of my highlights from last year.

Before Covid-19 hit, one of our time givers and I had a really precious time getting to know one our recipients. A young mum with two little ones. The first time we met her, her baby was sleeping in a box. Through donations to Bundles of Joy, we were able to get her a Moses basket and a cot, some toys and some other things she needed. We built her cot for her, and it was a privilege to get to know her. It was an absolute joy to be able to have money given to buy her a new mattress as well.

Although we were not able to facilitate many decorating or gardening projects, the ones that did take place were amazing. One family, in the middle of lockdown, gave a day of their time to clear one of our recipient’s gardens. They worked incredibly hard and made an incredible difference to another family’s life.

Another highlight for me was the amount of money that was given throughout this year. In particular, we were given a gift specifically for those who had been struggling due to Covid. We were able to buy wardrobes for a family where a parent lost their job due to Covid. We bought white goods, bunk beds, baby formula and several food hampers too. We were also able to help 15 families/individuals with money towards their gas and electricity bills and buy three washing machines, seven microwaves, two fridge freezers, a set of bunk beds, four mattresses and a table and chairs for those in need across our city.

Over the year, we were able to give 12 household/kitchen packs to those in need, ranging from families moving from temporary accommodation into their homes, those who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, to some escaping domestic violence and others coming out of prison.

My biggest highlight of the year, as it is most years, was Christmas Hamper season. It was our busiest yet, and our highest number of hampers ever given. It was tough, busy but fulfilling, beautiful and a joy to be part of. Our final tally was 264 hampers! One of the greatest parts for me has been reflecting on how many churches were involved in helping give hampers – another record. We had time givers, money givers and hamper makers from 19 different churches. And that’s what Besom is for – to help the church – collectively – help those in need in our city.

Although we were somewhat limited on what we could do throughout much of 2020, I’m still amazed that we were open and operating throughout the majority of lockdown.

Thanks be to God!

Becky Watson, The Besom in York Co-ordinator

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Covid-19 Update. September 2020 Mon, 07 Sep 2020 16:49:06 +0000 The Besom in York is still open.

We are able to help people give money to those in need. (This can be specifically to help those struggling as result of the pandemic)

We are able to help people give their baby items. (Please contact

We are able to help people give small household items e.g. bedding, kitchen items, household electricals etc.

We are able to help groups give their time to do gardening. (Volunteers need to be from the same household for this)

We are exploring getting the furniture side of Besom back up and running. Updates to follow.

If you are key worker, and would like to refer please email

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Putting Faith Into Action Mon, 07 Sep 2020 16:35:33 +0000 [written 15th June 2020]

Partnering with local churches is key to all we do at the Besom in York. We seek to help Christians across the city give to those in need, sharing God’s love in practical ways. So we love it when churches really ‘get’ that vision and become involved on a regular basis. Over the years, York Vineyard’s ReVive team has done just that. You may have read posts like this one about them on this very blog. And now in our latest post, seven members of that ReVive team share their own Besom reflections.


How long have you been giving your time through ReVive?
About a year and a half, I think! 

What’s been your most memorable project and why?
A tough question! In terms of actually seeing the impact and the relationship and change built, one of the more recent ones we did involved clearing a lot (and I mean a lot) of rubble from a family’s garden, so their children could play outside again. The family were all lovely but in particular, one little girl, who spent the whole time insisting she would help us. It was a long one, but she soldiered through, one rock at a time. This one stays with me especially because it was just before the Covid-19 outbreak, so I’m really glad that the family will have been able to actually play safely in their garden throughout lockdown.

How has giving your time in this way helped you in your faith?
In so many ways! I think anything, where we put our faith into action, grows us. Especially when it involved a sacrifice – such as your Saturday afternoon. God always honours that. I’ve learnt more about loving practically, and what it means to serve people, even when that looks like cleaning up some particularly gross things! I’ve also always been encouraged by the relationships built with the other people on the ReVive team, they’re the very best bunch of people. 

Would you encourage others to do the same and if yes, why?
100%. Definitely. Honestly, it took me a while to get round to joining in. Put it in your calendar and commit. Even if that’s only once to start with. Once is enough – it’s a team you’ll want to serve with, and something that you will love doing so much that you will want to do it again. 


How long have you been giving your time through ReVive?
Four years.

What’s been your most memorable project and why?
Andrew’s* garden! He joined in most of the time and that gave us a chance to get to know him a bit better.

How has giving your time in this way helped you in your faith?
It gives an opportunity to work out our faith.

Would you encourage others to do the same and if yes, why?
Yes! It is always good to help less fortunate people and help to provide a better environment for them. It also provides an opportunity for outreach with the possibility of introducing them to the Lord.


How long have you been giving your time through ReVive?
I have been a member of ReVive since it started at York Vineyard. and I manage to get to about 60% of the sessions.

What’s been your most memorable project and why?
I don’t think I have a memorable project other than trimming a bees nest! But I do remember those sessions where we have completely finished a task rather than leaving it as work in progress.

How has giving your time in this way helped you in your faith?
One thing we are encouraged to do in church is to serve. I do a couple of things serving in church but being a member of the ReVive team involves serving outside of church and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. My faith is strengthened by seeing how others struggle to live life. I include those less fortunate than us in my prayers and give thanks to the Lord for the relative good life I enjoy.

Would you encourage others to do the same and if yes, why?
Definitely, yes! You get to know people in church and it’s usually fun with plenty of banter. On the other hand you can feel exhausted at the end of a session, but have the satisfaction that you have helped others less fortunate than yourself.


How long have you been giving your time through ReVive?
Peter and I have been involved with ReVive for about three years and have worked with other people from our church.

How has giving your time in this way helped you in your faith?
We feel part of God’s family and enjoyed giving our time  to people who need a helping hand. Seeing the joy on people’s faces when their garden is cleared and becomes more manageable, makes us feel blessed that we have the God-given skills to be his hands and feet and to spread the Good News.

Would you encourage others to do the same and if yes, why?
We hope that other people will join the team and enjoy time with our church family  to bring hope and help to those who need Jesus in their lives. We have had good fun and it has brought us closer with other people in the church


What’s been your most memorable project and why?
For myself I would say that the relationship that has stood out the most is the one with Mary*. What began as a challenge to come alongside someone who was very difficult and quite aggressive at the time has turned into a lovely and loving friendship. She loves the Lord and she is a blessing as a friend and to the wider church community. God has turned her life around, given her a family and friends and restored and healed some of her most important relationships. 

How has giving your time in this way helped you in your faith?
What it has done at times, over the years, is show me my own prejudices and judgements about others which I wasn’t aware of and which I have been able to take to God. Giving in this way has helped me to grow more into the likeness of Jesus and for that I am very thankful. It has also clearly shown me that the circumstances of my life are the result of God’s grace and not my own doing. Giving in this way has reminded me that we are all made in God’s image, regardless of our circumstances and no matter where we find ourselves.

Would you encourage others to do the same and if yes, why?
I would recommend it as a way to put your faith into action and come alongside others as the heart, hands and feet of Jesus. It’s a great way to learn more about yourself and the state of your own heart. It is also great fun working together as a team and getting to know others from in your own church that you wouldn’t otherwise.


What has been your most memorable project and why?
I first met Dave* about two years ago. He lived alone and needed the whole of his garden organised for him. Weeds, bushes, nettles, mounds of earth and other indescribable items awaited me and the rest of the team. It soon became apparent that this was not an ordinary job. Dave was there to supervise, direct and make sure it was done according to his exacting standards. 

But what a response it had! Dave had a new garden. Very manageable and a grin from ear to ear. Subsequently, I have agreed to a trip to the seaside with him. Dave still has some issues but the way he has responded is brilliant. I feel we have made a quite lonely, apprehensive, anxious man very happy and he appears to have a more positive attitude to life, which is surprising given the current climate. 

Dave still has many problems but imagine how you feel having such success. The word impossible is not one to bandy around when coming in contact with people who have such major needs. Let’s face it if I hadn’t been to his house those Saturday afternoons I wouldn’t have had the privilege of getting alongside one of society’s many marginalised people and I can always do my own garden on other days. The Besom has been great for us – as a group from our church it has brought us all together and we are never short of laughs! – and I look forward to many more projects.


What has been your most memorable project and why?
My obvious one is our first time meeting Mary*, doing her garden, and how wonderful that she came to faith in Jesus and has continued  on her journey. We  cycled past her house a couple of  weeks ago and she was out in her garden so we chatted for a while. It was so encouraging to see her and hear how she is continuing to stay connected via Zoom meetings.

Another happy memory is clearing the very over-run garden for York’s first Syrian refugees, a lovely Muslim family. It was so good to know that we were helping them to feel welcome here, but also that they would be using the garden to grow food to provide for the family. It has also been great to hear of the continued support the family has had from the church with English lessons and to see them at the Christmas services.

There have been some jobs that were very difficult, often smelly and hard work. But the joy that comes from pulling together as a team and extending God’s love into the community makes it worthwhile.

* names changed for confidentiality

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Important Covid-19 Update Mon, 07 Sep 2020 16:29:55 +0000 [written 31st March 2020]

Thank you for your patience in this unprecedented time. Even during such uncertain circumstances, we remain committed to our vision and purpose: helping the church in York to pray for, care for, support and give to those in need in our city.  


Some of the ‘usual’ ways people give through the Besom in York and Bundles of Joy are not possible in the current situation. However, there are still ways to give.

We are passionate about prayer. We will endeavour to serve the church in York by encouraging and equipping the church to pray to our Heavenly Father. Do check our FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages for prayer prompts. We continue to pray that Christians in York will be led by God to give financially to those who are vulnerable and in need. We remain committed to helping people give financially and to ensuring financial gifts are used specifically and effectively.  

We believe God is a creative God and we pray that Christians in York continue to be led by Him about how they can give their time to others, in these challenging circumstances. Working within the current constraints, we are committed to helping Christians who want to give their time to those in need.

Please note, currently: 

  • We are only carrying out essential/urgent deliveries
  • We not currently collecting any items
  • We are not facilitating any face-to-face time giving projects
  •  We are still taking referrals from care professionals and key workers

Thank you for your ongoing support and for giving through the Besom in York.

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New Decade, Same Vision Mon, 07 Sep 2020 16:25:05 +0000 [Written 9th March 2020]

The start of 2020 has flown by! We thought we would share some recent “sweepings” of news from The Besom in York. And while we are approaching our 13th birthday, our vision of enabling the church to give remains unchanged.

First off, in early January it was lovely to meet with friends from both The Besom in Sheffield and The Besom in the Wirral. We spent the day together, praying, worshipping and sharing stories and ideas on how to run Besoms better. It was great to link up with our extended Besom family.

Our van finally has some new signs! (And we really enjoyed being able to park in this picturesque spot recently!). It’s been through the wars recently and is currently in the garage after failing its MOT. We’d appreciate prayers for its speedy recovery!

Van with a view!

In terms of furniture, over the last three months we have helped people give:

  • two household packs
  • a toddler bed
  • six curtain poles
  • two kitchen packs
  • four stairgates
  • two cots
  • a rug
  • a cleaning pack
  • a single bed
  • a kingsize bed
  • a TV stand
  • a table and six chairs
  • a mirror
  • a desk
  • two prams
  • two wardrobes
  • a chest of drawers
  • an armchair
  • a bedside table
  • a double bed base and a cooker!

It’s been busy!

Besom blog March 9
The van team in action

We have also been given some money gifts which have helped those living in fuel poverty.


In February, we had the Archbishop of York Youth Trust Staff Team (left) give their time to help three different recipients with decorating. They did a fantastic job and we will hear more from them on our blog soon!

Our van team had a really special time delivering a cot to a family in need. It was a privilege to be able to assemble the cot for the family, and now their two-year-old no longer sleeps on the floor.

We have been really blessed to have the ReVive Team from Vineyard Church give their time again to help a recipient with her garden. Look at these brilliant before and after photos!

Besom blog March 9 (1)
Great work from the ReVive team at York Vineyard

And lastly, we have just started receiving some offers for some Easter Hampers, a real encouragement to us. It’s been a joy to ring some recipients who were unable to receive Christmas Hampers from us in December (we simply didn’t have enough to meet all the referrals) and offer them an Easter Hamper instead. If you would like to give one, please do get in touch.

Easter Hampers - twitter_instagram (1)

I’m continually amazed by what God does through the Besom each week and I’m looking forward to more stories throughout the rest of this year!

Becky Watson, Co-ordinator, The Besom In York

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Gospel-shaped Giving Thu, 24 Oct 2019 10:19:57 +0000 We love sharing stories about the different ways churches in York are giving through the Besom. Whether that’s delivering white goods on a van run, decorating a recipient’s house or organising the annual Christmas hamper distribution, it’s great to celebrate the different ways giving is taking place.

But you may be wondering what makes all this specifically ‘Christian’? We always offer to pray for our recipients, but is that the only difference between The Besom in York and many secular charities who are doing great work to care for the poor and needy in our city?

Firstly, we should say that there is nothing intrinsically better about the social action we’re involved in at the Besom. We make no claim of being perfect and know that at times our limited resources will not be enough.

Instead, the key difference is how faith in Jesus shapes everything we do as Christians. Because Jesus has saved us through his death on the cross, we are called to live for him in response. The motivation we have for giving through the Besom and anything else we do as Christians is the love that Jesus has shown us. Indeed, the Bible is clear that whatever we do, including our giving, we should do it as working for the Lord.

Therefore, when we give, we should be doing it for God’s glory. That should mean we are fully committed to our Besom giving, but we should never think we are earning our way into God’s good books by it.

The Bible is also clear that caring for the poor and needy is what God calls his people to do. The starting point should be that no one in our churches is in that position, but in both the Old and New Testament believers are told to demonstrate their faith in the way they treat the most vulnerable in society.

In Deuteronomy 10, we read that God “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt”. Likewise, in James 1, Christians are called to “look after orphans and widows in their distress”.

It is our ultimate prayer and longing that all Besom recipients come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour and themselves become members of churches in York. We are and will always be open about our faith in Jesus and look to share the gospel, the best news in the world whenever we have the opportunity. Gospel mission should never be separated from social action. They should always fuel each other and we must always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us about the hope that we have in Jesus.

A blog entry I wrote in 2015 shares more about the Besom vision. And in it, James Odgers, who founded the Besom nationally, said: “It is offensive to proclaim the good news without demonstrating it. It is a waste of time to demonstrate the good news without proclaiming it.”

As Christmas hamper season approaches, we pray that we will keep doing both of these. What makes Besom giving ‘Christian’? It’s realising that we give out of gratitude to the Ultimate Giver.

Ed Mezzetti, Core Team Member and Blog Editor




*Please note, we apologise for any adverts you might see on this page. They are generated by WordPress, are nothing to do with us, and we would not recommend clicking on them. We are working on a new website to fix this issue soon!*

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Hamper Season Is Upon Us Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:56:31 +0000 It’s always our busiest and most exciting time of year! We are preparing, once again, to help people give Christmas hampers to families and individuals in need across the city.

There are lots of different ways to get involved with hampers during the run up to Christmas. If you’re interested in joining in, please do contact us. The best way to get in touch is by email –

How you can play your part

Praying – Please do pray for us. Giving hampers involves a lot of co-ordination, time and effort. We absolutely love it, but please pray for strength and energy for the team. Please pray for those making up hampers, that God will prompt them to put things in that are just right for the families they are going to, despite them having not met before. Pray that those who receive hampers will know the unending love of God and the true meaning of Christmas.

Make a hamper – Probably our most popular way to give! Fill in our form here to let us know who you might like to make for and we will get back in touch with a family or individual who has been referred to us. You can then choose to deliver it yourself (we do require a reference from a church leader for this) or drop the hamper to our office. The deadline to do this is Monday, 16th December. Need some ideas for what to put in your hamper? Click here

Be a deliver-er! Spend a morning, afternoon or all day being on one of our delivery teams. (We do require a reference for this role).

Be a wrapper – Come and spend some time in the office, packing and wrapping. Some people like to give items towards a hamper, so we often need people to pack them for specific families/individuals.

If you are a key worker/ care professional and would like to refer someone for a hamper, please email us –




*Please note, we apologise for any adverts you might see on this page. They are generated by WordPress, are nothing to do with us, and we would not recommend clicking on them. We are working on a new website to fix this issue soon!*

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12 things that made our summer Mon, 09 Sep 2019 08:00:41 +0000

A recent team photo

Summer has flown by and September is well under way!

Here are 12 things that have happened at The Besom in York since we last posted…

1. We’ve had lots of office time givers in! It’s been brilliant. Uni students on summer holidays, retired folk, and just generally people with time to spare! A big thanks to Josh, Maisie, Elaine, Jonny, Ruth, Meg, Peter, Ed and Louis who have all given their time over the holidays.

2. We had a break in. Nothing was taken, but please pray for Living Word Church, who host us, as they deal with the damage.

3. We’ve started planning for Christmas! (yes, really) our busiest time of year needs lots of organising. We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to give your time in December!

4. Money giving has meant we have been able to pay for –

A food shop for a family in need

A week long football camp for a child

A new school uniform

A brand new cot

4 x new kitchen packs

3 x microwaves

1 x hoover

5. We have collected and delivered a tumble drier, a bed base, a hoover, shelving unit, coffee table, chest of drawers, wardrobe, a TV, duvets and a double mattress.

6. Over July and August we received 40 new referrals

7. The ReVive Team from Vineyard church tackled a huge garden for a recipient in the south of York.

8. Rachel from Bundles of Joy has moved to Newcastle! Click here to see our Facebook post on this. We will miss her greatly! Please pray for her and her family as they move.

9. We prayed for a wardrobe and two days later one has been offered!

10. We had a problem with the van and had to call breakdown. They said they’d be 4 hours. We prayed and the RAC turned up in 15 minutes!

11. A giver gave us a clothes airer. At the next recipient’s house we went to, we discovered that hers had just broken. She was over the moon to receive a new one!

12. Becky bumped into some fellow Besom-ers at New Wine (a Christian conference in Peterborough). It was lovely to talk all things Besom with others from Besoms round the country. (see photo below)

Thanks to everyone who has given their time, money and furniture through The Besom in York over the summer. Please pray for us as we head into Autumn.

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 14.00.35

Swift service from the RAC


WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 14.01.43

Dealing with the summer heat!

WhatsApp Image 2019-09-05 at 14.00.20 (1)

Josh on van duty


Besomers at New Wine

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SHACKworks get stuck in Wed, 10 Jul 2019 13:00:25 +0000

Some of the SHACworks team members

It has been fantastic to have students from Ampleforth College getting stuck into projects with the Besom in recent years – and we were delighted to welcome another of their SHACworks teams to York at the end of June. The team of 14 students rolled up their sleeves to decorate and garden for a mum and her daughter. Here’s their teacher Alison Rogerson’s report to the team’s parents of how they got on…

Entering the home for the first time on Tuesday morning and seeing what they had been asked to achieve was, I suspect, daunting for most, but they utterly transformed the spaces they were asked to tackle.

The daughter’s bedroom was entirely redecorated, the kitchen was also totally decorated and the gardens front and back which were transformed, even to the extent that two patio areas were uncovered and brought back in to use.

Students were so moved by their interaction with the mum in particular that they asked if they could add a few small, but meaningful finishing touches. On Thursday morning, we shopped for wildflower seeds for a bed which had been dug out but which had poppies in it that were carefully dug around, AA batteries in huge quantities for the abundance of fairy lights woven around the daughter’s bed none of which were working, and a sunflower to adorn the garden table which had been found and placed on one of the ‘new’ patios.

The mum was especially touched when presented with solar fairy lights, 200 of them, to wind around the newly trimmed trees in her front garden which had been planted by her father who died earlier in the year. These were strung around the trees before we left and we all hoped as dusk fell that they were twinkling brightly!

The mum repeatedly asked that I tell you explicitly how proud she hopes you are, she was utterly blown away by the efforts of your child and the way in which all presented themselves.

You can read about how some of the previous Ampleforth teams have given time with the Besom by clicking on the links below

2016 report

2015 preview

2015 report

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What can I give? #5 Wed, 05 Jun 2019 13:00:34 +0000 Our fifth and final post in our series – What can I give?

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.” (Acts 20:35)

Copy of What can I give_ out of

We like a challenge and over the years we’ve been approached by lots of different people who have come up with creative, out of the box, ways to give.

The Besom exists to help you give in whatever way you feel called to and sometimes this looks completely different to the ways we’ve described in our previous posts.

One of our favourites was when someone approached us about giving a princess party to a family in need. We approached a mum of nine and asked her if any of her children would appreciate a party. Alas, none of her children had a birthday coming up. We went back to the lady who had offered to give, she approached her church, and together they decided to throw a party for the whole family anyway! Superheroes and princesses were in attendance, there were plenty of games and lots of food. The family had a wonderful time. A beautifully creative way to give.

Another example was when a local artist approached us about doing some paintings for recipients. She would pray each week then come with a painting for us to give. It was wonderful to see God work through her and present the paintings to people in need. One lady was particularly touched and it made a lovely addition to her home.

If you have an idea with a way you’d like to give, we would love to hear from you.

Please email:



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