Your basket
Your basket
0 items - £0.00

Personal tools

Home News The genesis of Routes to Roots

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

The genesis of Routes to Roots

by Michael Ford last modified 20 Jan, 2022 08:56 AM

Last week, on a tour of the diocese, Dean Stephen returned to his hometown of Poole to meet some of the people who are making a difference in their communities because of the love they have for God. One such group was Routes to Roots, a charity helping the homeless and vulnerably housed, and about to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Coinciding with their celebrations will hopefully be the opening of the Genesis Centre, a church they bought and are in the process of renovating, a space that represents a new beginning for the charity, reflected in their name. Having started out as a soup kitchen, and having previously rented just a small corner of the same building, the opening of a permanent space is a testament to their hard work, and faithfulness to God's call to serve their community. 

The Revd Pat Southgate, Chair and Founder Trustee, shares more: 
"It has been our dream since 2006. We began to wonder if there were any buildings that we could possibly afford. It just never happened for us. So we settled down in the school district churches where we are, but we went on saving money. Then two years ago, one of our guys came in for lunch, and told me that the Baptist church was for sale. My jaw dropped - it was exactly the building that we needed.  
"We only had two or three weeks to get the money sorted and put in a bid, and we only had half of the money we needed. But some local funders came along and gave us the other half, enabling us to buy our dream. We are now in the process of renovation, and we have called it the Genesis Centre because it's a new beginning - for those on the street, but also for us." 
With the arrival of a permanent base comes the opportunity to provide more consistent access to service providers that, often, someone who is homeless or vulnerably housed may struggle to connect with. This includes mental and physical health services, drug addiction support, and even hairdressing. It is evidently appreciated by the people Routes to Roots serve. A particular highlight for Pat was having Jenny, a local Chiropodist washing the men and women's feet, which presented a powerful mirror image of Jesus washing the disciples' feet.  
Sharing her vision and calling for the charity, Pat said, 

"When you think about people on the street there's not much comfort for them. We do our best with stacking chairs and tables, but I've got this vision of coming in and having some comfy sofas here. They can just flop down and sink into a sofa. I've been dreaming of this for a long time.

"I felt very much I was being called to serve the poor and needy over 20 years ago, and at the same time I had this calling to be ordained; the two things go hand in hand. Luke 4:18 summarises it perfectly: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free." 

A core value of the diocese is to renew hope, and Routes to Roots is doing just that through their service every day. 

Document Actions