Reworking lives: the second chance
The Nehemiah Project, with the Order of Malta, launches new residential home for addicts
London, 14 June 2019
The plaque at the new Nehemiah house
His Grace the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Reverend Peter Smith, yesterday attended the opening of Croydon House, a project run by Nehemiah*, a Christian-based charity focussed on rehabilitation of addicts most of whom are prisoners or exoffenders. The project is sponsored by the Order of Malta. Also present for the occasion were members of the Order of Malta, some of whom are Directors for the project, together with the project’s sponsors and representatives of the fundraising arm of the Order, the Global Fund for Forgotten People.
At the opening ceremony Mons Reader cuts the ribbon
The Nehemiah Project is a centre of excellence for rehabilitating men from addiction and crime, through the transformation of their lives, so that they become fulfilled, valuable members of the community. It now opens another London residential home. Under the auspices of the Order of Malta, this is a ‘second primary house’, from where graduates can then progress into tertiary accommodation as the residents continue to grow In independence.
The Project provides support with programmes which provide structure and a supportive environment where men can address the root causes of their addiction, and learn to make informed choices about their lives. The residents’ backgrounds often include having been in care, homelessness and prison, and becoming marginalised as the result of addiction.
The Nehemiah Project has been providing support for over 20 years in south London, but is open to men from anywhere in the UK. The most important element in the treatment is the genuine desire to change.
The Order of Malta and prison ministry
The Order of Malta, recognising the needs of this socially marginalised category, has been developing prison ministry programmes in a number of countries, most particularly in the United States and Canada. The Order works with prisoners, ex-offenders and their families, and promotes awareness of the hardships encountered – mental and physical health, employment prospects, finances. In some American States, Order volunteers reach out to those on death row.
Envoy Graham Hutton and His Grace Archbishop Smith at the opening Assistance often starts with a visit to an inmate: ‘I was in prison and you visited me.’ (Matthew, 25:37). The programme aims to build a community of support, through a holistic approach to rehabilitation and integration back into the community. For more information: www.ordermaltaamerican.org/prison-ministry ; www.orderofmaltafederal.org/prison-ministry.
* Nehemiah means ‘comfort’ in Hebrew. In the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament he was a leader of the Jews who was responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (5th century BC), after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. The destruction of Jerusalem’s walls left its people exposed to great trouble and shame. The rebuilding revealed God’s blessing, served as a sign to Israel’s enemies, and showed God was with His people. Nehemiah stands as a testament to faithfulness and perseverance.