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December 3rd, 2015

Authors’ Charity Scoops National Award

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New Hope, the charity founded by Entertaining Angels authors, has scooped the Evangelical Alliance Award in the Inspiring Projects category of the 2015 Inspire Awards: http://www.inspiremagazine.org.uk/Stories/National

Janet Hosier and Liza Hoeksma began helping homeless people in their home area of Watford 25 years ago and it has grown into the largest homelessness service provider in the Home Counties.

Entertaining Angels is their story.

Janet Hosier was born into a working class Essex family of five which squeezed life into a one-bedroom apartment, wishing for better times.

But life got worse. She became debt-ridden and depressed until she came to faith. Her life turned around and improved. She had a loving husband and three children.

They moved to Hertfordshire where they bought a lovely house with large gardens and enjoyed a great social life. But then she gave it all up out of compassion for the homeless living around St Mary’s church in Watford.

“I knew that if my new-found faith meant anything at all, then it had to mean something to them,” she wrote in the first edition of this book one year before she died.

After the homelessness service run by her church, St Mary’s, Watford, was forced to close, Janet opened her own home to the men and women who were homeless. But the problem soon got too big for this so she and her friend Sheila Meaning launched the charity New Hope, which was later chosen by the government as an example of good practice following a visit by Louise Casey, Director of the Homelessness Directorate at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Today it is the biggest organisation dealing with the homeless in the Home Counties.

Her son, Craig, said: “It’s a strange kind of freedom that compels a fortysomething housewife like Mum to want to help people who are homeless. For many of us, freedom at that stage of life would look entirely different: we’d take more holidays; we’d spend our money on the luxuries that we’d always wanted; we’d hold on a little tighter to the things that are precious to us … but in her story we find a brilliant example of what true freedom looks like. It doesn’t leave us with our fingers clenched tight around the things we fear that we might lose. True freedom opens our hands and leads us to be generous with what we have, not to try to hoard it.”

The book contains practical advice for people thinking of starting  similar social work.

What reviewers say:

A tale of compassion with legs…” Rev Mike Pilavachi, Senior Pastor at Soul Survivor, Watford  

This is a book about Faith, Courage and Passion.” Nigel Parrington, Chief Executive, Salvation Army Housing Association  

New Hope does what it says: it gives new hope to those in our town who are homeless and often without a purpose in their lives.” Dorothy Thornhill MBE, Elected Mayor of Watford.

Our support of New Hope over many years has been born out of their sheer commitment in supporting those whose life experience has resulted in them hitting rock bottom.” Gary Grant, Managing Director, The Entertainer

A powerful and inspiring account of the birth and survival against all odds of a unique institution in our town.” Councillor Rabi Martins, Watford Borough Council

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Entertaining Angels (978-1-909728-26-4), by Janet Hosier and Liza Hoeksma is published by Instant Apostle and available from bookshops and online in paperback and electronic formats.

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