History

Storehouse was launched from a small cupboard in the offices of Belfast City Vineyard Church on March 2008. Originally established as one of the first food banks in Belfast, food parcels were provided directly to partner charities who would then distribute them amongst their most needed clients.

As the demand increased, several other churches from various denominations caught Storehouse’s vision and joined in with the food collections. As a result, Storehouse (NI) was established as a standalone charity to honour the new church partnerships and the sense of unity that was being formed.

Storehouse began to sense a real need and calling to provide more than food and so tentative steps were taken towards the provision of clothes, furniture and household goods alongside the food parcels.

Steps were also taken to move towards something that had been on the hearts of the Storehouse team from the very beginning, a dedicated space where more could be done than simply provide physical items. Space, where the lives and the significance of those Storehouse serves, could be celebrated. The first Storehouse centre was opened in Belfast city centre in June 2012 where referrals are received from all the partnering charities and Storehouse volunteers are able to sit with those individuals, hear their story over a coffee and then provide food, clothes and furniture with the utmost dignity and respect.

Over time, a common theme of isolation and loneliness amongst those that Storehouse served became apparent, and a sense that more was needed in order to fully help people make positive steps in their lives. Storehouse began creating opportunities and spaces for its service users to step into community, where they would be welcomed regardless of their circumstances and treated as equals. At the same time Storehouse started looking at the long term issues that can cause & effect poverty, helping people look at the barriers and hurdles they may face in their lives and work out ways to move forward into flourishing through one–on–one coaching, structured volunteering and work placements.