History of R.U.T.H.

Formed in September 2011 as Raising Up The Homeless, but changed it’s name in March 2013 to RUTH Raising Up The Hurting as we were aware we were dealing with many more than homeless persons. RUTH Raising Up The Hurting is a Christian Organisation but does not represent any individual Church, but aims to represents Jesus Christ Himself.

One of the founder members, Jo Gibson from Richhill, Co Armagh is the current Ministry Co-Ordinator of RUTH. Jo admits she had virtually no experience relating to addicts as she was growing up, but circumstances in her life led her across paths of several dear folk who drink excessively and not just for social pleasure. Jo in her personal life hit rock bottom through the break-down of her marriage and admits her reactions to her situation were not always positive and can identify with many who struggle with their pain. But as a born again Christian Jo will affirm it was her relationship with God, her Heavenly Father that enabled her to embrace life again, not just endure it, but enjoy it.

Jo is assisted in the Ministry by Shirley Whiteside, Jacqueline Dumigan, Mark Dumigan and Shirley Hutchinson all from Co. Armagh. Other volunteers come from Co Tyrone, Co. Armagh and Belfast areas.

Seeing beyond the surface

HURTING – depression and/or addictions. Why? Because of a trauma – one event or of a series of events taking place over many months or even years. The trauma is either evident or hidden from the person.

Trauma – natural disaster; violent attack; death of a loved one or stranger; an accident; witnessing a traumatic event; surgery, serious illness; sexual/physical/mental abuse; rejection by an important figure ie., parent, friend etc. The trauma may have been experienced by the person or could be transgenerational.

How this effects individuals differs – the factors which influence the response are the severity of the event; personal history; coping skills and the values and beliefs held by the victim; support by family, friends and professionals. There will be psychological, physical, cognitive and behavioural reactions.

RUTH has seen several scenarios to include:-

  1. Misuse of drugs – prescription, legal and illegal
  2. Damage of interpersonal relationships.
  3. Physical and environmental decline.

RUTH’s aim and objectives:-

  1. Physiological and safety needs
  2. Being practical – clothing, housing, food, hospital appointments etc
  3. Love & esteem. Unconditional love. Reattachment of interpersonal relationships
  4. Self-actualization. Problem solving, acceptance of facts, morality, creativity etc
  5. Hope – spiritual needs. Understanding of where the person is, appreciation of the person’s worth and purely spiritual needs.

The leadership of R.U.T.H. has a God given passion for these people.


Several times a month a team of volunteers will go on to the streets of Belfast, either simply walking around the City centre or operating out of a touring caravan.  The aim is to show Christ’s love in practical ways, giving out sleeping bags, hot drinks, clothing, toiletries.   Offering friendship, advice and guidance.  Offering hope for a brighter future.  Sometimes we only meet a person once, but many times a friendship is built.

Sadly some we have known on the streets have since died, however we have also seen lives turned around.  One example is meeting two young lads in their 20s, addicted to ‘legal highs’, homeless, sleeping in a shop doorway. They kept in contact with us and were taken to a Christian rehab, RUTH continued to support these young lads in the Rehab, LIFE Centre, and by what can only be described as a marvellous act of God, both guys’ lives have turned around for good.


The R.U.T.H. team goes into a couple of hostels in Belfast, providing fun, food and entertainment. Music, table quizzes, pool, table-tennis etc. At Christmas and during the year a sit down meal will be served. Trust and friendships are built. R.U.T.H. has assisted some of the residents as they move on from the hostel to independent living, and if wanted, the friendship and support continues.


On the first Friday of every month we meet at New Life City Centre on Northumberland Street, Belfast at 7pm for a night of fun, fellowship, sports and food. In a relaxed atmosphere the hurting, addicted, homeless, lonely, struggling can come and enjoy a break from their "own wee world". A minibus can collect people from the City centre and the local hostels. It has been a joy to watch people from differing backgrounds come together and enjoy themselves. On occasions someone will share their ‘story’, offering hope to others that God can make a real difference.


Someone from RUTH can and in the past have visited Maghaberry Prison. It is an opportunity to support those who we have previously known when they are going through dark days on the 'inside'. We have also visited some who have gone into hospital.


If requested R.U.T.H. will meet a person in need for coffee and a chat, either in a local shop or in their own home. This is an opportunity to remind a struggling person that indeed they are an individual, are precious and loved.


R.U.T.H. has a close association with the LIFE Centre, Dungannon. Anyone needing respite may avail of the support of LIFE Centre which is a Christian based refuge. In an alcohol/drug free environment a ‘hurting’ person can ‘take stock’ of where they are in life and how they wish to move on. Service users are encouraged to take part in bible studies, church services (non-denominational, simply Christ focused), they can also enjoy the beautiful country scenery, set on a small farm, with adjoining gym. R.U.T.H. will support service users during this process and once a week will hold a support meeting which includes a bible study.