Over 25 years ago I decided to make some changes in my life after seeing a growing need in my surrounding community. I quit my job and decided to live a life of faith so I could work full-time to support the people of Maidstone and Shepway in particular. This calling had evolved over a couple of years and it got to the point when my wife, Jan, and I knew I had to do it. The first few years were hard and I learnt so much but I knew I had been given a heart for my local community.
I started a coffee morning, a help centre, adult education as well as a furniture service. These were all well received but I felt that my main input was with families and schools. I was keen to support families in need or in crisis, as well as schools who needed extra support with some of their students. The demands on my time increased and I was pleased to have a loyal group of volunteers which enabled the work to grow. As time went on I was asked to do more and more specialised work for the local authority. It was at this point that King’s Reach was started to facilitate this new kind of work. Stewart, my son, gave up his job in a children’s home to provide support for the most vulnerable lads in the community. This was quickly followed by a request from the Local Education Authority to start a Pupil Referral Unit for boys that had been excluded from mainstream schooling. As the provision grew, a few years later we were asked to open a school for girls.
I have loved the journey I have been on and my biggest desire is to see communities and families move out of poverty and for people with little hope to go on to lead a fulfilled and worthwhile life. I am also keen for more and more people to have the desire to “love their neighbour as themselves” and to see the heart put back into local communities. The work that King’s Reach does relies on a dedicated staff team who love the people they work with and are prepared to go the extra mile. I am confident about the ongoing work of King’s Reach and that our team will continue ‘impacting lives and transforming communities’.
Dave King receiving his MBE in 1999 for services to young people in Maidstone