Sadly homelessness is still very much an issue in a lot of communities, and Brighton and Hove (and Shoreham just ten minutes down the road) are no different. We’ve chosen to support 2 local charities in 2016 who are doing their very best to help those affected.
Barney, our Managing Director explains a little more. “As residents of Brighton, Hove and the surrounding area we are very aware of the housing issues some members of our community face”
“When we found First Base and The Clock Tower Sanctuary, and saw the work they were doing helping people who rough sleep to come off the streets, we felt we would like to offer some financial support. We are pleased that our contributions will play a small part in helping to transform the lives of vulnerable people who are living locally, and we look forward to working more closely with both these charities in the future.”
The first charity we are supporting is the Brighton Housing Trust. Based in the now relocated Chapel from the Royal Pavillion (moved in 1851) it is not only the architectural history of this project that is fantastic, although we could easily fill one blog about how wonderful their building is. What they have created within its walls is equally amazing.
Whilst the exterior is grand in stature, the modest front door leads to a very modern interior, set inside the cavernous space that was originally an Assembly Room, and dates from 1766. Here there are consultation rooms for both private discussions and medical examination and treatments. At the end of the hall, a contemporary cafe has been installed and is run by clients of the centre, offering work experience and the necessary catering certificates that will help in their journey back into ‘normal life’.
According to their figures, 30 new clients visit each month; whilst not every visitor they see is local to the area (BHT are only allowed to offer their services to those from Brighton or with links to here) all are helped in the first instance, and then assisted in returning to their former home towns for the authorities there to help further.
A huge positive is that approximately 30 clients leave the BHT programme each month too. After completing rehabilitation courses, and being helped into housing, these people can start to rebuild their lives. Many will go on to work with the charity in one way or another to give something back to others who have experienced similar lives to them.
We donated £4000 to BHT. This will be used towards the cost of their annual food bill at First Base Day Centre. Simon Hughes, Operational Manager at First Base said: “We are delighted to have received this donation, which will help us provide a nutritional breakfast and lunch to people who are using the centre. On average we are currently seeing around 70 people each day”.
Our second charity also helps the homeless locally, but focusses its attention on younger clients. The Clock Tower Sanctuary is the only drop in service providing all-round information, advice and support to homeless to people aged between 16-25 in Brighton and Hove.
Open 6 days a week, the centre offers young people a safe space to engage with their peers and other visiting agencies without the worry of having to share a service with older people who can be intimidating.
In the past year they have supported 167 individual young people; 63 of them were new to their services for 2015.
Our donation of £4000 will go towards their Move-On Support service, which helps to provide a package of mentoring, one to one case working and young person’s advocacy to help homeless young people live independently, increase employability, develop coping strategies, and break the negative cycles in their lives – creating meaningful and lasting change.
Natalia Borg, the Development Co-ordinator from The Clock Tower Sanctuary said, “We are delighted to receive such a significant donation and we’re really excited to have VW Heritage on board. As a small charity, their support will go a long way. The Move-On Support project provides the intensive level of support vulnerable young people need to turn their lives around.”
We plan to implement a number of staff volunteering exercises later in the year to help support both of these charities, and hopefully make a small difference to those homeless in Brighton and Hove. If you would like to find out more about either of them, please visit their websites here.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.