A new dawn…

Words by Andy Mortimer, communications coordinator at Broadway Homelessness and Support

  • Our blog site is moving!

So here we are. After 82 blogs, 11,875 views and almost 15 months of blogging, it’s over. Well sort of.

From tomorrow (1 April 2014), Broadway will merge with fellow homelessness charity St Mungo’s to form St Mungo’s Broadway.

As a merged charity, we will provide a bed and support to more than 2,500 people a night who are either homeless or at risk, and work to prevent homelessness, helping about 25,000 people a year.

We will support men and women through more than 200 projects including emergency, hostel and supportive housing projects, advice services, specialist physical health, mental health and skills and work services.

And as part of this merger, we will also have a new website – already live at www.mungosbroadway.org.uk  – and, thanks to the funky technology already available on over there, a new blogging arena: http://blog.mungosbroadway.org.uk

Devotees of our page, however, need not worry. Our blogs will still remain live here; a few will even follow us over to the new site. There will also be a host of new blogs for you to view from our colleagues over at St Mungo’s. We intend to keep uploading quality content for you to read in the weeks and months ahead so we hope you’ll be happy to join us and enjoy the best of St Mungo’s Broadway.

I have to admit, however, that I’m going to miss this ol’ site a little. Many a night have I sat here,  altering graphics and proofing blogs and I know the whole team at Broadway have been so grateful for all the support we’ve had from our readers. I can only hope that will continue.

So with a final click of the ‘Publish’ button we say “goodbye” to BroadwayBlogsUK and “hello” at last to http://blog.mungosbroadway.org.uk (be sure to save us in your bookmarks and check out our first blog coming live tomorrow morning)!

 

The power of volunteering at Broadway for you, and for us!

Fiona O’Dell, manager at the Broadway Centre, in west London, talks about the value of volunteers to charities like ours …

  • Volunteers help charities offer more for their clients
  • Our centre manager started her career as a volunteer, showing there is real progression from unpaid to paid work
  • The Broadway Centre encompasses a health team and hourly drop in for rough sleepers in west London

It is estimated that more than 20 million people donate more than 100 million volunteering hours every week throughout the UK.  

Figures from the most recent Homeless Link SNAP survey suggest that 1.3 million of these hours are worked in the homelessness sector.  I’m not sure if these figures have been on the increase over the last few years due to funding cuts and reductions or not, as even in the “boom time” of homelessness, volunteers have always been in abundance from my experience.

I started out as a volunteer in the sector many years ago.  I share an anniversary of sorts with the illustrious Arsene Wenger as he started managing Arsenal Football Club around about the same time that I started volunteering. Our destinies have therefore forever been interlinked. I hope he doesn’t retire any time soon as I’m not quite ready for that yet…

Many of the people I know working in homelessness today started off as a volunteer at some stage. It is a great way to gain a bit of a toehold in the sector in terms of receiving direct experience and also serves as a good social leveller. People’s preconceptions and assumptions are challenged on both sides and many levels.

In terms of the work we do at the Centre, we could not achieve the great results and positive outcomes with clients if it were not for the dedication and hard work of the volunteers that we have on board. Our volunteers donate on average about 200 hours a month.  We have a mixture of both current and former clients who run the tea bar and are happy to assist with other one off projects. And where would we be without Jackie on reception twice a week?

We also have a group of volunteers who support our work with Central and Eastern European clients and provide invaluable assistance with translation and interpreting. We can also utilise their skills in other areas such as group work and the arts. One of our volunteers provides s pain management support in the form of Tui Na massage. We certainly heart volunteers!

I still volunteer today but in a very different environment. Working as a farmhand on a City farm getting covered in manure is a perfect antidote to the stresses of modern city living.

If you want to volunteer for Broadway, visit our How You Can Help pages here.

Alternatively, click here for current job vacancies.

Developing personalisation development – it’s less of a mouthful than you might think

As part of her project development process, La Toyah has spent the last few weeks speaking to different organisations about their experiences of personalisation with rough sleepers.  This week , she talks about this key insights she’s had and how they are shaping the project:

  • Follow the four ‘P’s
  • What is personalisation to workers and clients and does the definition differ between the two?
  • The Broadway support programme is now taking shape

I’ve spent the past few weeks speaking to lots of people from different organisations to try and develop my ideas around personalisation.  This has been an bit o f a magical mystery tour, following my nose and checking out obvious leads. 

The starting point were the five organisations that were part of the Personally Speaking review. I went to speak to Ollie Hilbery and Joanne Thomas at MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) to learn more about their work in Cambridge.  From that conversation, I came away with the idea reinforced that partnerships were key to developing and delivering personalised services.

I then spoke to Andrew Van Doorn from HACT.  He had some powerful points to make about co-production and the devolving of power from the top.  You might find his blog piece from last year interesting.  From our conversation, I came away thinking about the importance of the ‘people’ in the process.  The people we are working for; the service users but also the people with are working with.

Some of those conversations have had a real focus on place; the localities and environments that people live in and are part of.  Many of the personalised programmes have had key outcomes of finding and sustaining accommodation.  Others have focused more on personalising the immediate environment, as well as the support being offered.

And of course all this is reflected our practice; the ‘what’ and ‘how’. So, together, these elements seem to be key to personalised services; we work with people, in local places through our partnerships and practice.  The 4 P’s!

As part of the journey, I have been keen to answer the question ‘what is personalisation?’   Of course, I know what it means to the homelessness sector, but it means something slightly different in the public sector.  Then I came across something that makes it very easy to understand.  When asked the question in a workshop, the response was:

‘Well, It’s about me, isn’t it?’.

And for professionals working with people it becomes;

‘It’s about you’.

And from this all else flows; much of it complex because of the external environments we all operate in.  However, the simplicity of this is refreshing and a good reference point.

My project programme is being shaped by these insights.  The four ‘P’s provide some of the framework for content; with co-production, person–centred planning and experimentation being central.

I have aimed to develop a structure that offers ‘core’ support; elements that each organisation will have access to, as well as a range of flexible components that can be adapted to suit specific needs.

If your organisation works with rough sleepers and you are interested in nominating a service to be part of this project, you can find an application form and programme outline online at here.

If you would like to talk more specifically about the programme before applying, then please contact LaToyah.McAllisterJones@broadwaylondon.org or give ma call on 07927 894009.

Mike’s job … helping homeless Londoners get into the private rented housing sector

Mike Anderson is a private rented sector housing officer at Broadway’s Real Lettings agency. It’s his job to help homeless and vulnerably housed people find suitable accommodation in the Capital …

  • Mike works on the Connect London service that supports clients to access private rented accommodation in partnership with fellow homelessness charity, Shelter
  • Connect London has worked with more than 3,000 people since it launched April 2013
  • The programme offers help to anyone over the age of 24 with a housing problem

Connect London is a project Broadway has run with fellow homelessness charity Shelter since April 2013 with the aim of helping people over the age of 24 combat their housing problems.

My role is based within the Broadway Real Lettings team I work specifically within the private sector, offering effective support and advice through guidance, casework and advocacy. Our project is funded by London councils and operates across the whole of London.

What’s important to our team is that we aim to provide a completely joined-up service to clients. As well as housing advice, clients can also access other services through the work and learning and Shelter Legal teams.

Homelessness is not a problem experienced in isolation from life’s other issues and I think this all-round holistic support is the best way to help clients get things back on track.

I came to Broadway with a background in university recruitment and marketing; there’s been a lot to learn in a short space of time but I was hugely impressed by the dedication of colleagues and by Broadway’s own charitable ethos.

I work in a team of two ‘property negotiators’ and help link landlords, tenants and local services – including social services, housing benefit teams and other support agencies. It’s a challenging service to work in and, trust me, we have to work extremely hard to secure properties.

Since April 2013, my team has secured tenancies for 23 clients (and counting) and has provided advice and guidance to hundreds more. We’ve housed a range of clients, including families, older people and those under 35 (a particularly challenging group due to the shortage of shared housing). I’m delighted with our outcomes this year and we’re already looking to develop the service as it moves into its second year.

Our newest initiative is a drop-in private rented advice service – which aims to make clients more confident when looking for a property – while next year we’re hoping to take this ‘on the road’ to different parts of London.

Anyway, you may be wondering what a ‘typical’ day would be for us. Well, it can involve assessing clients for the service, contacting landlords and chasing up leads for properties, advocating with local authorities to secure deposits, viewing properties, researching housing policy and attending events to advertise what we do.

It’s a busy and fast-paced environment; we have to think on our feet and there’s something new every day. The most satisfying thing for me, however, is seeing the difference having somewhere safe and secure to live can make for a client. I think if landlords are sceptical about renting to someone on housing benefit, meeting one of our clients and understanding their situation can really change their minds.

Art exhibition gives Broadway’s homeless clients a creative outlet

Ophelia Kingshott works in Broadway’s Market Lane homelessness hostel, in west London. Last December, she helped to organise an exhibition displaying some of our clients’ works of art …

  • The Market Lane and Old Theatre exhibition served to recognise the talents and work done by Broadway’s homeless clients
  • The event was weeks in the making but it gave our clients a chance to show off their skills
  • Hostels are gearing up for a second event this summer

With the bluebells, crocuses and daffodils bursting through the rain-sodden ground, I’ve found this time of year to be a good one for reflection.  And while many of you will be wishing the warmer months upon us already, don’t be too hasty.

December just past, the residents of two neighbouring hostels based in west London joined forces to curate and run an exhibition displaying personal works of art, namely at the Market Lane and The Old Theatre Christmas Fayre. The event was held one afternoon in December at the Broadway Day Centre and was open to all Broadway clients, local services and the general public.

It was a day designed to increase the recognition of the personal skills of Broadway clients from throughout the year, inspire others and create new memories to take forward into 2014 and beyond.  

Only it wasn’t just one afternoon, not even just one day in December. In fact, it took weeks of preparation to bring their creative vision to life. Residents successfully applied for funds and worked tirelessly to create their works, including pieces of photography, jewellery and art. Residents held meetings to discuss themes, practicalities and promoted the day to the local community with such vigour and passion it was practically contagious demonstrated. Eventually, nearly 70 people attended ranging from Broadway clients to staff, friends, family and members of the local community.

For some, it was an incredibly personal experience; sharing with the outside world some very personal experiences, stories and thoughts.

It was the first event of its kind at Broadway and the very fact that almost two months later, residents and staff are still reminiscing and congratulating themselves, it shows we can rightly have renewed enthusiasm for  year ahead.

But how can we build on such achievements, and help recognise and embed these achievements into the lives of our clients, their families, and friends and within their local communities?

Well, some achievements appear more obvious than others.  At first, it seemed the achievement here was about the event itself: the preparation, organising and holding the fayre.   But on reflection it served much more of a purpose to the individuals involved, the staff and those who attended. It created opportunities:  for personal stories and achievements to be shared, to recognise progress, motivate and inspire self worth.  It helped re-connect individuals with friends and families and within the community and helped break down barriers faced by many of our clients.

Part of building on these achievements is to start my recognising each and every one: something all the teams within Broadway strive to do and to keep on striving to create opportunities such as this in the future.

And on that note, The Old Theatre and Market Lane cordially invite you to our next event: The Market Lane and The Old Theatre Summer Fayre… details will follow soon.

You can donate to Broadway by visiting the donation pages of our website here.

Personalised support for long-term rough sleepers is the way forward

La Toyah McAllister-Jones is leading a project aimed at developing the idea of offering personalised and tailored support for rough sleepers across the UK. In her first ever blog for Broadway, she gives an introduction to the project and talks in depth about a recent piece of research commissioned by Broadway, called Personally Speaking …

  • Services for rough sleepers and homeless people should adopt a personalised approach, says La Toyah.
  • The Personalisation Development Project is helping Broadway Homelessness and Support spread the word about this working practice
  • Personally Speaking‘ is a research project reviewing five separate personalised support services for rough sleepers

I’m new in post as the Personalisation Development Project manager (is that one of the longest job titles in Broadway?) but I am not new to Broadway or, in fact, the charity sector.  Some of you will know me from my last role at Broadway in 2012 as the No One Living on the Street project manager (yes, this is another very long job title).  The project offered a service to outreach teams across London, including Broadway’s City-based team.  And because that team worked so closely with Broadway’s Personalised Budgets team – which offers an individual and tailored support system to clients – I became very familiar with the charity’s personalised approach to work with rough sleepers.

It was interesting for me to see an approach that asked the question ‘what do you need to come off the streets?” rather than “we can help you access these services (insert standard list of services here) if you engage with us”.  The Pan-London Personalised Budgets team was able to have a real impact on many rough sleepers who had not engaged with traditional services for several years.  Much of this is attributed to its personalised and individual  approach.

My new Personalisation Development Project is a 12-month project, funded by the Oak Foundation, aimed at supporting organisations to embed this personalisation into their work with rough sleepers.  The project will identify and support three organisations through a range of support activities, including:

  • Tailored training
  • Action learning
  • Support with local partnerships
  • Identifying potential funding

The project comes after the recently published research, commissioned by Broadway and designed by Homeless Link.  Personally Speaking-a review of personalised services for rough sleepers explores five pilot projects across the country that aimed at delivering a personalised service.  My project will also share its findings and deliver an event at the end of the 12-month period, spreading its learning with commissioners and those with a remit in policy.

If your organisation is interested developing a more personalised approach with rough sleepers, let me know by emailing me at the following link: La Toyah McAllister-Jones.

In the meantime, please drop by again to read my updates on how the project is going and learn more what personalisation can do for long-term rough sleepers in need of support.

Can you save Andrew from doing this year’s London Triathlon?

Andrew Hunter, fundraising assistant for Broadway, talks about how signing up challengers to take place in the London Triathlon has left him with a difficult decision to make …

  • Broadway has 10 places to fill in the London Triathlon
  • Andrew talks about the importance of fundraising challengers to charities as well as the fears all fundraisers have of not filling their spaces … and having to become a challenger themselves!
  • The London Triathlon takes place on Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 August

Since starting work as a fundraising assistant for Broadway Homelessness and Support, I’ve seen many people – both supporters and staff – take on challenges to raise money for our services. We have had everything from marathon runners and skydivers helping out to sponsored boxing matches and weight losses being organised on our behalf.

These challengers help Broadway in more ways than one. Not only do they raise great sums of money for us, but they also act as advocates for our work. With each ask, sponsorship page created and pleading Facebook message uploaded, our challengers have helped more people to find out about the work Broadway does to support more than 9,500 people a year.

This year,  Broadway has 10 places in the London Triathlon. The triathlon takes place on the first weekend in August near to London’s ExCel Centre. With more than 13,000 participants due to sign up, this is one of the world’s largest triathlons. Each space we have can be used by an individual on any of the four distances or, alternatively, three people can take up a place together and complete the triathlon as a team.

Large fundraising events like this are a great platform for people to take on a personal challenge while also raising money for Broadway.  The only problem for the small charities like us is that we can’t be sure we will be able to fill all our places. Charities with a larger brand often have challengers lining up to fundraise for them, but with a smaller image, our team has to work hard to publicise our work and find some willing challengers.

This is not an easy task and as a small charity fundraiser this creates fear. Fear of a missed opportunity for supporters and potential donations, but there is also another element of fear. While we publicise this event there is always one lingering thought at the back of your mind. If we exhaust all our contacts, use all our creative ideas and we still cannot fill these places; there is only one option left… we have to do it ourselves!

Considering I normal feel I deserve a medal after climbing a set of stairs, a triathlon is not looking like an easy challenge to take on. I have not ridden a bike in more than two years and I have not swam (beyond the obligatory holiday splash in the sea) for almost 10 years. Therefore, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the bookie’s favourite to complete – never mind perform well – in this event. However, if push comes to shove I am going to have to get healthy and fit – quick!

If you feel you stand a better chance, fancy a challenge or want to try and save me from this fate, please email me on andrew.hunter@broadwaylondon.org or on 0207 710 0553 to register an interest in one of our Triathlon places.

  • Read more about the London Triathlon and the options of taking part for Broadway here.

Becoming a Broadway mentor – the story of one volunteer’s journey

Words by Tessa, a financial sector worker and volunteer  business  mentor now supporting a Broadway client to improve her work and learning skills

  • The coaching and training of Broadway mentors is in depth and extensive
  • Carefully matching by the Broadway team ensures mentors and mentees are able to work well together and open up about their own objectives for the programme
  • Mentoring has been “something I will never forget”, says mentor

No amount of training can truly prepare you for the journey you will take as Broadway mentor. I remember sitting in my first training session and eagerly wanting to meet my mentee and get started. I was apprehensive, particularly after the safety training session, but excited and motivated.

The matching process took some time but was extremely worthwhile as I was matched with a brilliant candidate who was of a similar age.

Immediately this put us both at ease as we found some common ground discussing the latest fashion trends, which led to discovering her love of art and also the textile workshop that she regularly attended at the Broadway Centre, in west London. This proved to be a good foundation for our future discussions as it encouraged my usually shy mentee to open up and talk about her interests.

But the journey hasn’t always been smooth.

Communication and time-keeping are skills that still need a lot of work, but thankfully she has always shown up to our meetings, which I now see as a massive achievement in itself. Often our bi-weekly meetings cover the same ground and I struggle with my mentee’s lack of direction.

That is not to say that she has no interests, but in fact the opposite, she is interested in everything! We constantly swing between topics of art, her desire to work in social care, her interest in reflexology… the list is endless.

And it is this level of passion that I find so fulfilling. To see someone who is willing to turn their life around, so hopeful for the future, has been a real experience for me and something I will never forget.

Can you help a Broadway client make the next step in work and learning? Support them with anything from CV writing skills to setting up a new business. Read more here.

No Second Night Out: You don’t know until you know

Dan Olney, deputy director of No Second Night Out (NSNO), talks about the success of the NSNO project as well as the difficulties it faces helping people new to rough sleeping away from London’s streets …

  • No Second Night Out (NSNO) is an essential service that helps new rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation
  • Staff are fighting a constant battle to help people find the services they need, according to deputy director Dan Olney
  • He says it’s impossible to describe how hard staff work and what goes into helping rough sleepers off of the streets until you see it in action

I started my role as deputy director of No Second Night Out (NSNO) last year after having previously worked in a range of homeless services for the past 10 years. I was very excited to join a programme that I had read so much about and presumed I had the measure of. However, the reality of what goes into NSNO is so striking and compelling that until I saw it in action, I didn’t truly appreciate the half of it.

I could tell you that an A&E department on a Saturday night is a busy and chaotic place to be. I know this because I’ve read about it in the papers and I’ve see it on the news. However, unless I’d see it first-hand, could I really have a definitive view or full appreciation of it? Probably not.

This is also what I think about NSNO. In my first week in the job, I sat in one of the three assessment hubs and saw the office door flying open constantly, staff and clients coming and going, phones ringing, files going out, forms being filled, enquiries being made, partner agencies coming and going and a pace of work that felt urgent, complex and challenging… I also saw it being tackled by a dedicated and relentless staff team who work 24/7. I knew their roles were tough but seeing what goes into remedying the challenges of homelessness and rough sleeping was refreshing, eye opening and inspiring.

There have been headlines in the press over the past year about the numbers of rough sleepers increasing. Delve into the articles further and you may spot a small ‘tip of the hat’ to the reasons and facts behind those stats and the positive impact NSNO has had but my frustration is that the headline is what most people will remember. But what does that article or headline lead you to know about the situation even if you have read it in full? What do you really understand?

You can’t know until you know that the numbers of rough sleepers increasing is a statistic that, to some degree, actually offers hope. Indeed over the past few years, strides have been made in the recording and understanding of the numbers as well as the creation of a national rough sleeper reporting line (StreetLink – 0300 500 0914) and a greater overall focus on the issue. Any appreciation of this is hard to truly realise until you have seen, in action, those workers we partner with who are involved in finding and supporting rough sleepers. The few lines in the press about the positive impact of NSNO may lead you to look at our website and see the impressive stats but you really won’t know or appreciate the magnitude until you see it in action and see the relentless effort of our staff.

This is why I would happily welcome and encourage anyone to visit one of our hubs because I’m sure you would leave with the same admiration for the staff that I do and, more importantly, find an appreciation for the complexities that are put up in the face of rough sleepers and that can keep them on the street. I hope that anyone who visits us leaves with the desire and the passion to do something to help, whether that’s by volunteering, raising money, becoming a partner or, simply, calling StreetLink and helping a rough sleeper off the streets.

Find out more about NSNO at www.nosecondnightout.org.uk. NSNO is a Mayor of London programme to help new rough sleepers away from the streets. Since it was launched in 2011, 80 per cent of new rough sleepers have not been seen more than once on the streets

To report a rough sleeper, call 0300 500 0914 or visit http://www.streetlink.org.uk

An update on TimeBanking at Broadway

Kaaren Morris, TimeBank coordinator at Broadway Homelessness and Support, talks about everything that’s new in her project as she nears the end of Year Four…

  • It’s been a busy time for Kaaren Morris who has been travelling around London promoting TimeBanking and learning more about what works for homelessness clients who are taking part
  • Christmas fayres and card making sessions prove to be TimeBanking hits over winter
  • An evaluation of Broadway’s TimeBank will be launched at a special event in March

It’s been a while since I’ve appeared on these pages talking about my TimeBanking project at Broadway and a lot has happened over the past few weeks and months. In all honesty, there is far too much to condense into 300 words but I’ll give it a go.

As you may already know, after three years of encouraging the use of TimeBanking within Broadway, this past six months has seen me trying to get as many homeless organisations as possible from outside our charity to get involved in the scheme. TimeBanking is a brilliant project that allows people to input hours of their skills into a collective “bank” in return for using other people’s skills at a later date. This can mean somebody gives a haircut to one TimeBanker in return for an hour of computer tuition from another member. It’s a fabulous way to get something you need and meet and build community and I’m passionate about making this a success in the homeless sector.

Some great news I heard recently came courtesy of an exciting development in the TimeBanking community in west London. The upcycling furniture social enterprise Petit Miracles, which is based in a pop-up shop in W12 shopping centre, in Shepherds Bush, is moving to a larger premises has just announced that it is keen to embrace the TimeBanking model further by rewarding its volunteers with credits and opening some spaces in its workshops for Time Bankers.

In addition, I also met Rachel at the Earls Court TimeBank and discovered that her group is now offering all sorts of skills and holding a monthly coffee morning for their members to meet and make exchanges. This group has about 10 Broadway TimeBankers within the project so we are looking forward to exchanges that will benefit Broadway and The Earls Court TimeBankers in the future.

As a charity, Broadway is also keen to strengthen its network in west London and are looking at a funding bid with TimeBanking UK to help this process. Watch this space for updates.

Looking back at some of our major successes in the latter half of 2013, in December, we had a strong artistic flavour with a visit to the Daumier Exhibition, along with a sculpture-making workshop afterwards courtesy of The Royal Academy of Arts.

Elsewhere, some of our Broadway members have been exhibiting their poetry in north London. Andrew from Survivors Poetry coordinated an exhibition at the Stoke Newington Library Gallery where another member from a Broadway hostel had his poetry on display. In addition, Some of the Hostels in West London held a Christmas fayre that afforded people an opportunity to see artwork by six clients from local hostels. This was followed a couple of days later by a Christmas card making session at our south London centre run by an external TimeBanking member from Islington.

Back outside Broadway again and TimeBanking UK has been running a number of information sessions while two other agencies who we have been encouraging to adopt the TimeBanking model have accepted invitations to learn more. Due to the interest, particularly in Oxford , we have organised a TimeBanking information session for the Oxford Homeless Pathways team alongside Crisis, our own Broadway outreach team and two other homeless agencies.

Finally, hot of the press this year is the announcement of a Time Banking special event on 26 March. If you’d like to know more about this and the evaluation of our project that we’ll be launching, please contact me for a special invitation.

So now, from everyone at TimeBanking at Broadway we hope you had a wonderful festive period and best wishes for the New Year!

Learn more about TimeBanking by visiting our webpages at: www.broadwaylondon.org/ClientLife/TimeBanking/timebanking.html