MISSION To provide advice and services which help homeless people in London avoid, move away from, and stay off, the streets.
VISION The end of street homelessness in London.
Who We Work With
Advice & Housing
OUR SERVICES Day Centre CafĂŠ, Laundry, Lockers, Showers, Post collection, Computers/email/internet, GP and Nurse, Podiatrist, Legal advice.
Engagement Activities/Groups Art, Streetwise Opera, Chess, Football, Walking Tour, Womenâ€™s group, Rough Sleepers group, Linked - Black & Ethnic Minority group, Headspace - Substance Misuse group, Creative Writing, Digital groups, Day trips & residential weekends away, Spiritual Space.
Specialist Support and Advice Alcohol, Substance misuse, Gambling, Mental health issues, Assistance accessing statutory services, Welfare benefits & advice, Assistance with emergency accommodation, Hostel referrals and housing.
Street Outreach Helping rough sleepers out on the streets.
Employment and Training IT training and basic skills training, Careers and vocational guidance, Job search support including help with preparation for interviews, CV workshops, Work placements, Post-employment support.
User Involvement Discussions and groups where clients become part of the decision making processes, both in relation to our services and in resolving their homelessness.
Night Centre Respite from the street for up to 40 rough sleepers per night.
St Martinâ€™s House Provides medium stay supported housing to 16 ex-rough sleepers.
Volunteer Programme Individual volunteering â€“ service delivery/activity group volunteering, Volunteer Skills Training, Corporate/employee volunteering, Full training programme and support, Fundraising opportunities.
WHO WE WORK WITH ETHNICITY
WHITE UK 39%
CHINESE OTHER 1% 2% ASIAN 4%
WHITE OTHER 26% BLACK AFRICAN 19%
WHO WE WORK WITH GENDER
WHO WE WORK WITH AGE
26 – 59YRS 74%
16 – 25YRS 20%
WHO WE WORK WITH ORIGIN
OUTSIDE UK – NON-EU 11%
UK – OUTSIDE LONDON 20%
OUTSIDE UK – EU 16%
Dame Diana Brittan, Chair Colin Glover, Chief Executive
WELCOME It’s been a challenging year. We’ve seen the worst recession since the 80s, with high levels of unemployment and restrictions on benefits being just two of the symptoms. It’s affected all of us on some level.
The voluntary sector has received substantial cuts to its funding and this financial uncertainty has affected The Connection too. Our government funding was reduced by 30%. This has happened at a time when we need the money most as there’s been almost a 10% rise in the number of homeless people. To accommodate our financial deficit we’ve been reviewing what we do to identify where we can make savings. It’s been a rigorous process because our overriding priority has been to keep our core services intact so we can continue helping as many homeless people as possible. Of course, we’ve had to make some very difficult decisions along the way. These included staff redundancies, closing our Tuesday and Thursday evening service and prioritising our weekend service for rough sleepers only. But, while change is unsettling, we’re remaining positive because we’re good at what we do. It’s also given us an opportunity to rethink our services and we’ve pioneered new projects. We’re about to introduce Step Up. This will
help clients who are not yet ready for work by providing a supported introduction to employment and the working world, within The Connection. We’ll provide voluntary placements throughout our teams so people can develop key skills, confidence, self-motivation and have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and constructive feedback in a secure environment. As we will be working with our most vulnerable clients, our project will incorporate a high degree of tailored individual support, mentoring and feedback. Client involvement continues to be at the forefront of everything we do because it gives homeless people a purpose and the power to change their circumstances. In this year’s review you’ll notice comments and feedback from homeless people. Their voices are far more powerful than ours in explaining why our services are important and what they gain from The Connection. Most importantly though, I want to thank our dedicated supporters, your loyalty and generosity is helping us achieve all we do. We wouldn’t be here without you. Whether you’ve helped us financially or donated your time over the year – we are incredibly grateful and hope you continue to support us.
DAY CENTRE For many of our clients the Day Centre is the starting point of their journey out of homelessness.
Open 7 days a week 79,000 Day Centre visits 2,955 new people seen 29,200 meals served
Open seven days a week, facilities include: a café serving wholesome, affordable food; a GP/nurse healthcare service; free laundry and showers; storage lockers; plus computers, library and games. “ They provide everything I need to keep my personal hygiene, from razors to a dressing gown. It’s very important to me to keep clean so I don’t feel or look so much like I’m homeless.” Daniel People sometimes ask whether our Day Centre sustains homelessness. But meeting someone’s basic needs, like hunger and keeping clean, are crucial because they enhance a person’s wellbeing. This makes clients more receptive so we can work together in meaningful ways, helping them move forward in their lives.
“ Home cooked and substantial food means I’m not running on empty. It gives me a good start to the day. I have a clear head, can function better and concentrate in appointments.” Daniel
What’s New? Digital Training There’s strong evidence that digital technology plays a vital role in engaging socially excluded groups such as homeless people. Providing homeless people with new means of sharing information and expressing themselves is empowering. As well as providing skills essential to getting back into work, it helps people find their voice and their identity. Our objective in using digital technology across all of our services is to build skills and promote inclusion, so that clients have the same access to communications as the rest of society. We’re rolling out a series of new projects, including a new accredited IT course. We’ve developed a project with Homeless SMS called ur MSG, which encourages homeless people to use Twitter and text messages to communicate, so they can build support networks around them and improve their situation. It also enables us to keep regular contact with clients when they’re not at our centre, monitoring progress and informing them about relevant services and appointments. What’s been achieved to date with ur MSG? – One user received our ‘Vision Care@Crisis free eye test’ tweet. He used the number in the message the same day, booked an appointment and now has glasses. – Several users have had discussions about the best companies to approach for work if you are homeless without references. And this is just the beginning.
Hermen I was doing seasonal work in Athens but had been struggling with a drink problem for 17 years. It’d been getting progressively worse and I ended up running out of money and had nowhere to stay. I managed to borrow some money to get to London. I’m originally from Dublin but had burnt all my bridges there and couldn’t go home so I had literally no one I could turn to. I was a proper wreck when I arrived in London and mentally burnt out. I had enough money for 3 nights in a hostel. I ended up leaving after the first night because I smoked in my room and was told I’d have to pay a fine. I was down and out, didn’t know what to do. Spent all my last money on drink and wandered around London in a state. I didn’t want to admit that I was homeless, besides I didn’t even have a sleeping bag! My priority was to get money for alcohol so I started begging. I drank to feel normal but was drinking 2–3 bottles of vodka a day and felt bitter from life and being on the streets.
I met the Outreach Team from The Connection but I didn’t want to accept that I needed help and wasn’t taking anything seriously. But they didn’t give up and persevered until I started to listen. They accompanied me to appointments and treated me with dignity. It was such a relief to talk to someone that made me feel human. I slept in The Connection’s Night Centre until they found me hostel accommodation and I’m now in a clearing house. Thanks to ODAAT (One Day At A Time) I was enrolled into drug rehab and I haven’t had a drink for 16 months. But, even when I was going through treatment, The Connection never made me feel like a stranger, I could always call on them for help. So now, I’m doing an NVQ and volunteering. It sounds cheesy but without The Connection I wouldn’t have had any connection. I’ve still got a long way to go but they did absolutely everything they could for me and it’s down to me to do the rest.
ACTIVITY GROUPS We run a diverse range of activity groups which increase confidence and give people the chance to learn new skills. Not having a home leaves you isolated with low self esteem. Our activity groups help people overcome these feelings. Being part of a group gives people a sense of belonging and purpose which alleviates loneliness. The groups captivate peopleâ€™s interest and we start to see positive changes in people that attend. This means we can work with them on a number of levels, from helping them address their homelessness to referring them to one of our other services which can help with their progression.
Art Space This drop-in group provides an unrestricted space giving people the freedom to express themselves through art and exhibit their work at art shows.
Right: Phillip with Alastair Campbell at the Private View of our Art Show.
151 people attended Art Space 81 Women attended Womenâ€™s group 2,225 people accessed specialist services including substance misuse, mental health and rough sleeper support
This year two successful art shows were held. The first was a Private View which attracted Alastair Campbell who bought two paintings by Phillip, one of our artists. Then we held our summer exhibition as part of an Open Day on the 29th June. For the first time we opened our doors to the public giving everyone a chance to see the exhibition of art, meet staff and homeless people and learn more about what we do. It was a tremendous success and we welcomed over 500 visitors.
Touch Base This digital media project, specifically for and by younger homeless people, has gone from strength to strength over the year. People have been undertaking bite sized accredited training and have developed a website which will educate and signpost other people at risk of homelessness. Using photography, short films and animation theyâ€™ve also been working on an A-Z series. Each letter of the alphabet highlights a risk associated with sleeping rough. www.homelessatoz.org
Creative Writing Putting pen to paper is therapeutic. Each week the group explore different themes and styles of writing
Richard – Why I write? * Read Richard’s full piece in the letters to The Connection at the back.
“ I carry so much information and data around in my head that my hard drive sometimes gets overloaded. So I run the data through my processor and let it flow through my fingertips through a keyboard and onto a monitor. Then I can save my file. Then it’s done and dusted.”*
Digital Media Initially this started as a photography workshop with homeless people capturing their experiences on the streets with disposable cameras. The results were astounding and received significant media and public interest. The story doesn’t end there. In 2011 the group secured TalkTalk’s digital heroes award. Receiving recognition from a national award has motivated the group, inspiring them to record their experiences through digital media, as well as photography. Homeless people are building on what they already know and are producing some poignant films using their photographs and words. Thanks to TalkTalk’s support we’ve been able to dedicate more resources to the group and help more homeless people.
Women’s Group Most homeless people are male which can leave women even more isolated. The group provides a space where women can discuss female related issues in a supportive environment. There’s a pampering element to the sessions including trips to the hairdressers or receiving massages which does wonders for people’s confidence.
Football Physical activity enhances mood and improves people’s mental health. Pete Mason coaches the team and is a qualified instructor and is always looking of ways to develop his players. As well as competing in leagues, several people have played in the Homeless World Cup. “ Football provided me with an opportunity to meet people who are like me and don’t like getting into trouble. It’s not easy when you are homeless to meet and make good friends on the streets. So football has given me a chance to escape street demons.” Phillip
Streetwise Opera Streetwise Opera runs music workshops at our centre giving homeless people a voice through singing. Through professional coaching, the workshops give performers the chance to star in high quality productions. Research suggests that singing makes you happy. The process of learning new songs keeps your brain active and helps stave off depression and belonging to part of a group helps combat loneliness.
Spiritual Group This group is run by Reverend Richard Carter from St Martinin-the-Fields church and is a calm space, with a meditative element, where people can reflect on the week. “ Spiritual Space makes me feel good, I am a believer in the group. When you are homeless you look for things like food, but you also need to feed yourself in other ways. When I come to the group I feel good inside, and it helps people when I am having a difficult time.” Lazaro
Linked We work with a diverse group of people so this group was specifically set up for ethnic minorities. “ We talk about topical events around the world and are doing some campaigning, writing to the PM about the riots. I’m learning new things every day and we can sit down and have a laugh, while talking about serious issues and hopefully make a difference.” Junior
Headspace Our Substance Misuse and Awareness Group provides a vital service to homeless people that have a drug and/or alcohol problem in helping them overcome their dependency. Headspace gives people the chance to share their experiences in a supportive environment, combating the isolation someone can feel when battling with an addiction. “ It’s reassuring to know that you’re not alone.” John There’s a strong emphasis on prevention and harm reduction through information on issues like overdosing and first aid.
85% of clients that attended Headspace reported that they had adopted safer practices in their use of drugs/alcohol, and 100% said they would use the information they have learned in the future.
Paul â€“ Why I attend Headspace
Awareness. Paying bills. Being honest. Having feelings. Problem solving. Educating others. Learning to say sorry. Keeping appointments. What made me homeless. Trusting others in the group. Coping with the passing of my mum. Being careful of other peopleâ€™s feelings. Being mindful of other people in Headspace.
STEVE In 2 months everyone I loved dearly died: my partner of 27 years, my mum, dad and gran. I was left utterly bereft and emotionally broken. I’m originally from Crewe but had to get away so moved to Blackpool and was working as a Chef and managed to get a flat. Some way down the line I got involved in a new relationship. We lived together in my flat which is when the mental and physical abuse started. He would severely beat me, often for no reason. He broke my jaw and fractured my skull. He broke me mentally. I felt trapped and lived in constant fear not knowing what he’d do next. He was an alcoholic and I lost my job because he turned up drunk and shouted verbal abuse at me for hours. He spent all my last money on alcohol and we lost the flat. We moved to London even though we didn’t know anyone, but he thought we might be able to make money. But, all he wanted to do was drink, day in, day out. We were sleeping rough and he’d force me to beg. The consequences would be lethal if I didn’t do as he said: he controlled my life. One day he sent me to the shop to buy mixer. He told me which shop and said it would take 10 minutes – he’d time me and if I was longer he’d beat me. I didn’t know London and wasn’t sure which shop he meant. I got lost and started to panic, the panic and fear engulfed me, I had to get back, I had to get back. I started having a panic attack. I couldn’t breathe,
I was in a state and an ambulance was called and I ended up in hospital. When I was discharged I was so terrified he’d find me. I didn’t know London and suffered from frequent panic attacks and agoraphobia, waiting for him to tap me on the shoulder. I was seen by the Outreach team who told me about The Connection. It was such a relief to find somewhere that could help me. The Advice & Housing team referred me to the Night Centre. I finally felt safe but couldn’t sleep. In the day I didn’t dare go further than Trafalgar Square in case he found me. Then one day he turned up at The Connection asking for me. The staff wouldn’t let him in but he sat on the door step for hours but finally left. The Connection housed me in a hostel. I was still so low and didn’t go out. I was later referred to St Martin’s House, The Connection’s supported housing in Clapham. It was brilliant, I felt safe, I had my own front door and Matthew my key worker was pivotal to bringing me out of myself. It took a long time but very, very gradually I started to go out again, talk to people and even went to the gym. I grew in confidence. In this time I became a different person. I’m now living in my own flat without any support and am helping people in a similar situation to myself. I no longer live in fear. I’m so grateful to The Connection and St Martin’s House for giving me my life back.
WORK SPACE Employment is vital in helping people move away from homelessness and become integrated back into society. Workspace, our dedicated Education, Training and Employment service, provides everything homeless people need to make what can seem an unachievable goal, especially if you’re sleeping rough, a reality. Our Workspace team provides a one-stop-shop and works with clients on their future prospects. We improve their employability by providing training, as well as CV writing and provide further support once they’ve made the important transition into work, to prevent them returning to the streets. “ I went on an interview workshop through Workspace and it was a good experience. I was interviewed by some lawyers… just the way they interview real lawyers! I also got help with writing my CV. I am now better prepared for any job interview in any company and feel more confident that I will get a job. Thanks to The Connection and Workspace” R.
Employability Programme Each client receives an individual learning plan where we explore what their options are and help set targets. This could be finding suitable training or looking for work. 800 people accessed training and employment support 1 in 8 people seen were found employment 72 people gained qualifications 465 people were referred to external training or advice
We then work with people through our drop in service to achieve these targets. Careers advisors help people develop CVs and conduct job searches on the internet for the latest employment opportunities and apply for jobs. We’re incredibly fortunate to receive support and resources from our corporate partners. We work together with them to develop a series of workshops which improve a person’s employability. These cover a broad range of topics including interview techniques, presentation skills and CV writing. They also develop a person’s ‘soft skills’ for example improving selfesteem and confidence which are essential qualities to survive in the work place. Our corporate supporters often feedback on how much they’ve enjoyed running a workshop. Here’s what some of them had to say. A volunteer from Man Group Plc who was involved in an interview skills workshop described the experience as: “ Positive, rewarding and fulfilling.” “ For me personally it was an opportunity to be exposed to a different part of life and open my eyes to other things that are going on in the world outside my own circle of experiences. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with some of my colleagues and receive the feedback that I was helping - this in itself was rewarding.” A volunteer from PwC
Work Trials When clients have limited or no experience of getting, or holding down, a job work trials are a crucial introduction into the work place. Not only do the trials encourage clients to take on responsibility, but they provide routine which helps establish a more structured way of living which is often absent when you’re homeless. Our loyal corporate supporters have continued to provide work placements, but the recession has placed pressure on the jobs market this year which means there have been fewer work trial opportunities. “ I was struggling to find work. Workspace put me forward for a hotel work trial to get some experience and then helped me prepare for my interviews as a Porter and I got the job. If it wasn’t for their help I’d still be out of work.” Koko
Training We provide accredited training in-house. We also work closely with external training providers and help recommend and refer people to suitable courses so they can gain the experience they need. “ I didn’t think I could do school after being homeless. I felt useless. It gave me something to do rather than be on the streets. The teachers are fabulous and very friendly. People are in all kinds of states when they’re homeless but they were very understanding.” Chris “ You need to be able to use a computer now and I didn’t know how. They’ve taught me how to do this, how to send an email for a job and they changed my CV. I’m now working in a fitness centre. Without them my destiny would’ve been bad.” Etore
What’s New? Digital Training Digital technology is revolutionising the world we live in, from how we spend our recreational time, to the jobs we do. Because of this digital boom, there are more employment opportunities in digital roles and IT training is no longer enough, people need to be digitally proficient too for nearly every industry. We’ll be providing accredited digital courses from Dreamweaver and Photoshop, to film editing packages. Because we live in a fast paced world new forms of digital technology are constantly emerging, so the training will continually be refreshed to ensure that it’s as useful and relevant as possible to our clients. “ I’m setting up my own business making badges. I’ve learnt how to use Photoshop which means I can now create my own designs. I needed more than basic IT skills.” Chris Volunteer Support Our volunteers play a vital role in Workspace but over the course of the year they’ve increased their support dedicating the equivalent of a full-time worker to the service. Volunteers from Acona, one of our corporate supporters, donated their time in the kitchen but were to keen to help in Workspace. They are now providing an imperative weekly follow-up service, contacting clients that no longer use the service. This welfare type role is so important at reconnecting with clients who have not yet found work and encouraging them back into the centre. If the client has found employment then volunteers help establish if there’s any further support we can provide.
Our Outreach Team provides an immediate response to rough sleeping in Westminster by engaging with people on the streets. Our Outreach Team’s role is to go out on the streets every day – either late at night or very early in the morning – find people who are sleeping there and persuade them to come to our building as a first step in finding somewhere to live. Our Outreach Team undertakes painstaking work to prioritise longer term, hard to reach rough sleepers. If we don’t bring the support to them they are unlikely to request help of their own accord.
“ I’m a long term rough sleeper - I’ve been on and off the streets for 26 years. I’d seen Outreach before but didn’t want their help. I didn’t trust them and didn’t think they knew what was best for me, especially when it came down to hostels. But Eric kept persevering with me and slowly I started believing what he was saying. He put me in the Lodge – a hostel which is relaxed and suited to me. They’ve done a remarkable job at getting me inside.” Colin
What’s New? No Second Night Out The team has seen significant changes to how it delivers its service which is effectively reducing the number of people sleeping rough. The No Second Night Out project is an initiative created by the London Mayor’s Office and adopted by all homelessness agencies in London. The focus is on targeting new arrivals to the capital, so that if they end up sleeping on the streets they don’t spend any longer than one night there. Our role in this is vital as the vast majority of people who resort to sleeping on the streets do so in Westminster - our area. Another considerable change is that the Outreach Team now operates on the streets 7 days a week. Providing daily and nightly street presence means the team can respond to potential referrals from members of the public as well as checking for people unaware of our service. This increased coverage means we’re able to engage with more rough sleepers at an earlier stage. These important changes to how we operate the service are paying dividends. Despite the increase of newly arrived people coming into Westminster the Outreach Team has reduced the number of rough sleepers on a given night by 20%.
205 Initiative You may remember in last year’s review we talked about the ‘205 initiative’. This has successfully seen us working with the City of Westminster to target some of the most entrenched rough sleepers, who had previously not responded to our services or shown resistance to moving off the streets. We’ve been working with the 205s and almost all of them have made excellent progress. This is because detailed plans were created for every individual incorporating a range of resources to address people’s housing and personal needs. Part of our approach involved persuading some
individuals to attend weekly counselling sessions because working through your problems is healing and an important part of the recovery process. These sessions have been so successful that we’re hoping they will be made available to a wider group of clients. “ I feel it’s been a huge help. Don’t ask me to explain why it works but it does. Something good has happened, but I can’t understand what it is.” Paul
Rough Sleepers Group “ It gives me the space to breathe away from the Day Centre.” Mel 1,150 people seen by the Outreach team on the streets 20% reduction in rough sleepers per night 12 people that attended the Rough Sleepers Group over the year are now in accommodation
This group provides a dedicated space for a smaller number of our long-term rough sleepers who are so withdrawn that they find it difficult, if not impossible, to use our mainstream Day Centre services. They are vulnerable and at the farthest end of exclusion, so this space is designed to be as inviting and accessible as possible. There’s little structure and the group evolves depending on the clients that attend. It’s a tranquil space where people can play games, watch a film and access basic facilities like the laundry and showers, without the queues of the day centre which some clients find particularly difficult. Each week people have the freedom to do what they wish. Gradually over time the space and set up becomes familiar and clients begin to develop a routine. This gives people the confidence to participate or engage with staff. All of these are important steps so people can start making the transition into accommodation. Once people move inside they continue to use the group, both for ongoing support and to provide informal peer mentoring to encourage others to move off the street.
“ It’s a quiet space, less hectic than the Day Centre. I can see staff for appointments and outside services know they can contact me here. Without this group we’d be really isolated. Each week I see a familiar face, even if it’s just a “hello how are you” – it makes such a difference to how I feel.” David
ADVICE + HOUSING Each person that we see is different so we provide a tailored service depending on their needs. Our Advice & Housing team plays a vital role at helping a diverse group including: â€“ People at risk of homelessness â€“ People that are newly homeless â€“ People that have returned to homelessness We place a strong emphasis on preventing people from ending up on the streets. Therefore, a large part of our work involves providing immediate advice and assistance and, where possible, finding suitable accommodation for those who turn up at our door with nowhere to stay that night.
“ I made mistakes when it came to housing. I’ve been so up and down. But they helped me into a hostel. That step was so important to me. I was so stressed on the streets. It was such a relief to get inside. I knew I could do it but I needed the help. I’m now waiting for a flat.” Junior 352 people reconnected to their home area or referred to appropriate services 306 people referred to accommodation 25 people referred to private rental schemes 1,225 people referred to hostels & housing
Frequently, we find that people are attracted to the bright lights of London in the misguided hope that they’ll be able to start their life over and/or that they will not have much trouble finding somewhere to live. Unfortunately, the reality is they often end up sleeping rough because there is no alternative. Early intervention and preventing the first instance of someone sleeping rough is critical so they don’t get trapped into a life on the streets. So a significant part of the team’s work focuses on reconnecting new arrivals to appropriate services back to their home area. Where possible it’s important that we encourage people to return home so that they can rebuild their support network and maintain local links. While people may resist initially this measure is effective at preventing people from adopting a homeless street lifestyle in London.
What’s New? As we mentioned in the section on our Outreach team, there is a new initiative for people new to sleeping on the streets so they do not spend more than one night there. People are picked up initially by our Outreach workers who ensure that these clients then use the follow up services in our building. The Advice & Housing team then take over the more detailed assessment needs and help them arrive at a solution to their housing and other problems.
Mental Health Mental health and homelessness are closely associated. About 70% of our clients have some form of mental health problem so demand for our in-house provision is high.
We see a variety of conditions ranging from severe mental health disorders to depression, stress and anxiety. For some people poor mental health was the cause of their homelessness, while for others symptoms began to develop while living on the streets. Poor mental health affects the way you feel, think and act and homeless people are already vulnerable to risk. Our specialist mental health workers assess and work with clients to manage their conditions. They do this through a combination of group work sessions and befriending exercises so homeless people can rebuild their support networks with friends and family. “ Things I did back then I wouldn’t have done now. I wasn’t well then but I didn’t realise that. The Connection made me realise.” Sarah
SARAH I was living in Ireland with my husband Alan of 3 ½ years when my marriage started to fall apart. I had to get away so came to London. I couldn’t go back to Ireland, even though my husband wanted me to. I stayed in a hotel and tried to find work but couldn’t. My money was diminishing fast and although I could see my situation worsening I hadn’t really come to terms with being homeless. It’s only now looking back that I can make sense of everything that happened, why my marriage broke down. I wasn’t well but didn’t realise. Things I did back then I wouldn’t have done now. After all my money had gone I ended up on the streets. I thought I was holding it together, sleeping rough didn’t bother me. But, I hadn’t realised I was mentally ill. Outreach workers were concerned about my mental health and it was when I was sleeping rough near Victoria that I was sectioned and because I didn’t trust them I became very suspicious of Outreach Teams. Adrian from The Connection tried to talk with me for a long time – but I refused to chat to him. I didn’t trust him or anyone from Outreach. It took a long time for Adrian to convince me to start using the centre and I remember spending Christmas there. But, I was still very wary of them.
Over time my mental health was deteriorating so Adrian worked with the Joint Homelessness team to section me and get me to hospital. I immediately liked my doctor - he treated me like a person and made me realise how unwell I was. When I was discharged The Connection found me sheltered housing and gradually my health improved. It took me a long time to adjust but I started to feel myself again. Adrian was a big part of my turn around and helped with everything - he even came to Argos with me to help furnish my new place! But, probably the biggest step for me was getting back in touch with my husband and family who I’d been estranged from for 10 years. It’s been hard, we had a lot of issues to work through but Alan and I arranged to meet. It was like a time warp. It was so good to see him. I felt like I’d wasted so much time. New things are happening to me now, it’s good. Alan comes over to see me with the dogs and I arrange to go back to see him. For my own safety I’ve now signed a community treatment order. So, if I get ill again they don’t need my consent to take me to hospital. Most people wouldn’t do it but it’s important for my peace of mind that the same thing doesn’t happen to me again.
NIGHT CENTRE Open nightly from 10.00pm, the Night Centre provides emergency short term beds for rough sleepers in Westminster all year round. The service is a lifeline to some of our most vulnerable clients and can accommodate approximately 40 people a night.
950 Night Centre visits On average 37 people accommodated every night
“ I was sleeping in Leicester Square but was referred to the Night Centre because of my health problems and age. It was so much better than the street. For a start it was warm and I could get a meal at night. Without this I couldn’t start to deal with my problems.” Ben It’s a unique service because the Night Centre helps homeless people on a practical level, by providing them with refuge and safety away from the streets. But, it also gives us an opportunity to help rough sleepers make the important transition into housing. On arrival clients receive a meal, can use the shower facilities and see a specialist member of our team for assessment.
Rough sleepers are referred into the Night Centre by partner agencies across the whole of Westminster and unlike hostel accommodation there’s no charge or waiting list. The Night Centre is always busy but demand for the service is particularly high during the winter months. Last winter saw sustained periods of freezing cold weather and snow with temperatures frequently plummeting below zero. Extreme weather poses a real threat to rough sleepers and there’s a risk they could die on the streets. During these adverse weather conditions we operate a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). If temperatures are predicted to fall below zero for three consecutive nights in a row we work with partner agencies to get homeless people indoors to prevent them from freezing to death. The objective is to get rough sleepers indoors and out of the cold which means we operate beyond full capacity of 40 a night and gave shelter to up to 70 people a night. “ I had no money and no ID. The Night Centre let me stay until I was put in a hostel. It was a roof and a very high end homeless shelter compared to some of the terrible places I’ve stayed.” Chris
What’s New? In addition to maintaining a critical service for vulnerable and entrenched rough sleepers, the Night Centre’s entry criteria has been revised in light of the No Second Night Out initiative so that we can prevent people from becoming rough sleepers. We’ve streamlined and focused the service so that the people that need it most are prioritised. This ensures that the numbers of people we help every night are manageable so we can work as effectively as possible.
VOLUNTEERING 2011 has been a year of change and some adjustments for our volunteer programme.
We are still providing excellent support to our clients thanks to the help of a strong and committed volunteer workforce.
Left: Katura volunteers in our Digital Media groups.
At the beginning of this year we had to introduce changes to some client services due to a reduction in funding. This has had a knock on effect on volunteering here with fewer roles available, particularly in our catering services, combined with a growing interest in volunteering from both individuals and companies through corporate social responsibility schemes. Overall, we have maintained large numbers of volunteers supporting the charity - over 500 individuals in 2011, and we retain our volunteers much longer than the national average – an average CSTM volunteer stays with the charity for 2 to 3 years and we have over 20 volunteers classed as “long term” – 5 years or longer. We take pride in the fact that word of mouth is what drives most volunteers or companies to contact us and this year we will receive over 2000 enquiries from potential volunteers. This extensive resource of personnel greatly benefits our clients who can draw upon the wealth of experience and expertise from this diverse group of individuals.
Right: Mark volunteers in our Digital Media groups.
Our large corporate supporter base provides client/corporate outings, workplace visits and work experience trials. The growth in the digital media (see case studies) programme has generated new opportunities for volunteers and we hope to continue these trends through the development of future volunteer roles. Our greatest appreciation and heartfelt thanks goes to all those individuals and companies who have provided so much time, care and understanding to our clients in 2011. We look to the future with optimism that our volunteer workforce will continue to work with The Connection while it continues to adapt to changes to homelessness.
KATURA AND MARK: DIGITAL VOLUNTEERS Why do you volunteer?
What do you enjoy about it?
Katura: I’ve wanted to volunteer for a while but never got round to it. I’m a photographer but have always been interested in homelessness so when I got in touch with The Connection everything fell into place.
Katura: I really enjoy meeting people, learning about their lives and hearing their stories. Working together on a project is a lot of fun and it’s great that I can use my skills as a photographer too – I didn’t think I’d find something so relevant. I also like the fact that the group is relaxed and there’s a really good atmosphere.
Mark: I used to work for local government. I took voluntary redundancy because I’d become disillusioned with my job and the impact of the cuts on my team’s ability to provide a good service. I felt distant from helping people and wanted to do something that had a more direct impact on people’s lives.
Mark: It’s something I look forward to every week. I like sharing knowledge and the Digital Media workshop has given me a great way to share my IT knowledge. I enjoy spending time with people and helping them see an idea through from start to finish. Those attending the workshops have had some fantastic project ideas, and have taken some lovely photographs to illustrate them, so it’s been great fun working with them. I like the fact that members of the group come back regularly. It gives me the confidence that what we are doing is beneficial to them.
CORPORATE SUPPORT Recent times have been challenging for companies as well as charities. But we’re delighted that our corporate relationships continue to remain strong, with a focus on longevity and the future. Their contributions enhance our work whilst providing benefits to the partner organisations. Many of our corporate partners choose to support one of our services through a combination of financial contribution and volunteering hours. PwC continues to fund part of our busy Workspace service, providing education, training and employment opportunities to clients, as well as offering Interview Skills Workshops and serving food in the cafeteria. The Anglo American Group Foundation supports our cafeteria service, which provides over 60,000 nutritious meals a year. These kinds of long-term support are enormously important as they allow us to plan our services effectively, whilst also meaning that more volunteers have the chance to get involved. “ I was surprised by the communication skills and abilities of those I worked with. I was also surprised at how easily it could be anyone I know.” Corporate Volunteer “ As an individual it gives me a more broad view of people – eye-opening, positive.” Corporate Volunteer
Corporate Volunteers Staff from companies we work with contribute thousands of hours of time and a multitude of skills each year; helping us to run, whilst adding value to, our day to day services.
Above L-R: Kevin, Tara and Chris (Senior Partner) from Pinsent Masons volunteering in our kitchen.
Organisations can ‘own’ a breakfast or lunch slot in our cafeteria. Similarly, companies commit to running a series of CV and Interview Skills Workshops for our clients, sharing with them hints and tips, and offering much-needed confidence boosts. Special one-off activities, including taking clients out on day trips, mean we can offer experiences clients wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.
Staff Fundraising Lots of people fundraise for us in their workplace, whether individually or as part of a larger scheme within their company. Around Christmas the Yahoo! Europe Limited offices held a day of fundraising activities involving raffles, auctions, a Wii tournament and collections at their Christmas party. We are excited about developing our corporate partnerships throughout the coming year.
CHARITABLE TRUSTS We greatly appreciate the commitment and generosity of the many charitable trusts and foundations that supported The Connection in 2010-11. We are hugely reliant on this support. Unlike housing providers, we do not generate significant income from hostel revenues and do not have access to regular designated government funding streams. The past year has been particularly challenging with significant cuts across the sector and we have seen a corresponding decline in our statutory funding towards our core costs and services. It is vital to ensure these services continue to be available for homeless people. It could be tempting to turn to independent trusts and other funding streams to fill in the gap left by statutory funding; however we have always looked to independent trusts to help fund and develop innovative new solutions to the problems associated with homelessness and are committed to continuing to do so.
Step Up An example of this is our Step Up Project, aimed at providing our most vulnerable and excluded clients a supported introduction to employment and the working world within The Connection. The Henry Smith Charity has awarded
us a three-year grant towards this new initiative and we are excited about the change this will bring to our organisation and for our clients. Providing opportunities for work experience is vital for our clients, particularly for those who are farthest from being work ready. For these people, entering the world of work again after such a long time of social exclusion can be daunting and many struggle with basic “softer” skills such as day to day relationships, communication skills and the expectations of the workplace such as presentation and time management. Initial reactions to the Step Up project are encouraging, with clients already helping us develop the project and enthusiastic to join, claiming “it will help us take control and get on with our lives again”. We will continue to develop the Step Up project over the next three years and hope to share this model of voluntary placements with other organisations working with homeless people in London.
FINANCE We are glad to say that, in the year to 31st March 2011, we were able to secure more than enough income to meet our budgeted commitments.
The figures show an excess of income over expenditure in the region of £373,000. This surplus was unplanned income and the large majority of this was from legacies. Although we can’t predict the future, particularly during this period of financial uncertainty, it does offer us some security to meet ever changing demands. This has also enabled us to increase the value of our legacy equalisation fund and to establish a new fund to cover obsolescence and development issues involved in maintaining the building and its infrastructure. We are very pleased that, in securing income this year, we have succeeded in keeping our fundraising costs down to 5% of our total expenditure. It remains our objective to secure income from as broad a spectrum of funding streams as possible and to pursue new avenues whenever they become available. Part of the incoming resources raised during the course of this year has been nearly £527,000 in legacy income from our late supporters and Friends.
The information given is taken from the full audited accounts with an unqualified opinion from Aspens Limited. To gain a full understanding of the financial affairs of the charity, the audited statements, Board and Auditor’s reports are available from The Connection at St Martin’s. More details can also be found at www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk and www.charity-commission.gov.uk
The diagrams on the following pages illustrate where our income has come from and how it has been spent during the year. The summary financial information below shows income raised, including a breakdown of what was generated directly through fundraising activities.
INCOME 2010 –2011 MAIN INCOME
STATUTORY GRANTS 34%
INTEREST 0.1% TRADING 1%
STATUTORY CONTRACTS 14%
* FUNDRAISED INCOME BREAKDOWN
EVENTS 3% TRUSTS 18%
FRIENDS OF CSTM 6%
BBC RADIO 4 ST MARTIN’S CHRISTMAS APPEAL 18%
EXPENDITURE 2010 – 2011 MAIN EXPENDITURE
DIRECT CHARITABLE 94%
GOVERNANCE 0.2% EVENTS 0.7%
*DIRECT CHARITABLE EXPENDITURE BREAKDOWN
DAY AND NIGHT CENTRES 57%
ADVICE 11% HOUSING AND RESETTLEMENT 5% The expenditure is further analysed to illustrate how resources are expended across our different spheres of work.
EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT 14%
OUTREACH AND BUILDING BASED SERVICES 12%
BOARD + DIRECTORS Board of Trustees Dame Diana Brittan (Chair), Lady Jane Reid (Vice Chair), Ian Watson (Treasurer), Rod Beadles, Peter Brown, Jeff Claxton, The Reverend Nicholas Holtam (resigned: 26/7/11), Councillor Louise Hyams, Gay Longworth, Jonathan Martyr, David Obrart (resigned: 31/07/11), Canon Robert Wright (resigned: 18/01/11), Jenny Williams
Directors Chief Executive Colin Glover Director of Services Mick Baker Director of Finance Hugo Lane Director of Fundraising and PR Kath Lee Head of Human Resources Julia Porter
WE ARE SUPPORTED BY
THANK YOU A diverse range of organisations and agencies have supported our work this year. Thank you for your substantial contribution. A D Power Will Trust, Ablestoke Consulting, AIM Foundation, Albert Reckitt Charitable Trust, Alex and William De Winton Trust, Allied Irish Bank (GB), Anglo American Group Foundation, The Argentarias Foundation, Barbara Welby Trust, Belmont Ensemble of London, Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, Bloomberg, Brown-Forman, Chiron Trust, City Bridge, City of Westminster, Coltstaple Trust, David Chipperfield Architects, Dolphin Square Foundation, Essex Community Foundation, Evan Cornish Foundation, The Happy Charitable Trust, Hyde Park Place Estate Charity, Inman Charity, J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, The Jerusalem Trust, Land Securities plc, London Councils, London Housing Foundation, The London Metal Exchange, Macfarlanes LLP, Man Group plc Charitable Trust, Marsh Christian Trust, Monmouth Coffee Company, Oâ€™Connell Resourcing, Penguin Group / Dorling Kindersley, Porticus UK, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Progress Foundation, Rayne Foundation, Reed Elsevier, Richard Radcliffe Charitable Trust, Scouloudi Foundation, Shell International Trading and Shipping Company (STASCO), Shell UK Ltd, SMB Trust, Smith & Nephew, Sobell Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Steel Charitable Trust, Stichting Benevolentia, StreetSmart, Tail Wind Advisory & Management Ltd, Talisman Charitable Trust, TalkTalk Plc, The Waldorf Hilton, The Weekend City Press Review, Three Oaks Trust, Tokyo Diner, Tolkien Trust, Trinity Ministries, Tula Trust Limited, Voluntary Action Westminster, Westminster Foundation, Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers, Yahoo! Europe Limited.
And finally... A special thank you to the following, who made this Annual Review possible Clients, volunteers and staff at The Connection and Friends of The Connection, Printed on paper supplied by Arjowiggins Creative Papers (www.arjowigginscreativepapers.com), Cover & Text printed on Keaykolour Pure White 300gsm & 120gsm, Inserts printed on China White 120gsm, Design by Zerofee (www.zerofee.org), Produced by Making Impressions (www.makingimpressions.co.uk), Photography by Al Overdrive (www.al-overdrive.com), Katura Jensen (www.katurajensen.com) and Paul Barshon.
I would like to humbly thank all the staff, that have worked over the years at 'The Connection'. I have used all the services you provide over the years and am severely grateful for your existence. You were always there for me during my darkest hours, through alcoholism and drug addiction. The help and support I received has been invaluable to me. I am now clean and have been for nearly 2 years. My life has taken a new direction, in that I have just been offered a place at University to study Marine Biology. A route I could never have even imagined. None of this could have been possible without the help you all have given me. I will be eternally grateful to you all, and hope that one day I can do something to help repay your organisation in the future. I know I am just one of many, I want to assure anyone interested that this organisation works. I am testament to that.
John Former client at The Connection
Light in a Black Tunnel Return to Hope. I stayed in a hostel but am now in The Connection’s night shelter. I really appreciate help from The Connection’s staff during this hard time. I want to especially thank Nicky Tanner Nurse Specialist who helps me with my health condition but also showed me the right way in my life. Thank you to Beki Winter BBS Manager and her team who found me on the street and referred me to the night shelter. Beki Winter was very polite to me, she decided that I can stay in the night shelter for one week, maybe a little bit more so I appreciate that. The most important thing to me is that I can use the services offered in the Day Centre, like Work Space where the staff are very helpful, they showed me how I should look for a job, how to write a good CV, what mistakes I’d made in my CV or during interview, what is the reason that I can’t find job. I can also use the medical service in the Day Centre which is important to me because of my health condition. It is a pleasure that I can use the Day Centre at The Connection.
Why do I write? I carry so much information and data around in my head that my hard drive sometimes gets overloaded. So I run the data through my processor and let it flow through my fingertips through a keyboard and onto a monitor. Then I can save my file. Then it’s done and dusted. Then I’ll have enough space to be able to carry on… I write about people. I tell their stories and try to show not just what they do and say, but why they do it, what motivates them and the space. Both emotional and social, that they come from.
Richard Attendee of the Creative Writing Group
THE CONNECTION AT ST MARTIN-IN-THE-FIELDS, 12 ADELAIDE STREET, LONDON, WC2N 4HW T 020 7766 5544 F 020 7930 9194 E APPEALS@CSTM.ORG.UK WWW.CONNECTION-AT-STMARTINS.ORG.UK JOIN OUR COMMUNITY FOLLOW ‘THE CONNECTION’ ON FACEBOOK FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @HOMELESSLONDON REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER 1078201 COMPANY REGISTRATION 3852519
Published on Jan 26, 2012