Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2015

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01372 377 790

Charity number: 1137054

Issue 8 • Autumn/Winter 2015


Since the last Newsletter... • Lee was allocated a support worker, teeth and glasses (see pg 2 for full story) • Jeremy started a Foundation course in Marine Biology (see pg 2 for full story) • Christine started a Fine Art A Level at a local college • Leon was supported through a major operation • Frank was housed after living on the streets for two years • Barry completed a detox programme • Charlie opened his first bank account • 14 clients took up their own tenancies • Julie won her appeal to stay in her flat [All names have been changed.]

Also in this issue... • Meet 2 ex-clients and read their stories - Pg 2 • LHS wins bid for new project delivering workshops to help homeless people in Surrey - Pg 3 • ESOS - a new outreach service for rough sleepers in East Surrey - Pg 4 • Fundraising spotlight - Pg 4

We’re Out Of A Pickle!

If first-day sales are any guide, LeatherHead Start’s ‘Out of a Pickle’ range is a true winner. The jars went on sale at an Effingham Christmas Fair in mid-November. LHS Learning Development Worker, Kat Moore, says, “It went brilliantly. We sold over 50 jars and took in nearly £160.” Out Of A Pickle was set up to help the homeless and unemployed stand on their own two feet: “The whole point,” says Kat, “is to provide an opportunity for our clients to develop skills that will lead them confidently into work.” Kat had always thought social enterprises could tackle social issues and improve communities and life chances: “We wanted to try to start something like that here. We had a kitchen and an allotment. Why not?” Continued on page 3...

Jeremy follows the dream

By the end of 2014, Jeremy was at the end of his rope. Homeless in his early 40s, his chronic bouts of depression had been made worse by growing dependence on the drugs he’d used since his teens.

He’d left school at 16, qualifying as an electrician to please his parents. Self-employed for a time, he couldn’t face the self-promotion needed and the drugs took over. From time to time Jeremy would live with a girlfriend then go back to his parents. When, last September, the mother he was close to died of a brain tumour, Jeremy had to move to his sister’s floor. Eventually, he “outstayed my welcome,” so he ended up in his car.

Lee’s story: A life without fear

Tenant Support Worker Chris Thorpe (pictured above, left) describes how LHS set one vulnerable client along the road to an independent life. Lee came to LeatherHead Start after a lifetime of missed opportunities. He always fell through the support net and was constantly forced to fall back on his own resources which, because of his learning disability, were limited. We needed to start with his basic needs, at a GP. With the right medication, the chronic pulmonary disease diagnosed by the local asthma clinic was soon under control. Other, less pressing physical needs were duly addressed with prescription spectacles, intensive dental work and audiological treatment. Next, Lee was referred to an occupational therapy department. Two workshops run by a psychologist and team for managing safe relationships were an immense help — in the past, unscrupulous people had emptied his bank account, forced him to pay for their food and alcohol and threatened him with physical violence if he didn’t comply. Local police, also keen to lessen the risks he faced, gave him a Pegasus Card to let him contact them urgently just by quoting a code number.

Basic life skills were needed If Lee were to take up a tenancy he needed basic skills to smooth his path: literacy, numeracy, cooking, general lifeskills and speech therapy, all vital to more independent living. As soon as our Chair, Myfanwy (pictured above, right), a retired teacher, discovered that Lee was struggling to read, she devised a personal literacy programme for him and they met weekly during his stay. He also received cookery lessons from another volunteer. Lee’s final step was to be assessed and accepted by Adult Social Care. They worked out his own budget and care plans. And his new social worker worked with great enthusiasm and empathy for a man who, for all his life, had tried and failed for reasons not of his choosing or his fault to live a ‘normal’ life.

Desperate, he asked Mole Valley District Council for somewhere to stay, and they found him a place at LeatherHead Start.

“LeatherHead Start changed my life...”

He didn’t settle. Then, last Christmas, a woman he was seeing ended their relationship: “I thought, ‘I’ve lost everyone now’. I got angry with it all, with the drugs. “At LeatherHead Start there was a lovely woman called Shirley who ran a job club,” he says. He started to take maths, English, and computing courses: “She asked me what would I really like to do, and I thought I needed to do some education, to stop… doing something for the money [and do] something I like, and try to enjoy life a bit more.” Ever since he’d seen Jaws as a boy he’d longed to be a marine biologist. He and Shirley found a two-year foundation course at Falmouth Marine School that could be converted into a degree in a further year, with personal development and funding: “I jumped at the chance,” he says. With interim funding from LHS, Bantam Charitable Trust and Leatherhead United Charites, pending a student loan, he set off for the West Country. “LeatherHead Start,” he says now, “changed my life. I will forever be in their debt. It’s an amazing group of people.” He admits that when, early on, he didn’t cooperate, the LHS staff and volunteers showed endless patience and understanding: “I owe it to them. It’s a place of dreams, a turning point, at a bad point in life to find a place like that. It’s the people, every one of them, they can absolutely change your life. I’ll do anything for them.” Jeremy hasn’t touched drugs for 10 months: “I’ve kicked a 27-year drug habit, and I’m not going back there.” The girl who walked out has walked back. Fingers crossed.

To read Lee and Jeremy’s full stories please visit our website (address on page 4)

With the help of all the above agencies and, of course, LeatherHead Start Lee is now safe and happy in supported housing. He no longer needs to live in fear.


Above: Jeremy with Shirley just after he sent his application to Falmouth Marine College.

Continued from front page...

We’re Out Of A Pickle!

With much outside guidance and practical help, LHS decided to go ahead. First, they wrote a business plan and did local market research. Clients and volunteers were recruited to do the cooking, and Mark, the graphic design manager at Purley-based Partners in Communication (picom., designed the logo and labels - he even printed them free! Starting with ingredients from LHS’s nearby allotment, Kat and the team gathered all the recipes they could find from clients, family and friends. They brought in local chef David Gillott of the Ashtead’s Four Gables Food Academy to help narrow them down to three – spicy mango chutney, chunky picalilli, and courgette and fennel. To these they added red onion marmalade. It’s a staple in most pickle ranges, says Kat. And after sampling it with cheese and tomato on toast, one client commented: “The public must be allowed to experience this!” In August 2015 specially recruited volunteers began production of the first jars: “We couldn’t do it without them,” says Kat. “They bring an important consistency to the enterprise and instruct the clients when they join the Team.” More volunteers would be welcome! And an allotment manager is another vacancy that LHS urgently needs to fill before next season. Prices are £3.25 a jar, though discounts apply for multiple purchases. The money is ploughed back into business and learning: training courses the team might want, or any work clothing they might need. “But the main motivation,” says Kat, “is to give clients a positive workplace experience and a chance to develop their skills in a range of areas.” The team’s progress, its triumphs, one or two setbacks and, most importantly, details of where you can buy Out Of A Pickle products are set out on the blog on Tumblr – ( Project Pickle received £6,000 from the Community Safety Fund, £500 from the AVIVA Helping Hands fund and a private donation of £250. To those, many thanks — we couldn’t have done it without you.

LeatherHead Start wins Surrey Homeless Alliance grant LeatherHead Start has been chosen to run a new service to help Surrey’s single homeless.

bidders, says LHS manager Angela Carter. It will help up to 60 clients move to a better life.

Starting in November this year and throughout 2016, LHS will provide training workshops in Guildford, Woking and Leatherhead to help clients identify and control emotions in a positive way and manage emotional reactions which may be blocking their efforts to achieve independence.

A 2009 government report detailed how support for the homeless saved other public services more than twice the cost of that support. Surrey estimates it saved £33.4m in one year for an £18m outlay.

LHS developed the workshops with Catalyst, formerly Surrey Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (SADAS), under a grant from the Surrey Homeless Alliance (SHA).

SHA has £272,000 of government funding. It is a coalition of the Surrey councils and voluntary sector providers, led by Guildford Council, to implement an action plan to help prevent single homelessness.

Catalyst is a non-profit organisation helping those with drug and alcohol or mental health problems that may lead to homelessness, criminality, broken relationships or unemployment. LHS won the grant in competition with several other


Sponsor us – it couldn’t be easier!

It’s now even easier to raise funds for LeatherHead Start. We have registered with BT MyDonate ( so you can organise sponsorship events. Staff at Enables IT did just that. “We felt strongly this was a charity we would love to support,” says organiser Jo Keen: “With the cold weather on its way we knew any money we raised would most definitely be put to good use! The whole of Enables IT got behind us and showed terrific support. We undertook various other fundraising events in the lead up to the big event, ranging from Bake Offs, Quizzes, themed Bingo and Scalextric Nights in the office.” Enables IT raised over £1,400, twice their original target! In April local cyclist Jim took on Dorking’s 102-mile Wiggle Ups and Downs cycle race for LHS: “People find themselves in situations that are not necessarily of their own making,” says Jim. “Who knows, tomorrow it could be me that needs the help.” Less energetic donors can give our Givey page found on our website or send a cheque to LeatherHead Start at 3 Church Rd, Leatherhead, KT22 8AT. A huge WELL DONE and THANK YOU to the Team at Enables IT and Cyclist Jim for supporting us! Photos: (Above) Enables IT employees sleep out in front of their office. (Below) Jim shows his might before cycling for LHS!

Do you know of a rough sleeper? sleeper and, if they are single homeless, try to get them housed. If they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, they will be helped to find the relevant local services to address those issues.

The Newsletter reported last issue (issue 7, back page) that passers-by can help people they think are sleeping rough by using the StreetLink phone line (0300 500 0924). So what happens after those phone calls? In June 2015 the Mole Valley, Tandridge, Epsom & Ewell, and Reigate & Banstead councils asked Stonham, a sheltered housing charity which is part of the £400m Home Group social enterprise and housing charity to form the East Surrey Outreach Service (eSOS), to act on StreetLink and other information from the public about rough sleepers. eSOS has a team of four — a manager, two full-time and one part-time worker — to act on these leads. They assess the rough

Not every rough sleeper needs help: some who appear to be sleeping rough may be drinking or begging but do have a place to stay. However, many who are sleeping rough don’t know that the help they need is available. Within three months eSOS had assessed 52 homeless or at risk clients. Of these they have been able to support 21. One has secured his own council tenancy and another has been reconnected with his family. They have been able to do this by working with the local councils, existing agencies and support providers. LeatherHead Start is working with eSOS and will reserve a minimum of three beds for their clients, more if they become available.


Thank You! Thank you for reading. For the full version of these articles and more information about our work, please visit our website (address below)

LeatherHead Start Phone: 01372 377790 Address: 3 Church Road Leatherhead Surrey KT22 8AT For general enquires: For Manager: For the Chair of the Board: