Newsletter Spring/Summer 2015

Page 1 Issue 7 • Spring/Summer 2015


Since the last Newsletter... • Will, our longest staying client, has secured his own flat • Dan obtained full-time work and gained his CSCS certificate • Ella gained her provisional driving license and her SIA security license • Brian had 3 job interviews in one week • Daniel started a full-time work placement • Billy completed a cooking course, is learning to read & improving his maths! • Ray started a full-time hairdressing course • Phillip started English & Maths courses at college • Julie won her appeal to stay in her flat

In this issue... • Meet 3 clients and read their stories - Pg 2 • Activities at LHS - Pg 3 • MoVE Scheme ends - pg 4 • New social enterprise - pg 4 • Seen someone who might be homeless? - Pg 4


01372 377 790

Charity number: 1137054

Saving Surrey Money says

Manager Angela Carter

Just under half our funding comes from Surrey County Council’s threatened Adult Social Care budget. If it shrinks further, homeless people who have no statutory rights to housing or services will suffer. Leatherhead Start is a rare and valuable resource for helping homeless people in Mole Valley who find themselves without a place to stay at a time of increasing pressure on housing. ‘Crisis’, the national charity for single homeless people, calculates that a single unsupported homeless person creates an average cost of £5,059 per quarter t o

public services (police intervention and health services).* Over the last two years our service has cost Surrey £4,028 a person a year—a fifth the cost of homelessness. So it’s not just that LeatherHead Start responds to the needs of vulnerable homeless people in Surrey as the community would wish. It’s also very good value for Surrey’s money. ‘ *Crisis 2013: Making it Count by Dr Julie Rugg and Nicholas Pleace, senior research fellows at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy. Funded by The Department for Communities and Local Government.

Employment Skills project runs at LHS

see page 3 for more details...

Striver on the way up

Kaylea heads for a secure future Kaylea (above) has always been self-reliant, and she’s always had a job—”I’m not someone who can sit around moping,” she says. She grew up in a family of seven in West Sussex. Her father was abusive and, from six onwards, Kaylea, now 25, spent much of her time in foster homes. Her mum remarried and moved to Dorking just as Kaylea went into secondary school. Kaylea made friends there but was so disruptive she was moved to a special school in Reigate. At 17 she moved into a hostel and took various jobs in shops and sandwich bars. The hostel, she says, “was horrible.” It wasn’t clean and the other residents—drug or alcohol users, which Kaylea isn’t—stole from her. After 11 months Mole Valley council helped her find a flat in Leatherhead. She couldn’t keep the flat clean or manage the bills. “I was too young,” she says. After a year debts forced her back to the hostel. Nine months later she found a flat in Fetcham but, after three years, she was evicted for debt. She spent two years sofa-surfing, and slept rough a few nights. Then, last Christmas, a friend arranged for the Mole Valley housing team ring her, and that led her to LeatherHead Start. Kaylea has been here since January. She’s pleased with help LHS has given her: “This is like a five star hotel. The staff are friendly. If you have a problem you can always talk to them, things you are struggling with.” Her key worker, Jo [newsletter issue 3, spring/summer 2013], she says, “is absolutely brilliant.” And a new future opened up when she began stewarding events. She likes the work and she’d like a career in the security industry. She found a sponsor for a four week training course and, with a certificate under the Security Industry Authority training scheme, she’s qualified for better-paid work.

Until Matt (not pictured), 19, found his present work, “I looked for jobs every single day. If you do try hard enough you will get somewhere.”

He left school at 16 but, after two years at college studying carpentry, didn’t take to property renovation: “I took four months to look for a job, every day and night, sending emails…” The search led him to work as a sampling engineer for a firm of water treatment consultants. He enjoys parts of the work and not others. He’s now studying at night for the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘CSCS’ card. “I want to own my own company,” he says. For now he’s impatient to find his own place, preferably in the next month, and he’s saving for a deposit on a place to rent. Matt does have a lighter side. He’s never overdone drink or drugs and doesn’t have a lot of time for people who have, “but I have a great social life.” He’s out all weekend with friends from the local area.

Strong character finds a fresh start Jon (left) is great company. And the 38-year-old made a good living from it. After a youth spent round Essex pubs he couldn’t wait to make money in the licensed trade. Stints in London pubs led to the Conran restaurant chain, to Australia, and to marriage and a home in the US.

When that ended after seven years he returned to run a Surrey pub. But his drinking and drug-taking cost him that job and, with it, his home. After his mother threw him out he lived in a tent. Even after he’d found LeatherHead Start he was still drinking, using, and miserable. The LHS staff didn’t lecture him: “They just asked me to keep a drink diary.” Three months later, in May 2013, LHS found him a place in Beare Green. Seven months ago, he abandoned his addictions and, determined to stay clean, he cooks, plays badminton, and goes for long motor bike rides. His family ties are restored and stronger than ever. LeatherHead Start helped: “It’s a hell of a lot of support. It [gives] you a sense that it’s going to be all right. It’s genuine”. Finding work is hard. His model CV for a drinks-trade career is useless to him. But he’s a strong character: “Yes, the job market is tricky, but I know there’s help here if you need it.” He says to others in the same boat, “If I can find a way so can you.” To read Kayleigh, Matt & Jon’s full stories please visit our website:


Getting Ready for Work In January, we were awarded a grant to run a project with the aim of equipping unemployed people with the basic skills they need for work. Working with Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership, we ran three 5-week courses in IT, Maths and English as well as provided one-to-one help with job search and CV writing. We opened these courses up to the local community and had six people from outside the hostel join in the courses. For many people, the thought of stepping foot inside a classroom is very daunting. It’s great to be able to give people a way to access learning in an informal and welcoming way that will hopefully encourage them into further learning.

Fun Days Out! Our volunteer, Paul, has taken clients to the Mary Rose Musuem in Portsmouth (left) and also climbing at Craggy Island (right). One client comments: “We all thank Paul for his kindness and hope he continues these trips as they provide a great day out for us.”

Getting ready to move on

Fourth season on the allotment!

We had another workshop to prepare our clients for living independently. Guest speakers from the Mid-Surrey Mediation Service also came to talk to our clients (above right) about how they can help if they have trouble with neighbours.

We are getting ready to start the spring planting for the 4th year on our allotment. The ground has been prepped, the polytunnel fitted with a new door and the kettle is at the ready!


Lack of affordable accommodation ends support scheme Homeless people need special help to move to independent private living. In March 2013 Leatherhead Start set up the MoVE Private Rented Sector (PRS) Access Scheme to provide that vital support and advice.

point where further funding cannot be justified. Regrettably therefore no new clients are being accepted and the scheme is being wound down. However, other opportunities to source local private rented accommodation will be pursued.

The scheme helped homeless people, particularly young single people on low wages or benefits, by supporting landlords who took on more vulnerable people within the community and providing the support to make sure these tenancies were sustained.

After over 22 years working in housing, the scheme’s officer, Roy Chamberlain, is to retire. He says: “The last two years have been very challenging but very enjoyable. It is very satisfying to have been able to hopefully improve the lives of so many people by helping them find safe, Above: Roy (right) with a client outside his new home There has been no shortage affordable accommodation of client referrals. Many of those housed in those two at a time when they were facing real hardship. I am years still enjoy stable accommodation and several are pleased that ongoing support for clients and landlords now in work. But it has become increasingly difficult to find suitable properties with sympathetic landlords at of tenancies established with Bond Guarantees under realistic rents, and the success rate has dwindled to the the MoVE Scheme will continue to be provided by an experienced Support Worker at Leatherhead Start.”


New social enterprise on the horizon

Making Progress! The first jars of our picalilli and chutney were produced with the help of our volunteer, Carole. Thanks, Carloe!

If you would like to make a donation to support our work, there are 3 ways:

The idea? Simple. We will use produce from our allotment to create chutney and picalilli to sell to local independent shops in the Mole Valley area. LHS clients will be involved in every stage of the process, which will help them to build work skills, new and old, as well as give them something meaningful to be a part of. We are currently writing our business plan. Please keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts for further updates and how you can help.

*Visit our website and donate online *Write a cheque to Leatherhead Start and post to the address below *Take out a Standing Order with your bank please just call us and we will give you our details.

Seen someone you think is homeless? Government statistics say 2,400 will sleep rough tonight in England. Anyone can become homeless and sleeping rough is not only dangerous but can also have a long-term effect on an individual’s health. Many people want to help rough sleepers but don’t know how. The answer is StreetLink, a phone-line, website and mobile app which allows the public to take action and help connect rough sleepers to the local services and support available to them.

StreetLink works; in its first 12 months, public alerts to it led to more than call: 0300 500 0924 4,000 homeless being connected to local support services, with 720 helped into accommodation. It’s easy to use and just a few minutes can change someone’s life. Next time you see someone sleeping rough, call 0300 500 0914, download the mobile app or send us a message via www.


LeatherHead Start Phone: 01372 377790 Address: 3 Church Road Leatherhead Surrey KT22 8AT

For general enquires: For Manager: For the Chair of the Board: