Night Hostel News Leatherhead
3 Church Road Leatherhead Surrey KT22 8AT Telephone 01372 376508 Charity No 272817
The Leatherhead Night Hostel is a direct access short stay hostel for people who find themselves with nowhere else to live
PLACES OF CHANGE: WORK IN PROGRESS
In the Mood A motley assortment of locals assembled at the Leatherhead Institute to enjoy an evening of nostalgia with Glenn Miller’s music and other old favourites. It began with foot tapping and drumming of fingers. However, within half an hour the extroverts were singing along and dancing commenced. The agile gyrations of younger members were more than matched by the style and experience of the senior ones.
The Night Hostel project board meets monthly to progress the action plan for our redevelopment. Board members continue to visit other hostels, such as Porchlight in Canterbury, which is one of the foremost charities supporting vulnerable and homeless people in Kent. The aim is to find out how these organisations have used their Places of Change development grants, awarded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, and to learn from their examples of best practice.
About 9pm a wonderful aroma of fish and chips filled the hall. A welcome break in this sociable evening, where strangers became dancing partners, dining companions and firm friends. All moods were encompassed from Tuxedo Junction and Chattanooga Choo Choo through to In the Mood and String of Pearls. The Last Waltz came all too soon with the news that £300 had been raised for the Night Hostel, the Clubhouse and the Leatherhead Christmas festivities. The evening was the brainchild of Hilary Porter, whose unflagging enthusiasm and sheer hard slog was applauded and congratulated. In fact, between Major Glenn and Hilary, that ‘Old Black Magic’ once again wove its spell.
Inside this Issue: Workaholic lessons Marathon girl Hostel n the news Resettlement work Angela hits headlines Stalwarts retire Thank you Unilever Musical neighbours
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Planning meeting to discuss new hostel design
Our redevelopment has two aspects, not just alterations to the building, but also the service that will be run from the improved premises. ‘No matter how small a cubicle is, the important thing is that a man should be alone when he sleeps.’ George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris & London, Ch. 37 The Building Although there will be no increase in the number of clients we can accommodate, we hope to make improvements in the facilities we offer. Currently, one of the most stressful aspects of living at the hostel is the difficulty of trying to sleep when roommates are restless, talking in their sleep, or snoring. The rest and dignity afforded by the respite of a single room is very important for residents who have found themselves in need of a place at our hostel.
In spite of a lot of hard work with the architect and our landlord, Mole Valley District Council, there is no way we Resident's garden at can have single Porchlight, Canterbury rooms for all our 12 residents. Sadly, due to planning restrictions, it is impossible to achieve. The aim was to do away with shared rooms entirely but it is likely that we will still have two, in addition to eight singles. This will inevitably lead to some loss of income through the reduction in rents. However, compromises have to be made and everyone is looking forward to the improved facilities. It is hoped planning permission will be granted this summer and the building begin later this year, or early in 2010. The Service Our vision for the new service is that clients will no longer be ushered out of the hostel at 9am and left to their own devices, not to return before six. It is hoped to design a daytime programme of activities incorporating training opportunities, volunteering, support sessions and personal development through key working and therapy. In the longer term there may be scope for development of a social enterprise scheme. In all these endeavours the hostel team will be working in partnership with other organisations and individuals in the community. This is an entirely new and exciting development for the Leatherhead Night Hostel and the homeless people we serve. The challenges are considerable, and it will take a lot of very hard work to ensure the resources are in place to meet them.
HELP! WE NEED VOLUNTEERS WITH PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE FOLLOWING FIELDS: FUNDRAISING; MARKETING; HUMAN RESOURCES. Are you recently retired from business or the voluntary sector with time to fill and an interest in helping the homeless? It’s a challenging and interesting time for us and we would be very happy to hear from you if you think you have skills which might help us with our redevelopment. Please contact the hostel manager, Angela Carter on 01372 376508 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to hear more.
Lessons from a Workaholic
The Night Hostel was very fortunate to be offered a share of the proceeds of Christina Taylor’s London Marathon run on 26th April this year. Christina has lived in Ashtead now for 14 years where she attends St George’s church with her husband, Colin, and their 4 children. “I understand that ‘doing church’ is about being with people, and meeting their needs where they are,” says Christina in her Christina. “It is in marathon gear that meeting that the love of God can be expressed and recognised, such as in the work of the night hostel, and gives others opportunity to choose life.“ Having enjoyed a very special marathon journey, in 5 hours 47 minutes, Christina was very pleased to have knocked eight minutes off her time for her first attempt the previous year. “I felt honoured to be given a place in the London Marathon through the ballot, and wanted to be able to share my space so that others could benefit,” she said afterwards. “The message on my T-shirt explained why I was running. It was to offer hope in supporting opportunities to ‘Choose life’. So I felt the night hostel was a very practical and symbolic expression of such opportunities for those whom it serves." These are other charities that benefited from Christina’s run: These are other charities that benefited from Christina’s run: Rianna’s Fund - and their latest projects in India, particularly in Mumbai, in remembrance of Christina’s dad who died last year and spent time in India. The Grind - Christina’s daughter Lydia runs skate trips for young people locally, mainly young lads, who have passion and ability with BMX biking and skate boarding. Trips to skate parks around the country are organised regularly, depending on funds. For most of these young people this group and the trips provide friendship and support in tough circumstances. Peter Clark Memorial Fund – in memory of Christina’s family friend, known around the world as an actuary of integrity, who died suddenly of DVT. His fund is similar to the work of Rianna’s, and supports street children in Africa and also helps some African students to become actuaries.
Derek left school at 15, and was married and buying a house in Worcester Park at the age of 19. After a series of jobs, a variety of homes and two marriages, he is a resident at the Night Hostel. Impossible, you might think. If someone works hard then there is no way that person should end up homeless. However, as well as being a ‘workaholic’, Derek became an alcoholic at an early age. He confessed to trying all the drinks his Dad kept in the house, and more besides. Now he is diabetic, fighting depression, and with arthritic hips that prevent him from taking on the jobs that he used to be good at. By recalling his life, and visiting the times when it went wrong, Derek’s story might just help others avoid the same trap. The money made as an upholsterer gave Derek his start on the property ladder earlier than most men. Even when he retrained as a heating services engineer he was still doing well. Then he and his wife decided to move to Cornwall, to be near her family, and things changed. There was no work to start with, until he was taken on at Falmouth Docks as a pipe fitter and learnt welding. These skills took him onto the oilrigs in the North Sea. From here he went to Gweek and was involved with making barges for the Iranians. It all sounds good, but there was a culture of drinking at the boatyards, both at lunchtime and in the evenings. This started Derek’s history of drinking heavily, and when he got depressed he took alcohol to relieve the strain. As relationships deteriorated, Derek moved back to the London area and found work with BP Chemicals as a pipe fitter. His wife and two daughters remained in Cornwell and he visited them every three weeks. Eventually they came to live with him in Woodmansterne, and it might have turned out well, except for the culture of drinking at BP. The firm eventually stopped their workers lunchtime binges at the pub. However, there was nothing to prevent the determined from bringing in cans of beer. When BP moved to Kent in 1992, Derek left and found employment with Servowarm. Driving around London and feeding parking meters, in order to cover eight call-outs a day, was incredibly stressful. After many hours on the road he would head back to his next home, in Tadworth. Once there he found plenty of refurbishment work to do. To get off this treadmill, Derek got the position of a maintenance man at Kingston Hospital. Not only was there a strange system of working, with a specific time allotted for each task, but the team would take it in turns to be on call every six weeks. Having reached home after battling through commuter traffic, Derek could find himself heading straight back to the hospital. Add to this the fact that he always arrived on site early, as he had a horror of being late, he was working all hours. The end result was burnout, followed by divorce and re-hab! There followed seven years on the wagon, in which time Derek went to Nescot in Leatherhead to learn about computers. He then took an HNC course in counselling at Surrey University in Guildford and, under supervision, interviewed clients. During this time he formed a relationship with a girl of Caribbean origin, who was also being treated. However, her mood swings contributed to a break-up. Derek suffered a relapse, and required another detox, and help from Respond. The pair got back together and married in church, but she eventually left for good. This meant relinquishing the lease on the house they were living in. With no home, Derek took shelter wherever he could. He stayed at his daughter’s house, and with his first wife, before sleeping rough and then at Crawley Open House before being referred to Leatherhead. Now he is attending sessions at Respond, spending time at Pitstop, and hoping to get some accommodation of his own. He knows the Night Hostel team are working hard on his behalf. Because of his respect for the staff, and the work they are doing, he finds he is now taking more responsibility for himself.
Hostel in the News This is how the Leatherhead Advertiser broke the story about our improvement grant earlier this year. Good news for the committee and all our loyal supporters.
Chris Works at Resettlement Some 14 years ago, when Chris Thorpe began her job at the Night Hostel as Welfare/Accommodation Worker, she found a new idea was just dawning. People involved with the homeless needed to address more y Gra closely the long-term prospects, hopes and ambitions of their clients, and hel Rac not simply supply a few immediate basic needs. “Over the years my work, and indeed the hostel’s work, has evolved into taking a far more holistic approach to dealing with homelessness, and all its inherent problems,” states Chris. “No more do we simply ring another hostel, ascertain there’s a space available and wave goodbye to someone who, more likely than not, we would see again before the year was out.” Now the hostel team works hard to determine why a person is homeless. Is it sickness, learning difficulties, mental health problems or addiction issues? Maybe there are undiagnosed health issues such as autism or aspergers. Possibly our client is simply unable to get a grip on today’s frenetic society, which too often assumes that we’re all swimming with the tide when, in fact, a significant proportion of us is drowning. So, Chris believes a lifeline must be thrown in order that one, or indeed a combination of the above problems, can be addressed. Help will be required in order to access the appropriate services such as a GP, community mental health team, drugs and alcohol service, a housing options meeting with an officer at Mole Valley District Council, or help with letter writing and CVs. It can be a long, slow, and not always initially successful, haul to sort out the many problems. Then, when the appropriate housing has been found, be it supported, sheltered, specialist, private rented, local authority or housing association, the hard work begins all over again. “For a number of our residents this will be the first time they have ever held down a tenancy with all its intrinsic responsibilities,” explains Chris. “Things like utilities, service, rent, cooking, budgeting, reading and responding to correspondence, keeping appointments all require their attention. In the process they are generally moving forward, growing in confidence and hope towards a happy and independent future.” To achieve all these goals Chris feels the hostel needs to develop and expand its resettlement work. “We aim to visit and assist with any problems which may arise during the first weeks, months or, in two cases, years of taking up a tenancy. It is incredibly rewarding to see someone whom society had written off and who, in their own minds, had written themselves off, grow to trust in their own abilities, judgements and newfound skills.”
WHILE ANGELA HITS THE LOCAL HEADLINES The hostel gained useful publicity when manager, Angela Carter, featured as ‘Resident of the Week’ in a recent local publication for her invaluable contribution to helping the homeless.
Stalwarts Retire Everyone will miss our Sunday volunteers, Noel Paine and Eric Leat, now they have decided to take a well earned rest from their responsibilities. In 2006 they both received Mole Valley Volunteer Awards for their long service to the hostel. For almost 20 years they turned up regularly to take responsibility for the hostel for half a day, so that our residents could have some time indoors to rest and recuperate. They have been so faithful, reliable and gracious and we miss them greatly. We want to say an enormous ‘thank you’ to our good friends, and wish them both well.
Sunday Opening We want to keep the hostel open on Sundays. Can you help us? We have been fortunate recently with help from Fetcham Community Church, as well as several individuals, but we still need more Sunday volunteers. A brief glance at the rota reveals we are able to open on less than half of all Sundays. This means, for those weekends not covered by volunteers, the hostel is closed and our residents have to take to the streets. Our Sunday volunteers work in pairs, and the day is divided into two shifts, 10am to 2pm and 2pm to 6pm. So you can see we need four volunteers to cover each Sunday. Ideally, we would like around 18 volunteers, working once a month, to keep the hostel open every Sunday. However, because some helpers can only manage a few times a year, in reality we need a pool of around 30. As we now have 15 on our list we consider we are halfway there. All volunteers are given a full induction, and work their first shift with our Sunday Volunteer Team supervisor, Ivan Tucker, who is an experienced project worker at the hostel. We realise that Sunday is precious time for people who might be attending a church service, or spending time with family, but the hostel duties are not burdensome. Even after answering the door, and the occasional phone call, there is plenty of time to read the paper, or catch up with your e-mails whilst on duty. Just keeping the hostel open is of great benefit to our residents, who would otherwise have nowhere to go on a Sunday. If you think you might be able to help, please contact the hostel on 01372 376508. Ask for Ivan, who will tell you more about the work, and arrange to show you around the hostel.
Night Hostel Musical Neighbours for Hostel A male barbershop group, The Downsmen, have moved into Mole Valley from their previous base in Epsom. In order to celebrate finding an ideal rehearsal venue, the members decided to make a donation to their new neighbours at the Leatherhead Night Hostel. Two years ago this men’s a capella chorus had Night Hostel's Myfanwy receiving cheque from The Downsmen put on a concert in aid of Hostel funds and raised over £600. Now they have added a further £250 from the proceeds of various local sing-outs. In January The Downsmen started rehearsing every Wednesday evening in Church Road, a few doors up from the Night Hostel. “We had been looking for almost a year,” said Chairman, John Passey. “I had just about given up hope of finding somewhere suitable, when along comes this offer of the Methodist Church.” When the group realised they were so close to a charity they had supported in the past, a message, offering a gift, was sent to Hostel Committee Chairman, Myfanwy Tothill. The cheque was presented when Myfanwy dropped in to hear a rehearsal in progress. Her delighted reaction was reward enough for Musical Director, Eileen Mason, and her barbershop chorus. “ Although we already have Mole Valley members, I hope this move will give us the opportunity to recruit more male singers,” she stated. “By expanding our chorus, and our repertoire, we can be sure to entertain residents in this part of Surrey for many years to come.”
How YOU can help The Night Hostel The Hostel relies on donations from Churches and Friends Please tick applicable boxes
News Thank You Unilever
Our new washing machine being delivered
Last year Unilever moved to Leatherhead and, to celebrate their arrival in our area, merchandising teams were handing out all sorts of treats to shoppers in town. Everything from Magnum ice cream to Peperami sausages and branded tea towels was being showered on passers by. The Night Hostel received some of these freebies at the time, but this year we have gone one better. Our picture shows the delivery of a new washing machine to one of our clients. As you can imagine, it was met with tremendous appreciation. This very generous donation by Unilever, is the sort of practical giving that aids us with our ongoing resettlement work at the Leatherhead Night Hostel. It enables us to instruct our users in everyday living skills, from which they will gain in confidence and acquire an ability to cope with the running of a household. Thank you Unilever, for your support and commitment.
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OUR MISSION STATEMENT WE WILL Provide temporary accommodation to the single homeless and help find longer term homes
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WE WILL Assist in accessing healthcare and welfare benefits Postcode
This artwork for this newsletter is designed and donated by RSDesignworks and printed at cost by Summit Print Telephone 01306 870136
WE WILL Welcome all who visit and treat our residents as individual people