Thames Reach ‘highly commended’ in Homeless Link Excellence Awards

We are pleased to have our prevention work ‘highly commended’ in the Homeless Link Excellence Awards

Thames Reach ‘highly commended’ in Homeless Link Excellence Awards

The annual Homeless Link Excellence Awards celebrate the best work being done to support people experiencing homelessness.

This year the panel received over 90 entries across the four categories and an expert judging panel whittled it down to a shortlist of 21 impressive entries.

The shortlisted entries included projects supporting people who are LGBTQ+, victims of modern slavery, those leaving hospital, and needing to access adult social care, as well as innovative emergency and move-on accommodation solutions, support to get people into employment and much more. The wide range of people supported by the projects illustrates the diversity of our members across the country and how much the sector has to be proud of.

Thames Reach are proud to have been ‘highly commended’ in the Prevention into Action category, an award celebrating services and projects committed to preventing homelessness from occurring in the first place, or are preventing repeated periods of rough sleeping or homelessness from happening.

To read more about our commitment to preventing homelessness, please read our Business Plan 2022-2025, which outlines the ways in which we are working to end street homelessness by ensuring it doesn’t occur in the first place.

Hot weather advice

Rough sleeping can be incredibly dangerous in severe weather. Here is how we are helping people off the streets

Hot weather advice

The Met Office has now issued a Level 3 Heat Health Alert for London. There is a 90% probability of Heat Health criteria (32°C) being met.

All boroughs in London have been encouraged to trigger their local arrangements for ensuring the health and wellbeing of people sleeping rough during the heatwave.

Outreach teams are carrying out additional welfare checks, handing out bottled water and sun cream, in addition to assessing the needs of the individual and the standard procedure of helping people come off the streets safely into suitable accommodation.

The Mayor of London has made ‘Cool Spaces’ available to Londoners when temperatures are excessively high. Cool Spaces are areas where Londoners can take respite on hot days. Both Indoor and Outdoor Cool Spaces are available from 1 June to 15 September 2022. You can access the interactive map here, which includes water fountains and accessible indoor spaces.

If you see someone sleeping rough, please contact Streetlink who will work with our outreach teams to locate them. Download the app or call 0300 500 0914.

Please be ready to tell Streetlink:
– An exact location of where this person is rough sleeping.You can do this by using a map to pinpoint the exact location and by providing a detailed written description of the location.

– The time that you saw the person sleeping rough at the location.
– Any additional information that will help the local team find the individual sleeping rough (gender, approximate age, what the person looks like, what they are wearing).

If you think someone is in need of urgent care or is in immediate danger, please call 999.

 

Star volunteers presented with awards at Thames Reach summer event

Words from winners of our Volunteer Awards, presented in-person at our recent summer event

Star volunteers presented with awards at Thames Reach summer event

We recently hosted our annual summer event, celebrating the hard work of our volunteers in person at our Employment Academy site. Part of the event was the prizegiving of our Volunteer Awards, presented by Thames Reach Chief Executive, Bill Tidnam, and nominated by the staff who have worked with them. Here are some words from staff nominating their star volunteers, as well as some words from a few of our winners:

Samara won an award for her work in the Rapid Response outreach team. The member of staff who nominated her said:

“I’d like to nominate Samara for a volunteer award. She joined in November and since then she has been committed and reliable. She is really enthusiastic about her role and picks up 2 to 5 shifts every month and workers are really happy to be paired up with her. She shows lots of genuine interest and passion in helping people experiencing homelessness, and has inquired about extra training to improve her skills in supporting people. She has recently had database training which will be very beneficial for the shift so workers can focus on other tasks. She is good with people as well; she is kind and has a natural way of talking to people that makes them feel at ease. She is really good at communicating and is responsive, engaging through messages and e mails.

I think she deserves to win a volunteer award to show her that her work and time are much appreciated.”

Samara said: “The volunteer experience has been amazing. I loved going out to different areas and meeting people from all walks of life. Everyone’s stories and situations are different. I have had the honour to devote my time to such an amazing organisation which does so much for the community and helps people experiencing homelessness. I decided to volunteer with Thames Reach because I believe in their vision to end homelessness, and their vision aligns with my vision, and my vision is that everyone deserves a place they can call home. Not only that, but I hope to inspire the next generation to give back to the community and to help anyone that’s in need.”

Martin has been volunteering with outreach. His nominating member of staff said: “Martin has been working tirelessly since before lockdown and all through the lockdown period. He is reliable and always on time; he gives up his free time to cover 1 or sometimes 2 shifts a week and volunteers during street counts without fail. He shares his extensive knowledge of the various hidden areas of the City of London due to working in the City for many years, which has helped me & the team immensely. He has endless energy!”

Martin said: “It is truly humbling and inspirational to be able to accompany and support the Thames Reach outreach teams on shifts and see the amazing dedication, professionalism and empathetic compassion they all demonstrate when engaging with people experiencing street homelessness or those with insecure accommodation. Each individual referral is always treated with great respect and sympathetic patience, despite sometimes initial recalcitrance, and as a result one can quickly see genuine improvements in both existing clients’ & new referrals’ health and life chances. The team’s commitment through the challenges of Covid was extraordinary and clearly reflected in the encouraging decline in street count numbers; but even for those now settled in secure accommodation thanks to the team’s efforts, knowing that they can still call on their support must be a continuing great comfort and undoubtedly critical in preventing a return to the streets.”

Kelly was nominated for her work with the Croydon Housing First team. “She has worked really well with her peers, support workers and the people we work with. She has a calm and gentle persona that has helped her gain the trust of the people she works with but has also shown a great level of empathy and insight into different people’s needs and challenges they are faced with. She has co-mentored one person with her peer, and alongside him has enabled someone with multiple complex needs to feel more settled in their home. This has not only prevented them from abandoning their property, but also helped them to start feeling less isolated, take pride in their appearance and that of their flat, which she is working to make more homely. Kelly is passionate and dedicated to her learning, volunteering to shadow different teams and workers as well as dedicating her time to further training and development.”

Well done to all winners, and a huge thank you to everyone who volunteers with us. You are a vital part of our work ending street homelessness!

 

 

 

Deptford Reach wins London Homelessness Award

Deptford Reach’s work preventing homelessness in Lewisham has been recognised at the London Homelessness Awards

Deptford Reach wins London Homelessness Award

Three projects from across London have been named as winners of the prestigious London Homelessness Awards for 2022.  They will share cash prizes totalling £60,000.

The London Homelessness Awards are sponsored by London Housing Foundation, London Housing Directors, The Mayor of London, Crisis and Shelter.

We received over 30 applications for the awards and after visiting the six shortlisted projects and seeing their presentations, the judges have decided on the three top prize winners, with three other projects specially commended.

The prize winners are (in alphabetical order):

– Greenwich Winter Night Shelter
– Pathway Partnership Programme
– Thames Reach, Deptford Reach

Three further projects were particularly commended as making a special contribution to helping combat homelessness in London:

– Camden Adult Pathway Partnership (CAPP) team
– Providence Row Outreach Psychotherapy
– Riverside Street Buddies

The allocation of the prize money (first prize, £30,000, second, £20,000 and third £10,000), will be revealed at a special event at the Union Chapel on 12th October, presented by Deputy Mayor Tom Copley.

Margaret Malcolm works with the London Housing Foundation and assessed all of the applicants.  She said: “With a strong field of over 30 applicants, each of these projects did well to get to the last six and are doing excellent work.  The presentations and stories they told were very powerful.   The winners all provide high quality services to a wide range of clients and showcase just how vibrant and innovative the homelessness sector in London continues to be.”

Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive at Thames Reach, said: “We welcome the London Homelessness Award’s recognition of the Deptford Reach community project.  If we are to meet our ambition of ending street homelessness we need many more services like this, which aim to intervene to find people at risk and work with them to help them stay in accommodation.”

The three winning projects (in alphabetical order) are:

– Greenwich Winter Night Shelter: A local charity which provides emergency accommodation and support for the homeless in Greenwich. Last year, they moved away from the traditional rotating night shelter to set up a static venue. With support from over 200 volunteers, GWNS now provides single-room accommodation for nine individuals (including a women’s-only wing), 1:1 casework and advocacy, and a pet friendly drop-in day centre where anyone who is homeless or vulnerably housed can access support and faciltiies. All services have been designed by guests through focus groups to work towards breaking the cycle of homelessness.

– Pathway: Since April 2021 five London hospitals (St Georges, Croydon, St Mary’s/Imperial, the Homerton and Ealing/Northwick Park) have introduced Pathway’s model of care for homeless patients and have signed up to Pathway’s Partnership support programme. The model is based on work pioneered at UCLH in 2009. In return for an annual fee, each team receives support and training from Pathway’s core staff, access to their on-line service manual and specialist support networks.

– Thames Reach: Thames Reach’s Deptford Reach service provides advice and support to people in the community at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness, working to resolve and signpost issues such as claiming benefits, employment, mental and physical health needs and unsuitable accommodation. Deptford Reach has always had a strong reputation for casework advice that helps prevent and resolve homelessness.  An enforced temporary closure due to the first lockdown, followed by a review of the service, allowed Deptford Reach to adapt to prevent homelessness more effectively. Having existed as a day centre for many years, stigmas around homelessness have meant that there is a demand for people to access support in different locations. The team now works in seven spaces across Lewisham. As a result, Deptford Reach now works with a wider range of people, offering drop-in crisis and brief intervention work, with a capacity to resolve complex needs that prevent the loss of accommodation.

More details about the London Homelessness Awards can be found at www.lhawards.org.uk

-Ends-

Notes to editors

Thames Reach is a charity based in London, supporting people facing homelessness through prevention, intervention, and recovery. The charity specialises in helping people with complex and multiple needs, including mental health and drug and alcohol use. It manages a range of services, including street outreach, frontline hostels, day services, specialist supported housing and employment and skills schemes. Thames Reach’s mission is to assist homeless and vulnerable adults to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives. thamesreach.org.uk

For more information, please contact:

Thames Reach Communications team:

media@thamesreach.org.uk