Francis’s story

After finding himself homeless at the height of the pandemic, Francis has been housed and supported through our PLACE team

Francis’s story

Francis was in hospital undergoing an oper­ation on an infected leg when the friend he’d been staying with told him he needed to find somewhere else to live.

On leaving hospital and returning to the flat, Fran­cis found that his friend had changed the locks and he was left sitting in the road on his crutches. This was during the summer of 2020, during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and Francis had nowhere else to go.

He initially spent some time moving between dif­ferent hostels before coming into contact with our PLACE team — Pan London Accommodation & Community Engagement — who work with people who have been staying in temporary accommoda­tion and have been referred to Thames Reach by a local authority. The team helps people to access private rented accommodation across London, and provides initial support once the client has moved in.

PLACE were able to help Francis find a flat of his own, as well as helping him to furnish it, sort out bills and administrative issues, and provide further support to get him back on his feet.

‘When I first moved in here I didn’t have a bed, furniture, a washing machine, nothing,’ he says. ‘They’ve helped me get all of these things, though. I’ve got my own home now, which I’ve never really had before. Now my children can come to see me, my son comes to stay with me on weekends. That didn’t happen when I was in hostels.’

While Francis is still troubled by his leg, he’s recovered enough to work part time now, and mentally is in the best place he’s been in for a long time. His goal now is to learn a new trade.

How are Thames Reach helping people move on from street homelessness in the City of London?

Thames Reach took over the City of London outreach service in November 2020, and the collaborative work taking place in the square mile is allowing the team to support people sleeping rough in the most effective way possible. We spoke with lead manager Rowan Wyllie about this ongoing work.

How are Thames Reach helping people move on from street homelessness in the City of London?

How has the City of London outreach been going since Thames Reach took over the service in November 2020? Are there any experiences or outcomes unique to your team?

I think that it has been going really well! It has been exciting to join a team where we can really build the team from the ground up. We are fully recruited with seven members of staff, so now we can look at how best to utilise our resources. It is only a square mile but there is a lot to do!

Something that is unique to the City of London is that it is not an area where many people actually live. The residential population of the city is around 9,000 so it may not necessarily be somewhere that people have lived for a long time or have links to. With this in mind we work hard to support people back to their borough of local connection or set up new foundations in other areas.

We also enjoy many partnerships with external agencies supporting us in our outreach shifts. Weekly we go out with Doctors of the World, RAMHP (mental health assessments provided by the East London Foundation Trust), the Parkguard, Adult Social Care and there is also a new outreach psychotherapist provided by Providence Row. This amount of specialised support has been invaluable in helping people access healthcare quickly and safely, which can often be a barrier in helping them off the streets.

You’ve worked in various teams at Thames Reach before leading the City of London outreach team; does your approach differ at all to elsewhere in the organisation?

I started in Thames Reach working in the Social Impact Bond (SIB) team, working with people in Camden and Islington with complex needs. This gave me a good experience of how we can engage with people with complex needs, providing a personalised service. Especially helping those who may have experienced homelessness for a number of years and have become disenfranchised with services.

Now I am in the City, I am able to see the similarities in the approaches of the previous teams I have worked in and use them to our strengths in developing our outreach team. In the City one of the sections of our cohort are people who have been experiencing long-term street homelessness, who may find it difficult to engage with mainstream services, similar to those in the SIB cohort. We also work with those who may be new to rough sleeping or ‘transient’ through the City, and this element reminds me of some of the prevention work I was involved with in my role in the Greenwich Navigators team, working closely with external agencies to maintain engagement with services in order to access or sustain accommodation.

It is great to be at the start of the City Outreach contract and to think of how we can use not only my experiences of working in other teams, but also drawing on the strengths of the team as a whole and their experience of working in the sector. Everyone has their own background to bring to the team and it has created a very diverse group with a shared determination for the new project, which is very exciting!

Which other teams in Thames Reach are you working closely with to help people leave the streets?

It has been really helpful for the team and especially new members of staff to be around other Thames Reach outreach teams in our new office to discuss ideas and approaches. With the transient nature of people in City who may have come from other boroughs, it’s really helpful to be based in a hub of other outreach services. Even though we may be supporting someone who has crossed over to another borough, team members from those boroughs may be sitting next to one another – which can make communication much easier!

With the current need to support those who are housed in emergency accommodation, we have been doing a lot of work helping people gain employment if they are not eligible for benefits in the UK. Luckily, the Employment Academy have been supporting us greatly with these cases and we are now seeing more people we work with access employment, now that lockdown is easing, and businesses are recruiting.

As a new service to Thames Reach we are establishing links and pathways for clients to make the most of the other teams in the organisation. We are looking to actively refer people to the Private Sector Lettings team so those who are ready can access housing in the privately rented sector. With general tenancy sustainment support needed as well to make sure that the housing solutions we create are long-term, we will be also referring to the TST PRS [Private Rental Sector] teams at Thames Reach to make sure that people we work with remain supported through moving on, which is a big change to adapt to.

How do you see the service developing, and what are you looking forward to?

Despite the workload that goes in to setting up a new service, I enjoy the early stages of a project! The process of getting a team together, setting goals, and thinking about what works well and what may need some change is a welcomed challenge. Now we have the team recruited and targets set, it is now time to keep focused and moving forward.

I’m looking forward to the next few months and supporting everyone who has come in under ‘Everyone In’ and SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) over winter and helping support them into longer-term accommodation with appropriate support. I am also looking forward to the challenge of working to reduce the amount of long-term rough sleepers in City as a whole. We have had some really positive outcomes this year so far in this area. I definitely recognise and appreciate all of the hard work from various teams and professionals that came before us. This has led up to the point of people with complex needs finally accessing accommodation. I am hoping to continue with this progress and see more of the positive changes in the City cohort as a whole.

In terms of development, it seems like the City team keeps growing! We will be providing in-reach support with two dedicated support workers who will be based at the hotels where our emergency accommodation is. With more members of staff, we have more dedicated time with each individual, and therefore provide intensive support that may not always be possible for outreach services.

In our monthly street counts we have been seeing reductions in the number of people sleeping rough, so I am hoping that we will be ready to face the challenge. I am positive that we seem to be going in the right direction overall.

Area manager Sandra on Thames Reach’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group

Thames Reach’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group is an integral part of Thames Reach’s ongoing commitment to these values. Its convenor and area manager Sandra Barrett discusses her career progression and details how the group functions.

Area manager Sandra on Thames Reach’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group

Can you tell us a bit about your role and time at Thames Reach?

I joined Thames Reach as project worker, over 25 years ago, at the service now known as the Bermondsey Project. From there I worked in a range of roles across the organisation, including project leader before becoming an area manager in 2011. Since that time I have overseen a wide range of services, and currently I am responsible for Supported Housing. I am also the convenor for the organisation’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group.

How does the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group work?

The group meets quarterly, and now via Zoom. The forum is a place to share good practice and some of the challenges faced by our service users and staff in these areas. It can also highlight issues that are taken up and addressed at a higher level.  An example of operational change implemented was the use of Language Line. This came about as a result of feedback to the forum that the database of languages spoken by Thames Reach staff wasn’t as effective as it could be. Now with the introduction of Language Line, translation is available to all staff when needed. Feedback to the group has also informed our campaigning, such as highlighting the problems faced by EU nationals which brought about greater access to services for this cohort. I would like EDI to be viewed in much the same way as Health and Safety, in that everyone has a responsibility to be mindful and act where there are breaches.

Thames Reach have been vocal in the campaign for key workers and people experiencing homeless to have access to the COVID vaccine. What are your thoughts?

The local authorities we work with have made the COVID vaccine available to Thames Reach’s front line workers. Initially, like many others, I wanted to wait to take the vaccine to see how other people fare with it. However, with more information, over time my attitude has changed and I am pleased to say I had my first vaccine on Sunday. Whilst it does not give me 100% protection it gives me some comfort that in a few weeks’ time I will have some level of protection against COVID.

International Women’s Day: Poema, outreach lead manager

Poema Ivanova talks to us about her career progression and vocation to work in outreach support, as we mark her retirement after eight years with Thames Reach.

International Women’s Day: Poema, outreach lead manager

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we spoke with Poema Ivanova, lead worker at Thames Reach’s Enfield SORT (Street Outreach Team). This week marks her last at Thames Reach after eight years of service as she enters retirement. She was selected by chief executive Bill Tidnam to discuss her work, plans for the future and International Women’s Day!

Can you tell us a bit about your service, and exactly what your role is?

I have been working at Thames Reach since August 2012 in various roles, starting as a reconnection worker before moving to the wonderful team at Tower Hamlets Street Outreach Team (SORT). After 4 years there, I went on to lead Newham SORT, which then was just a team of one. A year later I laid the foundation of the well-known SAFE Connections, the greatest team, with the greatest manager! At the end of that project, I had to take another challenge, to join Enfield SORT, to help build up the new Outreach service in LB Enfield. I am proud to say that we managed to keep the rough sleeping population in the borough under good control during the pandemic; responding to referrals, picking up people from the street as soon as we hear about them. Enfield council were able to provide the necessary resources for that, and this is a huge achievement.

What personality qualities and skills does it take to be a good outreach worker?

Good outreach work is a mission, it is not just work. One needs to be dedicated to this work, dedicated to the people in need. In normal life those people are not met every day, but we are facing these cases every day, sometimes a few a day. We need to have very large hearts, to be able to contain all this struggling people’s fates and stories, but still remaining very strong and resilient, to be able to encourage people to stand back on their feet and start sometimes probably the most difficult in their life journey towards the light, towards the sun. We need to have the hope and belief in what we are doing and be able to pass it to people in desperation. The sympathy, respect, empathy – these are the personal values, which the outreach worker must have in their day-to-day work.

What have you enjoyed about working at Thames Reach?

I would say that there was no day like the last. Every new day meant new people, new stories, new lives, new challenges. There was no time to be bored. That is how the last 8 years of my life have passed by so quickly.

I will not forget my colleagues at Thames Reach – the real treasure of the company. Working in different teams has had a very positive effect on my entire life and working experience. I had the greatest chance to watch my colleagues, my line managers growing in their roles, up to the very top.

I am very grateful to my colleagues, and now friends, for an unforgettable time together!

What are your plans for retiring?

Oh, difficult question. After dreaming about this moment for the last few years, now it has actually arrived one side of me is very happy, that I won’t have to get up for the early shift, the other half of me is crying; but I also hear a whisper: what is next? I hope my health will be good enough to allow me to enjoy the life for the coming years. I have a nice hobby to entertain me, which I hope to have more time for, and more time for my favourite flowers! And of course for my family.

I would also like to use this opportunity to celebrate all women in Thames Reach with the wonderful day of 8 March, International Women’s Day! I think in Thames Reach we have some incredible women from all different parts of the world, and are one of our most valuable assets. With their never-ending optimism and hope for a better world, with their understanding and caring nature, with their readiness to fight for every single person in need, with their generous willingness to help and support others. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

 

Interview with manager James on Thames Reach’s COVID residential project

James Oladunjoye is lead manager at the Pontoon Dock Project, a temporary residential service run by Thames Reach to provide a space for people experiencing homelessness to safely isolate if they test positive for COVID19.

Interview with manager James on Thames Reach’s COVID residential project

James Oladunjoye is lead manager at the Pontoon Dock Project, a temporary residential service run by Thames Reach to provide a space for people experiencing homelessness to safely isolate if they test positive for COVID19. We spoke with him to learn more about this essential and unique project, helping people stay safe during a public health crisis.

Can you tell us a bit about your project?

The need for the hotel arose out of the pandemic; we had a very similar service running last year but this iteration opened in January, commissioned by the Greater London Authority. Sleeping on the streets, or using shared facilities, is not safe if someone needs to isolate. The Pontoon Dock Project is made up of self-contained rooms with ensuite facilities, with staff available to support with anything, including food, drink, toiletries etc. We make sure people are provided with what they needin order to isolate in a safe and comfortable way.

How do you receive referrals for the project, and what is your capacity?

We work closely with University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Find and Treat team, who are a unit within the NHS who test people who are experiencing homelessness for COVID-19. They refer those with a positive result who cannot safely isolate where they are to us, but we also get referrals from other hostels and homelessness services in London. Approximately 70% of our residents are from hostels, including those run by Thames Reach, and then around 30% are people sleeping rough or being discharged from hospital or released from prison. We are a 20-bed unit and staff team of 8, and numbers of residents fluctuate as people will only stay between one and ten nights while they isolate.

What is the clinical support like on site?

This is also provided by the Find and Treat team; clinicians and doctors are on-site regularly, whether this is to see particular residents or for generalised check-ups and advice. The Thames Reach team also provide check-ups based on doctors’ advice for each resident, such as oxygen checks. Sometimes isolating can be incredibly lonely too, so we arrange socially distant sessions to check in on residents, sometimes they just want someone to talk to. Aside from this, we also ensure that all prescriptions are collected daily and distributed to residents so their recoveries are not interrupted.

What kind of support is offered for residents after they leave?

Although it is always a short stay, no one leaves Pontoon Docks without a plan in place; for example no one has ever been left to go back on the streets once their isolation period with us has ended. As some people come from hostels, their support will continue at their place of residence, but housing will be discussed with them during their stay, and options have included homeless emergency housing with a local authority, a  hostel or the private rented sector.

Is there anything you’ve learned while working on this project that you will take forward to other Thames Reach services?

One thing that became clear right from the early days is trusting in Thames Reach policies. Initially we had people not wanting to isolate, and we had to ensure we were accommodating everyone as well as we could, including those with alcohol or substance dependencies. We have worked closely with drug and alcohol agencies to ensure those clients are supported in the safest way possible.

We had to get started up very quickly, but staff all the way up to and including management have been really helpful, really involved, always asking how they can help. It really shows how everyone cares about homelessness, rough sleeping and the challenges that come with it. Although the project is unique with its own challenges, everyone has chipped in. It’s a testament that Thames Reach as an organisation really care about what we’re doing.

Interview with Tanja, Thames Reach’s job broker helping people get back into work

Tanja Mrnjaus is Thames Reach’s job broker, based in the Employment and Skills team. We chat to her about the challenges of the job market, how she is supporting people to get back into work and her predictions for a post-lockdown London

Interview with Tanja, Thames Reach’s job broker helping people get back into work

Can you tell us a bit about your role, and your career before coming to Thames Reach?

My role as a job broker is to support clients through search, application and placement into employment. I am also building new and managing existing relationships with employers and training providers. Previous to working here I was a brand and general manager for an international fashion brand and a lecturer for Marketing and Communications in Business of Fashion. I started my career as a personal stylist and have worked with shopping giants such as Westfield and John Lewis developing and recruiting styling talent and delivering retail training programmes.

What are the biggest challenges in your role at the moment?

The biggest challenges in my role at the moment are very much influenced by the global pandemic and the effects on the economic market. Many businesses have shut their doors and certain industries have struggled to keep afloat. As a result there is an increase of people who are looking for work in an environment where there are not as many roles offered. However there is always an opportunity and I am very much motivated to ensure that people I work with are placed in sustainable employment.

What are the biggest challenges faced by those supported by the Employment and Skills (E&S) team, and how are you able to help?

The challenges faced by E&S clients are very complex and varied.  Main barriers include communication skills, lack of training, lack of experience, confidence, technology access and funds. By working with clients personally, I can tailor a plan to meet their needs in terms of receiving additional support in areas they are lacking and taking steps towards their employment goals. I support clients by coaching them through their job search and helping them navigate through resources that are available to them so they reach their full potential.

Do you have any predictions for the employment market once London comes out of a full lockdown? What advice are you giving to clients based on this?

I am very hopeful for the rise in the employment market once London comes out of full lockdown. My predictions in terms of job vacancies would be that the hospitality and hotel industries will making a big comeback, the beauty industry will boom, IT and digital technology will continue to dominate, and digital skills will be much in demand; warehouse, delivery service and construction will continue to thrive. I am also seeing a rise in local social enterprise businesses; giving back to the community will be more important than ever. Due to the mental health effects of the pandemic, mindfulness and wellbeing services will become more sought after than ever.

What are you hopeful about this year?

There will definitely be exciting opportunities this year to start fresh and with a new perspective. There are many grants to support and help rebuild the economy and the best thing we can all do is to continue to be positive and work together to make a difference to those that need it the most. This year is all about cross-referring, cross partnerships and establishing strong networks to provide an improved service and create opportunities from within.

A Day in the Life of a Thames Reach Trainee

After seven months as a trainee with Thames Reach’s programme, Laura felt confident enough to apply for a permanent role. Now working as a support worker, she looks back at her time as a trainee and outlines a typical day in the role.

A Day in the Life of a Thames Reach Trainee

Laura Mackenzie, support worker, The Waterloo Project

“The traineeship was a fantastic way to start my career in the homeless sector – you are eased into the work very gently. As a trainee, you feel like a student in the best sense. The teams I worked with were so supportive and nurturing, and they helped me grow a lot in a short time. After 7 months as a trainee, I had gained enough confidence, experience and skill to apply for a permanent job. I am now a support worker at the Waterloo Project.”

7am

“Today I am working an early shift – so I arrive at the hostel at 7am.  After making an emergency coffee, it’s time for a ‘handover’.  The previous shift run through our list of clients, letting us know who’s been seen throughout the night. Handovers are opportunities to flag any issues with clients or the building that the next shift needs to be aware of.” 

7:30am

“I do a check of the building – one of the early shift’s ‘duty tasks’. Duty tasks are routine tasks that are done around the hostel every day, mostly relating to health and safety.”

8:30am

“The hostel is quiet, and there’s nothing urgent on emails, so I take the opportunity to work on a support plan. The Waterloo Project has 19 clients – all with complex needs around areas such as mental health and substance use. Support plans take this into account, they include assessments of the client’s risks and needs, as well as relevant goals. They are quite detailed documents, but as a trainee there’s plenty of time to get to grips with them, as you only have one client.”  

9am

“I accompany my client to her 10am probation appointment. On other days I might accompany her to drug and alcohol services, court appearances and doctor’s appointments. As a trainee, there’s plenty of opportunity to see and build relationships with the many different external agencies that clients use.  Sometimes these ‘external agencies’ come to the hostel, such as our weekly nurse clinic.”

10:30am

“My client and I have a detailed ‘keywork session’ – my favourite part of being a trainee. My client and I discuss the progress on her goals and have a think about some of the things she is struggling with at the moment. As a trainee, you have time for frequent and in-depth key work sessions with your client, giving you the chance to build strong rapport and trust. Keywork sessions allow you to build essential support work skills such as empathising, effective listening and maintaining boundaries.”

11:00am

“As a trainee, I was given responsibility for the area ‘service user involvement’. Service user involvement is about encouraging clients to participate in how the service is run. This morning I am helping facilitate a residents’ meeting, where clients can share their thoughts and suggestions about the hostel.”

12am

“It is time for the ‘welfare check’ – I knock and enter each of the bedrooms to ensure clients are safe.”

12:30

Lunch break.

1pm

“Today I have an online training session on ‘Client Support and Domestic Violence.’ All trainees complete a set of Core training courses, but beyond these, there are plenty of opportunities to take on additional learning. My client is struggling with issues around domestic violence and my supervisor supported me in seeking out this specific training.”

2:30pm

“The late shift arrives, and I hand over all relevant information. On alternate Wednesdays, this is also the time we have ‘reflective practice’. This is when our team, including our psychologists, gather for an in-depth reflective discussion on one client. These meetings really show you what taking a ‘team-approach’ to challenges looks like.”

3:00pm

“Home!”

Thames Reach’s traineeship programme is open for 2021. This year’s cohort will start in May 2021, and the deadline for applications is 7 February. Click here for more information on becoming a trainee.  

Interview with Yvonne, area manager, on what it is like to work at Thames Reach

Yvonne Scott-Henry, area manager for floating support and other prevention-based services, explains the work she does and what it’s like working for us

Interview with Yvonne, area manager, on what it is like to work at Thames Reach

Yvonne Scott-Henry is area manager for floating support and other prevention-based services at Thames Reach. We chat to her as she explains her role in the organisation and how advocacy for the people we work with lies at the heart of our work.

Can you explain your role?
I’m an area manager at Thames Reach, responsible for overseeing the floating support services, including Brent Reach, and the social impact bond team, as well as our two tenancy sustainment teams (TST).

What does floating support do?
We help people get support in their own home or where accommodation has been identified for them. In addition to housing, we provide support around issues including mental health, as some people will have a range of support needs. My services are preventative, so we work with people to maintain their tenancies and make sure they feel supported. We also work with people who may not be happy in their tenancies, and having previously been street homeless may still be engaged with street life. Making sure people stay housed is our main priority and we adopt different techniques to tailor this support to the client.

How do you feel Thames Reach is different to other organisations?
For us, as a service and an organisation, it is important to be actively listening and working with people, working with their priorities in mind in a way that is inclusive and builds trust so that they can achieve their aspirations. Staff genuinely share the Thames Reach ethos, and strive to operate in a people-focused manner, communicating well with those using our services and being sensitive to different life experiences.

What has it been like working for Thames Reach?
I’ve been working with Thames Reach a long time; I started as a support worker and gradually progressed into the area manager role, which is my third or fourth management post, so I’m fully committed to Thames Reach. One of the things that initially attracted me was its reputation, the way the work is person-centred, flexible, and focused on clients’ needs. The element of establishing positive working relationships with local communities and local authorities is really important too. As an employer, Thames Reach is generally a supportive organisation; I’ve always been encouraged to undertake personal and professional development. If you say you want to develop in a particular area or develop a particular skill, managers are likely to embrace that. We challenge ourselves as professionals as well as challenging others in the sector. Our advocacy for the people we work with is also hugely important. It’s definitely one of our strengths as an organisation. 

A Day in the Life of an Assistant Support Worker

Lindsey started her traineeship with Thames Reach in 2020. A year on, she reflects on her current role as assistant support worker, and how the trainee experience helped her gain confidence in the role

A Day in the Life of an Assistant Support Worker

Lindsey Shepherd, Assistant Support Worker, Martha Jones House

“Two days are never the same at the hostel. One constant however, is that shifts always begin with a handover from the previous team. This provides an opportunity to highlight any clients who we are concerned about and may need to monitor throughout the day.

“The morning is usually focused around reminding clients of their appointments and ensuring that they are supported to attend them. Although most of our work takes place in-house, we sometimes accompany clients to probation, drug rehabilitation services and to the job centre. As a trainee, I had more time available to visit local services, including day centres and support groups, which gave me a more holistic insight into how the local authority are able to support those experiencing homelessness. A lot of our role includes liaising with other agencies to advocate on behalf of our clients, so it helps to establish a rapport with them. 

“At midday every day, we enter every room to do a welfare check, to ensure that all of our residents are safe and that the building is secure. We will also do a sweep of the local area to identify whether there are any rough sleepers and report these to the outreach team. The building has an in-house surgery, so once a week a GP and nurse from the local practice come in to provide medical assistance to our residents, reducing the barriers for them to access mainstream healthcare.

“There are normally several activity groups that run in the hostel throughout the week, which trainees take a leading role in running. For example, I helped to facilitate an arts class with a local creative group called Duckie. It was a space for clients to express how they were feeling through a range of different mediums such as: dance videos, flick-through sketchbooks and joke books. We also ran a cooking group, in which we would accompany clients to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for a dish of their choice.  

“We’re a high-needs hostel, which means many of our residents have complex support needs, including difficulties with their mental health and substance use. Much of our work is therefore focused on encouraging them to reduce their dependence on drugs and alcohol, maximising and budgeting finances, preparation for employment, increasing their living skills, encouraging a meaningful use of time and addressing physical health needs.

“As a trainee I had less clients, which meant that I had a lot more time to spend with them. Ideally, we have at least one in-depth key work session per client each week. This is a space for clients to discuss any grievances and consider how to work towards their move on. Where possible, I try to have the sessions outside of the building to reduce distractions.

“The traineeship was a gentle introduction into working in the homeless sector. I was able to shadow at many of Thames Reach’s other projects including hostels, outreach and floating support. This gave me the opportunity to develop my understanding of what services are available and to decide where my skills would best fit in before applying for a job.  My manager is really supportive and encouraged me to focus on what I’m interested in. I had expressed an interest in working with women, so she has allowed me to take the lead in this area. I have attended multi-agency meetings on prostitution, outreached sex workers on the streets and will run a women’s space once the lockdown measures have ended.

“The benefit of working in a hostel is that you can work very closely with clients within their own home and can therefore follow their development closely. It also means that you always have your team by your side. We have bi-weekly Reflective Practice sessions as a space to discuss any challenging situations we have faced and to decide a collaborative approach of how we can best support a client. Ironically, the most rewarding part of the job for me is seeing people leave. Martha Jones House is only intended to be a temporary solution to rough sleeping and prepare them for their next chapter.”

Thames Reach’s traineeship programme is open for 2021. This year’s cohort will start in May 2021, and the deadline for applications is 7 February. Click here for more information on becoming a trainee.  

Pascal’s story

Pascal first moved to London in 2008,. After years of working and calling the UK home, he needed support with his accommodation and applying for his indefinite leave to remain.

Pascal’s story

Pascal originally came to London in 2008 from Spain, where he was living after moving from Cameroon. In 2012, he lost his one-bed flat in Abbey Wood, so went back to Cameroon before later returning to the UK, working as a general operative in Leicester for two years. Pascal first needed support from Deptford Reach in 2017 after he became homeless and was staying in a night shelter. In the following years, he was able to develop connections in the community and access private rented sector accommodation, as well as receive help with Universal Credit.

As a dual citizen of Spain and Cameroon, Pascal soon had to apply for his indefinite leave to remain in the UK, so Deptford Reach referred him to Fernando in the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) team at Thames Reach. He deeply appreciates how much Fernando has helped him with multiple aspects of the application, including the language barrier as Pascal’s main language is Spanish, although generally his English is very good. The application process went well, and his indefinite leave to remain was granted. This outcome completes his work with Fernando.

His plans now are to get a good job and have his family, who are currently living in Spain, join him. In his spare time he loves to watch football and tennis, and is an avid reader of spy novels. 

Pascal says it was great to find an organisation that helped him, and the support he received has given him confidence to move on with his life. He says he wishes more people knew about the services offered at Deptford Reach and the EUSS team, so more people like him can find the right support.

This winter, we’re highlighting the work we’re doing to help people move on and live more fulfilling lives. You can find out more about our Moving On From Homelessness campaign and the services supporting people like Pascal by clicking the link here.