Our response to the Mayoral Election result

We welcome Mayor Khan’s re-election and look forward to continuing our work with him and the GLA to end homelessness in London by 2030

Our response to the Mayoral Election result

We congratulate Mayor Sadiq Khan on his re-election, and as a leading agency working with people affected by rough sleeping in London, we’re eager to continue working with him in his commitment to end street homelessness in the Capital by 2030.

This is not the first time we have heard promises of this type, but Thames Reach is determined to work with the Mayor and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to ensure that this time it becomes a reality.

The rough sleeping services currently commissioned by the GLA, as well as boroughs across London, have a significant role to play. However, achieving this goal will require more affordable housing coupled with effective support to prevent and help people recover from the trauma of rough sleeping.

Latest CHAIN Quarterly Report reveals persistent high numbers of rough sleeping in London

Persistent rise in individuals deemed to be ‘living on the streets’ underscores the severity of rough sleeping crisis.

Latest CHAIN Quarterly Report reveals persistent high numbers of rough sleeping in London

The latest findings from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) Quarterly Report for Q4, covering January to March 2024, reveal a concerning trend in rough sleeping numbers in London.

Compiled from data collected by outreach teams across the capital, the report reveals that a total of 4,118 individuals were recorded sleeping rough during this period. While this is a reduction against the previous quarter’s total of 4389,  this marks a significant 33% increase compared to the same period in 2023. Moreover, the number of new rough sleepers recorded during this period was 37% higher than in the previous year.

It is particularly troubling that the number of people deemed to be ‘living on the streets’* has increased by a third, emphasising a troubling trend of people spending longer periods without stable accommodation.

Chantelle Gardner, Project Manager at Thames Reach’s Lambeth Rough Sleeper Outreach Team, expressed concern over the surge. “During the last two quarters, our Living on the Streets (LOS) worker reported a definitive increase in workload and complexity of the individuals they were working with. Substance misuse and systemic barriers to support services have all contributed to this increase”, she stated.

During January to March 2024, there were 511 people recorded as living on the streets, with 68 of them new to rough sleeping in London and remaining on the streets during the period. This compares to 376 people during the same quarter the previous year.

The report also notes a declining proportion of European nationals sleeping rough over the last two quarters compared to the previous ones. This has been accompanied by a surge in people from other nationalities, emphasising the need for a multifaceted approach to tackling homelessness in London.

Thames Reach’s outreach teams are dedicated to addressing the root causes of rough sleeping and providing essential support to individuals living on the streets. Together, we are actively working to define and implement effective measures to address this concerning trend.

For those interested in exploring the full report, it can be accessed here: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/chain-reports

  • Living on the Streets is defined as: Those who have had a high number of contacts over 3 weeks or more which suggests they are living on the street

Southwark Council sign London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

Southwark Council reaffirmed its commitment to ending rough sleeping, as a senior council figure signed the Charter to End Rough Sleeping.

Southwark Council sign London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

Cllr Helen Dennis, Cabinet Member for New Homes, met with Thames Reach Chief Executive Bill Tidnam as she signed the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping on behalf of Southwark Council. Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, was also in attendance.

The Charter, which Thames Reach wholeheartedly supports, aims to unite individuals, businesses, faith groups, charities, and public bodies in the shared mission to eliminate rough sleeping in our city. It represents a public commitment, a pledge to strengthen partnerships, and an opportunity for diverse communities to actively contribute to a solution.

Quotes from those attending

 

Cllr Helen Dennis, Southwark’s Cabinet Member for New Homes and Sustainable Development, said:

“I’m proud to be here today with Thames Reach to make this incredibly important pledge to end homelessness and rough sleeping in our borough. Rough sleeping is a dangerous, isolating experience and should have no place in a modern, wealthy city. We’re determined to end it in our borough and to work together with our network of partners to support those who are homeless or vulnerable into a safe, secure home.”

Bill Tidnam, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said:

“Local authorities like Southwark are in the forefront of the effort to prevent homelessness, and to make sure that no-one need sleep on the streets.  We recognise that this isn’t always easy in the current environment and we welcome Cllr Dennis’ signing of the Charter and the clear commitment this makes on behalf of the borough to work towards ending rough sleeping.”

The charter

By signing the Charter, individuals, businesses, and organisations make a real impact. It keeps the issue in the spotlight, showing policymakers that many care about ending rough sleeping in London.

Whether you’ve been a committed advocate or are new to the cause, your support goes a long way. Visit the Charter website to sign up, make a pledge, donate, or volunteer. Every small action adds up to the collective effort to end rough sleeping in London.

Royal Greenwich sign London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

The Royal Borough of Greenwich reaffirmed its commitment to ending rough sleeping this week, as senior council figures signed the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping.

Royal Greenwich sign London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

The Royal Borough of Greenwich reaffirmed its commitment to ending rough sleeping this week, as senior council figures signed the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping.

Council Leader, Cllr Anthony Okereke, and Cllr Pat Slattery, Cabinet Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Homelessness, met with Thames Reach Chief Executive Bill Tidnam as they signed the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping on behalf of the Royal Borough of Greenwich at Woolwich Town Hall.

The Charter, which Thames Reach wholeheartedly supports, aims to unite individuals, businesses, faith groups, charities, and public bodies in the shared mission to eliminate rough sleeping in our city. It represents a public commitment, a pledge to strengthen partnerships, and an opportunity for diverse communities to actively contribute to a solution.

Quotes from those attending

Bill Tidnam, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said: “Rough sleeping is the most extreme manifestation of the housing crisis in London.  The Royal Borough of Greenwich has a clear commitment to working to end rough sleeping in the borough, with a range of services aimed at prevention, intervention and recovery.  It’s great to see real leadership on this issue from the Leader, Anthony Okereke, and Councillor Pat Slattery, as they join the Mayor in signing the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping.

Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Council, said: “I am incredibly proud to be able to sign the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping with our Cabinet Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Homelessness, on behalf of Royal Greenwich. It is vitally important that we come together with partners and as a community to develop and deliver solutions to end rough sleeping for good and ensure that everyone has a roof over their heads.”

Cllr Pat Slattery, Cabinet Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Homelessness, said: “Many people who sleep rough can face fear, loneliness and hunger and we are determined to do everything we can to end it here in Greenwich, which is why the Leader and I are delighted to have signed the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping.

“As a Council we are already at the forefront in London of providing emergency support to rough sleepers during severe cold weather spells and our Housing Inclusion Service works tirelessly to offer much-needed longer-term support – including permanent placements – to help many of them rebuild their lives and stay off the streets permanently”.

The charter

By signing the Charter, individuals, businesses, and organisations make a real impact. It keeps the issue in the spotlight, showing policymakers that many care about ending rough sleeping in London.

Whether you’ve been a committed advocate or are new to the cause, your support goes a long way. Visit the Charter website to sign up, make a pledge, donate, or volunteer. Every small action adds up to the collective effort to end rough sleeping in London.

Ending rough sleeping in London

What Thames Reach is doing to help end rough sleeping

Ending rough sleeping in London

Last year, 11,018 people slept rough on the streets of London. Shockingly, the numbers are on the rise with a staggering 250% increase in rough sleeping in the past decade.  

Sleeping rough is a demeaning, damaging and often dangerous experience. In fact, it’s so harmful that a person who sleeps rough has an average age at death of just 44 years. 

The challenges of outreach

Most people would assume that if you were homeless and had a chance to leave behind life on the streets, you would jump at it. But homelessness is a complex issue. Many people find it hard to trust others as they’ve been let down by family, friends or institutions. Many have endured physical or mental abuse, making it even harder to accept help. Our outreach teams understand these challenges, and the importance of building trusting relationships before an individual feels able to accept support.  

What Thames Reach is doing to help end rough sleeping

Our outreach teams are on the frontlines, working tirelessly across London 365 days a year. We comb the city, searching for people as they are bedding down on the streets at night and waking up early in the morning. It is our aim to bring people inside, to a place of safety. 

Last year we helped 1,240 people get off the streets of London and helped begin this journey for many more. 

How you can help

The more hours we are out on the streets, the more people we see, the more lives we save. Please donate whatever you can and help us end rough sleeping in London.

Donate now

What do outreach workers do?

Our outreach workers help people who are homeless to get off the streets

What do outreach workers do?

Our outreach workers help people who are homeless to get off the streets. They are out every night of the year, helping people find accommodation, access healthcare, and other services they might need, such as benefit advice. 

Getting a roof over someone’s head is just the first step

Homelessness is a systemic and political failure. We find people who have fallen out of a broken system and we’re trying to put them back in. 

Once a person becomes homeless, they can become trapped and it’s difficult to escape as they need support to help navigate the system. 

At Thames Reach, we focus on the person as an individual – not just a sleeping bag in a doorway. Getting a roof over someone’s head is just the first step; our job is to help people feel human again and get them back into the system. In order to do that, we have to build trust with an individual and that can take time. 

Our support is tailored to the individual. For one person that might mean helping them fill in forms, for another it might mean going with them to an appointment. 

Giving hope and a roadmap to a way out

As well as practical advice and support, we give hope to the people we support. Many people who have been homeless feel hopeless. Our job is to give them a credible roadmap to feeling hopeful again. Something as simple as taking someone to have a haircut can help make them feel human again, and hopeful that their situation can improve.  

We never give up

Once we have made contact with an individual, we stay in touch with them until they are no longer rough sleeping. We often get told about people sleeping rough in certain locations, as if no one knows about them or is doing anything, but we do know nearly all of these people and are doing something about it. Not everyone feels ready to stop rough sleeping. It takes time for them to build trust with us, especially if they’ve been failed by systems or institutions in the past. 

Volunteer for us

Our volunteers work alongside our outreach workers to help find and engage people sleeping rough. If you are interested in volunteering for us and can commit to at least one night a month, then get in touch for more information.

Find out more about volunteering

 

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Update

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has activated the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for the first time this winter

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Update

This week, 27 November – 1 December, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan activated the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for the first time this winter, instructing councils across the capital to provide extra shelter for people sleeping rough. This decision comes as temperatures dropped below zero degrees, posing increased risks to those sleeping rough on the streets.

In response, our outreach teams have been actively working to ensure that everyone has a place to stay away from the freezing temperatures. 

“We encourage members of the public to make referrals of anyone they see sleeping rough to Streetlink, who contact our outreach teams directly and quickly. During SWEP we put out additional outreach shifts, so that anticipated increased demand can be met.”  

– Thames Reach Director of Services

As we navigate through the winter, we will continue to find the fastest routes away from the streets for the people we support, prioritising safety during extreme weather conditions. 

It is important to recognise that, while SWEP provides a vital immediate response to help those sleeping rough, it does not address the root causes of rough sleeping. A more comprehensive approach is required, involving tailored support and assistance to address the complex issues individuals sleeping on the street face. 

Learn more about the projects and services run by Thames Reach helping to end rough sleeping in London: https://thamesreach.org.uk/what-we-do/ 

 

Peer Mentor Croydon

Act as a peer mentor for our people making use of our housing services in Croydon

ROLE PROFILE

Role Title: Peer Mentor

Location: Croydon

About Thames Reach

Thames Reach is a charity based in London, specialising in helping people with complex and multiple needs, including those associated with poor mental health and substance misuse. We manage a range of services, including street outreach, frontline hostels, day services, specialist supported housing and employment and skills schemes. Last year we helped more than 10,000 people.

Purpose of the role

Croydon Housing First helps people with a history of sleeping rough to settle into their own accommodation, offering immediate, specialist support to make sure people don’t return to the streets, and instead move effectively towards recovery and independent living.

The project provides 20 people with their own flat, all supported by a Thames Reach key worker who helps the tenant to access the right services to meet their needs, be it related to health, skills, benefits or employment.

Thames Reach staff also help tenants to source furniture, organise bills, and create a home environment in which they feel secure and comfortable.

What you will be doing

In this role, you will be supporting us with the following tasks:

  • To provide information, support and encouragement to a mentee, leading and guiding by example in a one-to-one or group environment
  • Adopt a person-centered holistic approach to enable your mentee to express their needs and aspirations and support them formulate a suitable action plan to enable them to achieve those
  • Develop and maintain an up to date knowledge of local services to enable you to advise and signpost mentees
  • Assist the mentee in their educational and employment aspirations and acquiring new skills
  • Update mentee records including new action agreed and achievements
  • Provide some feedback on your observations on progresses made (provide affirmation) and areas they may need to develop further to their achieve goals.
  • Review and celebrate all achievements throughout relationship

When would you be needed and where would you be based

We expect volunteers to commit for at least six months with the requirement of 1-2 days a week. Once we have received your application, we will meet with you informally and give you more information on the location and time you will need to commit to the role.

What you can gain from this volunteering role

  • Be able to use your skills, knowledge, and life experience to benefit others
  • Experience, training, and skills that you can highlight on your CV and in job interviews
  • Professional references after 3 months volunteering
  • Mentoring and support from our Employment and Skills team
  • Better physical and mental health – studies show that volunteers live longer and experience lower levels of stress and depression.

Training and support offered

  • A role specific induction so that you understand the role well
  • Regular support and supervision from the team to discuss how your volunteering is going and what other opportunities and training may be available to you
  • Online or face-to-face instructor led training and e-learning modules to prepare you for your voluntary role
  • Access to a range of additional e-learning courses as well as local opportunities for your personal and professional development
  • Support from staff and peer support from fellow volunteers
  • Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

What we are looking for

  • Good interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, and motivation
  • Ability to listen and be empathetic to build rapport with clients
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Willingness to learn and develop within the role
  • Motivation to support disadvantaged and vulnerable people
  • The physical ability to work on the streets (there can be a lot of walking involved)
  • Awareness and understanding of the need for professional boundaries and confidentiality
  • To have the ability to follow Health and Safety regulations, Equal Opportunities and Diversity policy.
  • We specifically need people with lived experience of homelessness.

Minimum age: 18

Safer recruitment

Thames Reach undertakes a systematic approach and utmost care at every step of the process of volunteer recruitment, selection, and retention to ensure that those recruited are suitable and appropriate. We take measures to make volunteering at Thames Reach a positive and safe experience.

Are references required: Yes. We will ask for two references, this can be former employers or people that know you well (other than relatives).

Is there criminal record check required: Yes

How can I apply? Complete our online application form or contact us at volunteer@thamesreach.org.uk.

Apply today

Become a Thames Reach Trustee

Use your expertise to help us end street homelessness

Become a Thames Reach Trustee

Thames Reach Group (Thames Reach Charity and Thames Reach Housing) are looking for new members of our two Boards of Trustees. As well as a commitment to ending street homelessness, and the ability to provide strategic oversight for the organisation, we are hoping to recruit members with specific skills in one or more of the following areas:

  • Services for people affected by rough sleeping
  • Health
  • Housing association compliance

This is an opportunity to be part of an organisation with an excellent reputation for delivering high quality services, and which is serious about working to end street homelessness.

Stephen Howard, Chair of the Thames Reach Board of Trustees, says: ‘Thames Reach is an organisation making a real and practical difference to people affected by homelessness. By joining as a Trustee, you can use your skills and experience to bring us closer to a society where street homelessness is ended and nobody need sleep rough on the streets.’

To speak to us about becoming a Thames Reach Trustee, please contact boardmembership@thamesreach.org.uk

For more information about the roles, please visit our list of current volunteering opportunities.

Board Member – Thames Reach Charity

If you are interested in becoming a Thames Reach board member, contact us at boardmembership@thamesreach.org.uk to find out more.

If you are interested in becoming a Thames Reach board member, contact us at boardmembership@thamesreach.org.uk to find out more.

Thames Reach is a leading London-based charity with a particular focus on rough sleeping, and helping people who are, have been, or are at risk of rough sleeping to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives. The charity provides innovative services aimed at preventing rough sleeping, intervening where people are sleeping rough, and helping people to recover from the impact of life on the streets. As well as street outreach work, our services include tenancy support, emergency shelters, day services, hostels and accommodation, and help with health and employment. We work across London and in Surrey.

Thames Reach is a strong organisation that is growing in response to need. Our services are rooted in our understanding of the issues surrounding street homelessness, and we use this understanding to influence decision making at a local, regional, and national level. We have an excellent reputation for effective service delivery, working with people who may have very high levels of need, and using our experience of delivering services to develop and improve our approach. The majority of our services are delivered to local and regional authorities on a contract basis and we understand that our continued effectiveness requires us to sustain and develop our financial viability; and to retain and grow our excellent employees and volunteers.

We have just over 400 employees and around 200 volunteers, and our organisational turnover is around £25 million per annum.

We have an effective and long-standing non-executive Board with a wealth of relevant experience in both the public and commercial sectors. They provide valuable support to the Executive team, as well as attending around five Board meetings every year, sitting on one of the three Board sub-committees (Finance, Audit and Fundraising; Services; Governance and People) that meet around four times a year. Board members are also asked to participate in an annual away day, usually in the autumn, with separate preparatory visits to our services.

We are now looking for up to two new members. As well as an interest in and commitment to ending street homelessness as a Board member and the ability and interest in providing strategic oversight for the organisation, we are hoping to recruit members with specific skills in the following areas:

Legal knowledge

We are looking for candidates with up to date knowledge of the law and its application in our context.  As well as the delivery of our services, this could include knowledge of property or employment law, or charity and contract law as it applies to our commitments.

Governance/Company Secretary knowledge

We are also looking for board members with an interest in and knowledge of charity governance, to support the board to understand and comply with our regulatory commitments.

Thames Reach is committed to achieving a diversity that reflects the communities we serve. We value, respect, and celebrate diversity. We welcome and encourage applicants from all sections of the community regardless of their history of homelessness, sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, or religious belief. We particularly welcome applicants who may have experience of homelessness and/or of using services that support people with complex support needs.

If you are interested in becoming a Thames Reach Board member and think that you might have the skills that we need, contact us at boardmembership@thamesreach.org.uk to find out more.

Closing date: Sunday 15 October 2023