Interview: Volunteering with Thames Reach on placement year

We interview Beatrice, who has just finished volunteering with Croydon Reach as part of her placement year

Interview: Volunteering with Thames Reach on placement year

We spoke to Beatrice, who has been volunteering with Croydon Reach as part of her degree in social work. As her placement comes to an end, we asked her about her experience and what she has learned on her journey towards becoming a trained social worker.

Can you tell us about the work you have done on your placement?

I have been in the outreach team as an outreach support worker at Croydon Reach. It’s been a really valuable learning experience for me, as at the beginning I was learning how the team support clients, and by the beginning of this year I had my own case load. I have been supporting people with housing, helping access benefits and signposting to services. Most of the people I’ve worked with have successfully moved on, so I’m proud of the work I’ve done.

Can you tell us a bit about your working background prior to coming to Thames Reach?

I am in my second year of my social work degree and didn’t have a lot of experience before coming here. I did do some volunteering in Portugal at an organisation working with refugees, people experiencing homelessness and people in supported housing. I was teaching computer skills, but there was a much smaller client group there.

What did you learn about homelessness during your time with us?

There is this public perception about homelessness that is so limiting, but it’s not the case with people you meet as a support worker. The negative stereotypes are so unhelpful and don’t account for the journeys that people are on.

When I got the placement, I didn’t think so much about homelessness in relation studying social work, but it’s made me realise that there are all sorts of people and situations involved in homelessness, and lots of different needs. In my social work experience before Thames Reach, I had worked with one group of people with one particular set of needs, but with homelessness there are so many factors to consider.

What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering with Thames Reach?

With all these different factors in people’s lives, it means there is a wide spectrum of opportunities, especially if you want to learn about particular things or use particular skills. The team have been so great to work with, I felt really supported and included. They were really open to being asked questions too, which is great when you’re first starting out.

How do you think your placement experience will help you be a better social worker?

I’ve learned so much about empowering the people we work with, and the ethics around that. It’s so important to understand what the individual wants, not just projecting what I think is best, as their support worker. I hope to be able to support people from where they are, rather than where I, or anyone else, think they should be. Understanding people and communicating with them has been such a huge learning opportunity for me; people engaging with substance teams, for example, has allowed me to see the process for myself. The journey someone is on isn’t always a straight line, and seeing people start again, if that’s what they need to do, is all part of that.

If you, or your team, are interested in volunteering with Thames Reach, please have a look at our Volunteer page and contact VolunteerManagers@thamesreach.org.uk for more information.

Interview: How Deptford Reach is supporting the Lewisham community

Lead manager of Deptford Reach, Jordan, discusses the service’s impact towards ending street homelessness in Lewisham

Interview: How Deptford Reach is supporting the Lewisham community

Deptford Reach has been at the heart of the community in Lewisham for many years. During the early stages of the pandemic, the building had to close, but instead of ceasing services, this became an opportunity to expand beyond the building the team are ordinarily based in, to reach more people in need around the borough. Its lead manager, Jordan, discusses the essential work they do in the community.

In Deptford Reach’s current working model, how are you working with people who have been using your service for a while, and members of the wider community?  

At present we have three main areas we focus on: a rough sleepers support hub; advice and case work, and health and wellbeing. The Deptford Reach building provides space and respite for people experiencing homelessness, and there they can access advice and facilities such as showers and laundry. The health part is really important, and once a week we have visits from a dentist, nurse, GP and drug and alcohol support workers. We also help people get access to their own GP practice to help people resettle into their community.

Can you tell us about the prevention aspect of Deptford Reach and how this works?

Prevention is important, and we are always looking for new ways to get to people before homelessness occurs. As part of the advice service, we offer advice and casework in, benefits, debt, arrears, housing advice, tenancy sustainment, homelessness and other general advice. Monday to Friday we are in the building, and members of our team attend food banks across Lewisham as well. From the new year, the centre will be shut on Fridays, with staff based in the women’s sanctuary at the local 999 Club and food banks. We attend a different food bank every day of the week to provide a drop-in advice service. Expanding this service means we can engage with people who would otherwise not come to a building-based service; it definitely makes it more accessible.

Does the service change at all in winter and cold weather?

Our rough sleepers support hub is usually extended for a few more hours to make sure people have the support they need and don’t go into freezing temperatures early in the morning. There is always a bigger demand in winter with added urgency to be accommodated and higher engagement levels. As for this year, the new variant has meant that more people who had been sofa-surfing are coming to us needing advice and emergency accommodation.

As you work with people at different stages of exposure to homelessness (prevention, intervention, recovery), do you find that you are using the Hard to Reach Fund to support people’s move-on journey?

We often have a need for it, widely for people resettling and allowing people to engage, with both us and other networks in their lives. So housing items and furniture, or everyday items such as Oyster cards, phones and credit.

Looking towards 2022, what does the future hold for your work?

We are working with Thames Reach’s Employment and Skills team to offer help accessing education and employment; financial resilience; digital skills, and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to people who use our services, whether in the building or in our outreach work. When we work outside of the Deptford Reach base, the community does not lose out on services, and we are expanding our reach of people needing our help. We have a women’s group and an art group at the moment but we’re minimising activities in the building, so we have more scope to reach people elsewhere in the community in different locations. As we’re focused on prevention and sustainment, everything will be based around advice, so we can support people towards independency as much as possible in the long-term. At the moment we are collecting data to see where the needs are in the local community.

How we’re helping people off the streets in City of London

Support worker, Liam, talks about the great impact the new City of London outreach team are making in the square mile.

How we’re helping people off the streets in City of London

During winter, freezing cold temperatures make sleeping rough even more life-threatening. Whilst street homelessness is always dangerous and traumatic, there are extra statutory provisions called SWEP (Severe Weather Protocol), implemented when the ground temperature drops to zero degrees. This increases the temporary accommodation options that are available for our outreach teams to move people away from the streets, and prevent the dangers of sleeping outside in freezing temperatures. However, this will not solve the wider and ongoing causes of street homelessness. Tailored support is still required to understand, and address, the causes of an individual’s homelessness.

Liam is a support worker in our City Outreach team. He shares his experiences of helping people in the square mile once temperatures drop to dangerous levels:

“Thames Reach have been running the City Outreach service for just over a year, so we’re quite a new team but it’s really encouraging that we can help people off the streets in the City. We have outreach shifts every day, and as a team we work with new referrals ourselves, helping people get into emergency accommodation or the City assessment centre.

“With the temperature dropping significantly in recent days and weeks, and the Severe Weather Protocol (SWEP) being activated, we have been having a big push to get as many people off the streets as possible, so there’s a big positive movement in that sense. It’s good to see a lot of the people who have been entrenched on the streets for a long time being offered accommodation and support, so we’re really proud of that.

“We use the Hard to Reach Fund every day in our team; we have money to help people in the process of moving on with their lives. The most common thing we spend money on is phones so we can stay in touch with people. If someone is staying in a hostel, it’s easy to contact them but if they are on the streets it is much harder. We also provide food and shopping vouchers for people moving into accommodation; we don’t just drop them off, we make sure they are supported.

“Although we’re a new team, working with the City of London has been brilliant, we’ve been able to get people into hotels instantly with SWEP, which is great on many levels. Most of our work with people is done on the streets, which isn’t ideal; it’s so much easier to have a real conversation with someone and work on their recovery when they’re somewhere comfortable and can have a cup of tea. When we are getting people into temporary accommodation for the time being, we are able to assign them a support worker who can check in on them regularly and help them work out their next steps.”

Your donations can help us support people to come off the streets for good, and make the recovery journey tailored to the individual. 

How does cold weather affect our response to street homelessness?

Our director of operations, Catherine Parsons, discusses how we implement emergency protocol to ensure no one is left on the streets this winter

How does cold weather affect our response to street homelessness?

During winter, freezing cold temperatures make sleeping rough even more life-threatening. Whilst street homelessness is always dangerous and traumatic, there are extra statutory provisions called SWEP (Severe Weather Protocol), implemented when the ground temperature drops to zero degrees. This increases the temporary accommodation options that are available for our outreach teams to move people away from the streets, and prevent the dangers of sleeping outside in freezing temperatures. However, this will not solve the wider and ongoing causes of street homelessness. Tailored support is still required to understand, and address, the causes of an individual’s homelessness.

Our director of operations Catherine Parsons discusses this in detail:

“With COVID restrictions still in place, our commissioners have made changes to the emergency accommodation they are providing. Local authorities need to be assured that we are COVID-safe; they aren’t providing the same numbers of bed spaces, so as with all year round, prevention is key.

“Last year, several councils had bought up bed spaces in hotels, which was simpler then as tourism wasn’t happening at all. That will be happening to some extent again this year, but there are concerns about availability, as well as sustainability; for people with complex needs, helping them off the streets and into a B&B without support may not be suitable.

“There is funding in several boroughs to provide support once people have been moved into temporary accommodation, for example that’s what our Move-On team in Ealing are doing; it’s crucial that people aren’t left to go back to the streets once the temperatures rise again.

“The public health advice regarding bed spaces in these temporary locations is the same as last year, emphasising the use of lateral flow testing and housing people in ‘bubbles’. Testing is really important, and services are also encouraging and signposting to vaccinations.

“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.

“Ultimately, we work in the same way that we do year-round. It’s extra awareness and funding from not only commissioners but the public (as they are more attuned to the dangers of rough sleeping when it is freezing cold) which ensures that we can do our best work helping people off the streets.”

Deptford Reach hosts health and wellbeing day

On 12 August, Deptford Reach hosted a supportive health and wellbeing day for users of Thames Reach services

Deptford Reach hosts health and wellbeing day

On 12 August, in partnership with Lewisham council, Deptford Reach hosted a health and wellbeing day for members of the community and users of Thames Reach services. The invite was extended throughout the organisation as part of our ongoing commitment to bridging the inequality gap created by street homelessness.

While Deptford Reach is known to be a day centre hosting various activities for its visitors, since the pandemic the team have been extending their reach to ensure those in the wider community know about their resources and means of support. This has included outreach at Lewisham food banks.

The day involved drop-in services including COVID vaccinations, nurse appointments for general health checks, CGL (drug and alcohol support); Hep C, Hep B, HIV and syphilis testing with results given on the day; STI testing; advice and demonstrations for lateral flow testing, including handing out test kits on outreach; and information and advice on infection control.

It was a successful and positive event, ensuring people felt welcome and safe in Deptford Reach’s building, at the heart of the community. There will be more similar events in the future as part of the service’s focus on more outreach work. In the meantime the team facilitate regular GP and nurse appointments in the building, as well as supporting people to register with GPs in the community.

Sive O’Regan, inclusion health clinicial nurse specialist, said: “Really happy with today’s turn out for our point-of-care blood borne virus testing at Deptford Reach. A really well organised health promotion event that we thoroughly enjoyed being a part of and look forward to the next.”

Jordan McTigue, lead manager at Deptford Reach, said: “It can be difficult for people with experience of street homelessness, as well as those at risk of street homelessness, to access health services, so this is such an important day to get people engaged and get them vaccinated and protected against COVID-19, as well as providing resources and information to prevent ill health where possible.”

 

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.

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!

 

Inaugural Volunteer Hero Awards celebrate essential support to services over lockdown

Our star volunteers have been presented with their Volunteer Hero Awards to say thank you for months of dedication to helping end street homelessness

Inaugural Volunteer Hero Awards celebrate essential support to services over lockdown

This year has seen not only an unprecedented increase in demand for many of Thames Reach’s services, but also the need to adapt as quickly and effectively as possible. Volunteers across different projects have helped enormously with these efforts, and to say thank you earlier in the year we asked staff and service users to nominate their star volunteers for our inaugural Volunteer Hero Awards, marking those who have gone above and beyond to help our projects and services across London. Although social distancing guidelines meant we were not able to host a full ceremony with all winners and staff together, over the past few weeks, winners have been presented with their Volunteer Hero Awards by chief executive Bill Tidnam.

From supporting outreach services to gardening projects at a residential project, each winner was nominated by either a staff member or service user for their outstanding contribution to Thames Reach’s vision of ending street homelessness. There were twelve winners overall, this is what some of them had to say after finding out they had won:

“It is my privilege to be able to volunteer for such a dynamic charity. I am always excited to get out there working alongside fantastic staff who have such dedication and passion for the work that they do. Everyone at Thames Reach have shown me nothing but kindness and patience and that is replicated with the poor souls who they meet living on the streets. I am struggling to get my head around the fact that i was even nominated as i think that i am simply doing what most other people would do if they were given the opportunity. Each time that we get someone off of the streets feels like a great moral victory to me as it does to all of the wonderful people who i work with. I would recommend that everyone should try volunteering at least once in their lives.”
– Paul, Rapid Response Team

“For me, volunteering is a snack for the soul. It’s a way to give back to my community and contribute in my own way. The pandemic was more of an incentive for me to get out there and help out. To quote Billy Ocean, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’.”
– Manos, Rapid Response Team

“Back in March I was lucky enough to do the TRaVEL (Thames Reach Volunteering and Employment for Life) course as a learner, I thought that with PTSD and anxiety I was no longer able to help anyone let alone myself. The course rekindled my desire to encourage others to reach full potential and I was accepted to volunteer for the next TRaVEL course. The course has rewarded me immensely, not only am I gaining invaluable skills from working with Lisa and the learners but also find that this experience has changed me for the better. I want to push myself towards a career that involves helping others. This experience has opened my heart. It was an honour to be awarded one of the Volunteer Hero awards and the recognition really humbled me.

“I have learned that job satisfaction is more than money. To be given this opportunity to help in a time of crisis has made me realise there is no lockdown on hope.”
– Joe, TRaVEL

A selection of nomination comments from staff and service users:

“Faye has been with us since 2019 and has been a fantastic volunteer throughout. She is consistent, committed and is always willing to be flexible even when we have had to make last minute changes. Faye was fantastic during the pandemic and recently supported Jamie [Lead Manager, Rapid Response Team] in explaining the role of volunteers within our team at a volunteer Streetlink event. She was particularly good at explaining the realities of outreach on the ground and this is a testament to her sound communication skills and empathy. She is a perfect volunteer!”
– Nomination for Faye, Rapid Response Team

“During the pandemic, often we were short staffed and Vicar Rob stepped up many times so I could complete early shifts and day shifts. It was an eerie and scary time, yet he remained calm and professional and never once let me down in sometimes manic situations. All the services you take for granted i.e coffee shops, cafes and loos (!) were all shut down and his church St Barnabus became my beacon of light.”
– Nomination for Vicar Rob, Newham SORT

“During lockdown Clare continued to make weekly contact with her clients and support them via the phone; she was keen to remain in contact with them and support the SI [Social Inclusion] service during these very difficult times. She is consistent, extremely enthusiastic, reliable, approachable, friendly, understanding, compassionate and selfless and has created invaluable bonds with her clients. I have received great feedback about Clare from her clients; they look forward to her visiting and calling them, she helps them feel motivated and focused and often gives purpose to their week. She always has a non-judgmental attitude and accepts them for who they are.

“One of her clients has progressed hugely, which is down to the support she has received from Clare; they now have a small support network they didn’t have before and get out for weekly walks with a group which she would never have considered before.”
– Nomination for Clare, Social Inclusion Project in the Tenancy Sustainment Team 

How we help non-UK nationals who are sleeping rough

51% of people sleeping rough across London are non-UK nationals

How we help non-UK nationals who are sleeping rough

Thames Reach provides a range of outreach services to people sleeping rough in London and Surrey. We know that sleeping rough is damaging and dangerous and the purpose of our outreach services is to provide these people with a route off the streets.

In the year 2018/19 the Greater London Authority CHAIN database recorded around 51% of people sleeping rough across London as being nationals of a state other than the UK.  This group does not have access to many of the accommodation and support options that are open to UK nationals and, as a result, they tend to spend longer sleeping rough and are more likely to die on the streets.

Establishing immigration status means that people can then establish entitlement to support.  Our outreach staff are not qualified to provide immigration advice and where we are working with people with unclear immigration status, we will encourage them to seek appropriate independent advice from advisers and organisations who are approved by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), and who will ensure that they fully understand and consent to any necessary information sharing.  This means that we do not share personal information with the Home Office, but instead refer to appropriate agencies for specialist advice and support.

We believe that people sleeping rough should be entitled to the protection of society, regardless of their nationality or immigration status, and we will continue to work actively with local authority services (such as safeguarding and child protection), and other statutory agencies where this is justified by the risk to the individual, other people sleeping rough, members of the public or staff.

New City of London outreach service launches

Thames Reach’s City of London outreach service will provide personalised support for people experiencing street homelessness in the Square Mile

New City of London outreach service launches

Today, Monday 2 November, is the official launch of Thames Reach’s new outreach service in the City of London, providing direct support for people rough sleeping in the borough.

This new outreach team will work across the City every night of the week, checking new reports of rough sleeping on the day they are received, and developing personalised, long-term support plans with people who have been sleeping rough for long periods to help them off the streets for good. This will include helping people with different needs into accommodation where they can receive the appropriate level of support to help them lead fulfilling lives.

Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive, said: “Working with people sleeping on the streets to resolve their homelessness, so that they can recover and play a full part in society, has been at the centre of what we do at Thames Reach since we started in 1985. These are difficult times, but we are looking forward to working with everyone in the City of London to make a real difference to the misery of rough sleeping.”

Marianne Fredericks, Member of the Court of Common Council and Chairman of the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Sub-Committee, says: “As chairman of the Homelessness & Rough Sleeping Sub Committee, I am delighted to welcome Thames Reach as our new outreach service provider. With their extensive experience working with several London councils and the Greater London Authority, Thames Reach is committed to supporting the City of London to reduce homelessness, with a special emphasis on reaching our most vulnerable long-term rough sleepers.”

At Thames Reach, we are looking forward to working further towards our vision of ending street homelessness by expanding upon our 35 years’ experience delivering services to homeless people. Currently, we employ approximately 400 staff and run services in and around Greater London, including: Local authority street outreach teams in Croydon, Newham, Lambeth and Hackney; a rapid response to rough sleeping service covering 24 boroughs; a range of hostels, each sleeping up to 50 people; supported housing and long-term tenancy sustainment for people who have previously slept rough in 16 London boroughs, including Tower Hamlets and Westminster.