New rough sleeping assessment centre opens in Square Mile

The Square Mile-based residential service opened on March 13 and offers 14 short-stay beds to support individuals rough sleeping in the area.

New rough sleeping assessment centre opens in Square Mile

In collaboration with the City of London Corporation, we are pleased to announce the opening of a state-of-the-art Rough Sleeping Assessment Centre in the heart of the Square Mile. This residential service, operated by Thames Reach, marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to end rough sleeping in the City of London.

Funded by the City of London Corporation, the centre provides 14 short-stay beds to rough sleepers, offering a safe and supportive environment for individuals with complex needs. Our dedicated team will deliver round-the-clock support, 365 days a year, working closely with health and social care providers to establish pathways away from rough sleeping and into permanent accommodation.

Situated within the grounds of the Church of Holy Sepulchre on Snow Hill Court, the assessment centre occupies a former school building that has been meticulously refurbished with the specific needs of the individuals we support in mind.

Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive at Thames Reach, expressed his enthusiasm for the new facility, stating, “The opening of this assessment centre represents a significant step forward in our mission to provide tangible support to those experiencing homelessness in the City. By collaborating closely with the City of London Corporation, we can offer individuals sleeping rough a credible local solution, accelerating the process of assessment and intervention.”

In addition to the new assessment centre, Thames Reach works tirelessly alongside the City Corporation to address homelessness and rough sleeping in the Square Mile. Through commissioned outreach services, we strive to identify and support individuals who are rough sleeping, ensuring that they don’t have to stay more than one night on the streets.

Floating support service now open to Hounslow residents

Designed to help people at risk of losing their independence, the service is now accepting general referrals.

Floating support service now open to Hounslow residents

Floating support involves a named keyworker building a relationship with a vulnerable resident that will help them to learn to live an independent life. Its aim is to help people avoid hospital admissions, having to rely on social care services, or end up in the criminal justice system.

Run by Thames Reach, the Hounslow Reach service is available to all Hounslow residents aged 18 and over who are vulnerable because they have additional needs, such as mental or physical health conditions or a learning disability.

London Borough of Hounslow commissioned Thames Reach to run this service after a competitive tendering process.

You can find out if the service could help you by contacting the Targeted Support Team within Community Solutions at or calling 020 8583 2211. The team will get in touch with you to understand the support you need. People can also visit Hounslow Reach to find out more about the service at Hounslow’s Community Hubs at the following times:

– Mondays 10am – 1pm: Hounslow House, Ground floor, TW3 3EB

– Tuesdays 2pm – 5pm: Feltham Assembly Hall, Hounslow Road, TW14 9DN

– Thursdays 1pm – 4pm: Feltham Library, High Street, TW13 4GU.

Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive at Thames Reach, said: “At Thames Reach, we are very conscious of the vital role that floating support can play in helping people fulfil their potential to live independent lives and participate fully in society. We are grateful to Hounslow for giving us the opportunity to bring our 25 years of experience in this work to the borough and we look forward to working with local communities to build a service that meets their needs.

Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Transformation, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Thames Reach to our family of commissioned services in Hounslow. To have such a fantastic organisation offering support to Hounslow residents fills me with confidence that first-rate support will be available to anyone who needs it.

“The team is already doing fantastic work across the borough and I look forward to working with them further on the excellent Hounslow Reach project. Their presence will make such a difference to our most vulnerable residents’ wellbeing.”

Thames Reach’s Response to the Latest CHAIN Quarterly Report

The latest quarterly report from the CHAIN database has been released, painting a concerning picture of the surge in rough sleeping across London.

Thames Reach’s Response to the Latest CHAIN Quarterly Report

Released on 31 January, the CHAIN Quarterly Report for rough sleeping in London (October-December 2023) exposes a concerning reality: outreach teams recorded 4389 individuals sleeping rough during this period, rising 8% from the previous quarter and marking a significant 23% increase from the same timeframe in 2022. 

Other key statistics are as follows: 

– 2,283 people were recorded as sleeping rough for the first time. This is the second highest quarterly figure ever reported and represents a huge annual increase of 34% and a 9% increase on the previous quarter. 

– The number of people classed as ‘living on the streets’ was at its highest ever quarterly level, at 560, having grown by 24% compared to the same period last year. 

– The percentage of people from outside the UK found rough sleeping in this period was higher than in the previous quarter. 

These findings reinforce the growing need for outreach teams that are well-equipped to engage with both new rough sleepers and those already living on the streets.  

Furthermore, outreach teams need access to accommodation that can effectively support individuals with diverse needs, particularly those from outside the UK. The City and Lambeth Assessment Centres, operated by Thames Reach, play a crucial role in this regard, serving as initial points of support for those transitioning off the streets. 

Focusing on prevention is also pivotal to understanding why people are spending at least one night on the streets and how this can be avoided. Hounslow Reach, a new prevention service delivered by Thames Reach in the London Borough of Hounslow, exemplifies important prevention measures such as providing advice and support to individuals at risk of losing their homes. 

At Thames Reach, we are committed to continue working with local authorities, the GLA, and fellow charities to implement effective solutions and prevent further escalation of this crisis.  

Our Director of Services, Kristian Draper, notes “The increasing number of people rough sleeping is a cause for concern. We’re also noticing shifts in the patterns of rough sleeping, making it crucial for us, as a sector, to ensure that our resources are directed to where they are most needed. This involves providing effective services for those on the streets and collaborating to offer quick alternatives to help them move away from rough sleeping. 

“At the same time, we must use this and other data to come up with innovative solutions and allocate resources to prevent people from needing to sleep rough and support them in quickly and permanently leaving homelessness behind.” 

Read this and other CHAIN reports here.

Assessment Reports from the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel

The Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel is a collaboration of leading experts from local government and homelessness charities

Assessment Reports from the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel

We’re pleased to share the assessment reports produced by the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel—a collaboration of leading experts from local government and homelessness charities, working together to scrutinise, support, and challenge progress on the Government’s Ending Rough Sleeping for Good Strategy.

Thames Reach led the recovery and intervention sub-group alongside Housing Justice, contributing insights on achievements and areas that still require attention. Read the full report at

The other sub-groups focused on prevention and transparent, joined-up systems. For a comprehensive view of progress and ongoing efforts in each of these areas, visit the links below:

Read the Thames Reach Annual Review 2022-23

We’re delighted to publish a review of the work we’ve been doing over 2022-23

Read the Thames Reach Annual Review 2022-23

The Thames Reach Annual Review 2022-23 is now available to read. The document details how we’ve been helping people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in London, between April 2022 and March 2023. The review looks at the positive impact our work has had on the lives of people using our services, as well as providing information on approaches we’ve developed to better support vulnerable people.

This year’s review, with introductions by Chair of the Board Stephen Howard and Chief Executive Bill Tidnam, features case studies and interviews with staff members, volunteers, and with the people using our services.

For all this and more, take a look at the Thames Reach Annual Review 2022-23.

What is it like to do a student placement with Thames Reach?

Maja discusses what she has learned during her social work student placement

What is it like to do a student placement with Thames Reach?

“During the pandemic I did some work at a food bank in Camberwell, and while volunteering I realised that I wanted to shift my career towards helping people. I was walking past Thames Reach’s Camberwell office all the time, so knew where they were, and decided to do some more research to find out the kind of support that they offer people. After my time at the food bank, I had started my degree in social work, so for my placement I applied with Thames Reach, and was told that I might be a good fit for the TST* [Tenancy Sustainment Team].”

A day in the life of a social work placement

“I would always start the day before, preparing for the next morning’s visits. As a volunteer, I didn’t have my own caseload, but I assisted a support worker in the team, so would be making to visits to people across London, in the form of welfare checks, or other things they might need. I would organise this in such a way that manages my time well, for instance I would try to get to see everyone living in South West London in one day. Usually, my day consisted of visits in the morning, then catching up with admin in the afternoon, either in the office or at home. Flexibility is key for the role, as sometimes visits don’t go exactly to plan, and I might be needed to help out with other issues during welfare checks. For example, I might spend an hour on the phone to the gas company for someone we support, other times I’ll be told that they are fine, and it’s only a short visit! If things don’t go to plan, it can be a bit of a challenge, but there have been times when I’m doing my admin later on and am actually able to identify the progress someone is making.

“The element I’ve enjoyed the most has been meeting the people Thames Reach work with. I spent the early part of my placement observing support workers and the reality of homelessness; it has been so inspiring to see how the academic work I’ve been doing for my degree comes together with practical experiences. I could notice myself becoming more confident as the time went on!”

Challenges of the work

“I was definitely quite naive in the beginning; I didn’t realise how complex the transition from homelessness to recovery and independent living can be. I thought that housing equals recovery, but there’s so much more that goes on in terms of supporting people when they’ve been traumatised. Playing a small part in showing people that they deserve a higher standard of living has been rewarding.”

Advice to future volunteers

“To anyone thinking of doing this kind of volunteering, I’d say go for it! Especially if it is part of a placement, as it can really boost the theoretical and academic side of social work. It’s really important to be proactive; showing people that you are there to help is really important, as is a willingness to get involved with anything that needs doing. Get as much experience as you can! As well as my work with TST, I was able to visit other projects such as hostels, to see the bigger picture of the different ways in which people are supported. I’m hoping to come back to London once I graduate to continue doing this work, so watch this space!”

*The Tenancy Sustainment Team (TST) are a vital part of Thames Reach’s recovery work, helping people who have had experience sleeping rough to move towards independent living, with support packages that help people in their homes once they have been housed. This support can help with issues around mental health, employment, physical health and addiction. 

Check out our Volunteering page for a range of ways you can support Thames Reach.


How women are supported through trauma-informed hostels

Area Manager Bethan discusses the experiences of women in hostels

How women are supported through trauma-informed hostels

Bethan is Thames Reach’s Area Manager for Hostels. With years of experience in key work with people facing multiple disadvantages, she discusses the barriers women come up against when moving through the homelessness pathways in hostels.

“We see lots of people move through our hostels, all with different stories and histories, and the demand is only getting higher. Although, there are much fewer women in our hostels than men, and there always have been. It’s important not to generalise, but we have fewer women residents in our hostels as they tend to stay as long as possible with their support networks, even if they are challenging, precarious or dangerous environments.

“It can take longer to build relationships with women in the hostel setting, sometimes as a result of the traumatic experiences they have faced before arriving. When someone we’re working with has already been through significant trauma and abuse, staying in one place can be difficult and anxiety-inducing, and it’s not uncommon for people to move between hostels if their needs aren’t being met. We have to look at what their particular needs are, and we help them make and attend appointments such as physical and sexual health care.

Key workers have to be flexible and creative when building trusting relationships; back when I was a key worker, I was supporting one woman who wouldn’t even answer the door when she first arrived, which I totally understood, so I’d just leave her a cup of tea outside every morning, and popped a note under her door to let her know I would be available when she’s ready to talk.

“There is a lot of discussion about gendered spaces at the moment, and while they certainly have benefits, trauma-informed spaces are arguably more important. At Thames Reach, all our hostels are trauma-informed, which means that we support people in a way that acknowledges and works with trauma, rather than against or despite of it. This is essential in helping people move on in a way that makes sense for them.”



How does the new South East London outreach team work?

Ryan, lead worker in our new South East Regional Outreach team, discusses the work being done to end street homelessness across the South East of the city

How does the new South East London outreach team work?

Thames Reach are the providers of the new South East London Regional Outreach team, which covers four boroughs within the South East of the city to help people off the streets and identify the support they need to move on from street homelessness. The team’s lead worker, Ryan, tells us about the work he does.

“The South East Regional Outreach Team (SEROT) is a new service that was put into place after London Street Rescue ended. This was the result of the decision for outreach services to be commissioned by local authorities. SEROT operates in four boroughs: Greenwich, Bromley, Lewisham, and Bexley. We get our referrals from colleagues in the Rapid Response Team (RRT), who respond to referrals made via Streetlink.

“No two days are ever the same, but an average day for me is an early start, checking for any referrals that were made overnight by the RRT and beginning welfare checks on anyone that is out rough sleeping, and working with them to resolve their homelessness. Working with people we have already made contact with, who are now in temporary accommodation, is a big part of what we do, as we discuss and plan their next steps with them. The rest of my work time is spent on casework and other admin related to the people I’m working with.

“In my borough, the people we work with are mostly white British males with substance support needs. This isn’t the case across South East London, as other boroughs work with a high number of people from other areas, with limited recourse to benefits. We fortunately have a strong working relationship with local drug and alcohol services, who will join an outreach shift when I am working with someone that would benefit from a visit.

“In South East London, I think we have all noticed a rise in the number of people rough sleeping for the first time, and I’m sure this goes for the rest of the country. The challenge is finding affordable, sustainable, decent living in London where most parts of the city are unaffordable.

“It has definitely been positive to work alongside colleagues that I worked with in London Street Rescue. This has meant that people who have been receiving support with us for a sustained period have not been affected by the changes.”

Read the Thames Reach Annual Review 2021-22

We’re delighted to publish a review of the work we’ve been doing over the past year

Read the Thames Reach Annual Review 2021-22

Today, we are officially launching our Thames Reach Annual Review 2021-22, highlighting the impact of the work our organisation has been doing between April 2021 and March 2022. The new document, with introductions by Chair of the Board Stephen Howard and Chief Executive Bill Tidnam, goes into detail on how our various services have ben helping homeless and vulnerable people across London, and features case studies and interviews and with staff members, volunteers, and with the people using our services.

For all this and more, take a look at the Thames Reach Annual Review 2021-22.

John’s Story

How our Essentials Fund is helping people like John recovering from homelessness

John’s Story

While sleeping rough, John struggled with alcohol addiction. He suffered a bad fall whilst living on the streets and now walks with a crutch and sometimes experiences seizures. 

When John was helped off the street by outreach workers, it was important for him to have somewhere accessible to stay. He has recently moved into a self-contained flat, with a small kitchenette in a Thames Reach hostel.  


How the Essentials Fund has helped

As a former pastry chef, John was keen to get back into cooking.

With help from the Essentials Fund, John purchased an induction hob and pans. These essential items have enabled him to feel more independent and motivated.

John is excited for a fresh start and in his words, to ‘get better’. He wants to re-start his career as a chef and hopes that cooking on the hob will help refresh his memory and skills.

When the time comes for John to move on and leave the hostel, he can take his hob with him.

Please support our Essentials Fund this winter.