2019 November 12 by Kayleigh Reed
Bath restaurants and hotels including the Mint Room, The Art Bar, Dukes Hotel, The Pump Room, The Scallop Shell, Eight in Bath and Castle Farm, Midford have signed up to participate in the innovative StreetSmart initiative this winter to support homeless charity Julian House.
The national scheme has raised over £9.5 million for homeless charities since it launched 20 years ago.
The idea of the scheme is simple. During November and December, valuable funds will be raised for Julian House courtesy of a voluntary £1 donation added when diners request their bill, or stay, at participating restaurants or hotels. All StreetSmart’s running and operational costs are generously paid for by its sponsors, meaning every penny in every £1 raised goes directly to the people who need it. The scheme is endorsed by some of the country’s restauranteurs including Marcus Waring and Angela Hartnett, as well as Stephen Fry.
Moe Rahman, Managing Director of Mint Room in Bath & Clifton explains why they have been involved with StreetSmart for several years “While the period between now and Christmas will see huge numbers of diners heading out for meals, it will also see the temperatures drop to life threatening levels for rough sleepers. StreetSmart is a great initiative to come together and ask customers to add just £1 to their bill during the party season seems the least we can do. It’s a simple and easy initiative to operate and there is no pressure if diners do not want to donate”
Julian House Fundraising Manager Cathy Adcock explains how the scheme works for diners, as well as benefiting Julian House. “I get asked a lot by members of the public about how they can help someone sleeping on the streets, without giving out cash directly. The StreetSmart scheme gives the public the choice of donating as little as £1 knowing that their donation will go to a local charity who is supporting homeless men and women right on their doorstop. The cumulative benefit of the StreetSmart Scheme could be huge, allowing Julian House to provide not just accommodation, but much needed support to some of the most marginalised members of society. Our thanks got to all the restaurants and hotels you have got behind this valuable scheme”
If your business would like to join, there is still time. Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07939 055432
Mint Rooms – @TheMintRoom
Art Bar at The Abbey Hotel – @artbarbath
Dukes Hotel – @DukesBath
Castle Farm Midford – @castlefarmmidford
The Scallop Shell – @scallopshell
The Pump Rooms – @SearcysBath
Eight in Bath – @eightinbath
2019 November 11 by Kayleigh Reed
Homelessness is an extremely isolating and desperate situation. Whilst never chosen, it can be very difficult to escape. Just imagine feeling that isolation and vulnerability and then not being able to do anything about it.
Digital Skills and Social Inclusion
Digital skills are an increasingly key part of social inclusion. Being able to connect with friends and family, find information about services, pursue hobbies and interests, and use services like banking and job search all have significant benefits, practically and emotionally.
Helping to Change Lives
Digital literacy can help grow peoples’ confidence, independence and well being, giving them greater choice and control over their lives. That’s why we run a programme in Trowbridge in partnership with Wiltshire Family and Community Learning, helping vulnerable adults learn basic IT skills in a safe and friendly environment.
John (name changed) was referred to our service by his supported accommodation key worker. After serving a prison sentence, he was keen to refresh his IT skills and improve his employability prospects. He met with the tutor and after an initial assessment, was offered a place on the course. After successfully completing several training sessions, he refreshed his knowledge of Word, Outlook and other Microsoft applications. John has now gone on to other training with a clear pathway towards self employment. The IT course, acted as a springboard, enabling John to regain some confidence and pursue his chosen career pathway.
Likewise, Mary (name changed), was referred to the service by her Work Coach. She was lacking IT skills and reported that this lack of knowledge was a barrier when looking and applying for employment. She met with the Tutor and was offered a place on the Introduction to IT course. She arrived for the first session and stated that she was very nervous and wasn’t sure how she would get on. Happily after a few sessions, the Tutor reported that she had settled in well and was making progress each week. Mary now hopes to use her new skills when completing on-line applications but also to keep in touch with family and friends that live some distance away. Arguably this will go some way to reducing isolation and help her to move forward positively.
Find out the many other ways we support people through skills development, volunteering and employment. HERE.
2019 October 30 by Kayleigh Reed
Simon recalls that he had a difficult childhood; “I can’t remember much before I was 5 or 6. It’s just flashes.” His account of his childhood shows clearly how his early experiences influenced his development. With courage, strength and support he has turned his life around, but it has been far from easy.
At the age of 6, his dad – an alcoholic who was violent towards both Simon & his mother – left the family. To make ends meet, his mother was busy working 3 or 4 jobs and as a result, wasn’t around very much.
When he was 8 years old Simon found the dead body of his best friend’s dad, who had hung himself. Following this early trauma, a year later one of his school friends died.
At 14, his stepdad confided in him that he wanted to have a sex change. When his mum found out, they split up and he left them with £50,000 of debt. “I had to grow up really quickly”, Simon recalls.
Despite this traumatic start to life, Simon was a fantastic rugby player and played for his local club. When he was seventeen, he was due to be scouted by Saracens, Bristol and Gloucester – but he missed the match because he had been up late drinking the night before. Simon had begun smoking cannabis at the young age of thirteen and by age fifteen he was already regularly “partying and drinking”.
As an eighteen year old Simon was introduced to heroin. Luckily, he was able to stop after 6 months and he worked hard and bought his own flat. He dabbled occasionally in heroin, but it did not adversely affect his life, and at the age of 23 he met the mother of his son.
Unfortunately, by the time he was 26, he got back into heroin again and this time his addiction took control of his life. His partner couldn’t handle his addiction and left Simon when he was 31. He then began selling heroin and was arrested when he was 36.
Simon made the most of his two years in prison by completing various courses. After he had been released, aged 39, he lived in a 12-step program dry house in Bristol. He attended lots of recovery groups, his confidence grew, and he even spoke on the radio. Then he relapsed and was kicked out.
“I got complacent and arrogant. I took my eye off the ball. It was no one thing that caused it. I thought I was ready but I wasn’t.”
Simon moved into a property in Exeter, this was the first step. As Simon’s progress was good he was moved into a ‘move on’ property. Unfortunately, this was short-lived as he relapsed when another resident moved in who was selling drugs. After he was evicted, he sofa surfed and then ended up rough sleeping for a month.
“It was horrible. I lied to my mum every day. I made up something different each time I asked for money. I must have had thousands of pounds from her.”
As he was beginning to feel hopeless and suicidal, the Outreach Team started working with him and moved him into a shared room in the Bunks at Gabriel House. The next day, he started on a methadone script: “All I needed was a roof over my head and a script. I was so grateful for this opportunity.”
After three weeks, he moved straight into a bedsit in the hostel, and then two months later into a move-on property in Exeter. The staff were amazed at the progress he made in such a short space of time. “I felt free. I felt that I had achieved something. It was the closest thing to being back to normal living.”
Because he was doing so well in his recovery, he struggled with his housemates who were very noisy, disruptive and entrenched in the drug-using lifestyle. “They don’t respect the house. They’re not ready to live here.” Five months after he initially moved he was accepted onto the Tenancy Ready Scheme.
Simon feels that the Tenancy Ready Scheme has helped him continue to make positive changes to his life: “I have a sense of pride back in me and it’s given me focus, hope and self-worth. I feel more able to open up with my keyworker and be honest. I’ve been able to tell him things that I haven’t been able to anyone. My willingness to help myself is back. I’m beginning to be less fired up and I am more reliable. I’ve been able keep in touch and build bridges with my family. I’ve got a sense of purpose back. I’ve really enjoyed working with my keyworker. It’s amazing what the scheme has done.”
There are two achievements from the last 6 months of working with the Tenancy Ready Scheme that he really wants to celebrate. Firstly, he is no longer on methadone. “I am now opiate free! I feel cleansed, my body feels like it’s coming back to life. It has previously held me back but now I feel free. I feel very emotional. It feels like a release, like a weight has been lifted from my body. It’s a huge thing for me. Working with my keyworker as I have been reducing my methadone script has helped hugely.” Secondly, he is having face-to-face contact with his son again. “Family means everything to me. He is my number one. My dad left me and I want to be there for my son. I’ve missed some important years of his life but now I am there for him. I saw him only once in 3 years and previously hadn’t seen him for years. I’ve now seen him several times this year already.”
It is astonishing to see the progress he has made, especially considering the fact that only 18 months ago he was homeless and using heroin.
The next step for Simon will be moving into his own social housing flat through the Tenancy Ready Scheme. He feels that the wait has helped him develop more patience. “Looking back, I am glad I didn’t move on straightaway because I needed to settle first. I’ve moved too quickly in the past and that’s where things have gone wrong.”
Simon is looking forward to having his own space where he doesn’t have to share with people who are in the lifestyle that not so long ago he used to be part of. He feels that once he is living in his own home, he will have the stability he needs in order to keep making more positive changes to his life.
“I want to spend more time with my son and family. I want to be able to invite them to my own home and have them stay over. I don’t have that privacy where I am living and it’s not the kind of environment that I want my family to see me in. I want to get back into work, even if it’s just part time. I want to start a teaching course and train to be a teacher. I want to meet more like minded people and have a sense of normality again. I have been through so much and I feel that now I am ready to give back to society.”
2019 October 17 by Kayleigh Reed
Earlier this year, David McAuley, joined Julian House as Chief Executive. Unfortunately since then a change in personal circumstances means that he is unable to continue in the role. It is sad to lose someone so quickly after joining but he leaves with best wishes from all of us.
However, the charity is delighted to announce that Helen Bedser has been appointed as his successor, effective from Monday 7th October. Helen has spent over 20 years working in the homelessness, housing and support sectors in support worker, service manager, commissioner and director roles. She has been with Julian House since 2014.
Helen’s previous position at Julian House was as Business Development Director where she has done a fantastic job of developing relationships within the sector. She has been the driving force behind the growth that has been achieved in recent years.
During her successful time here, Helen has demonstrated her commitment to Julian House values and shown her considerable talents in various other parts of the organisation, including directing Julian House Trading. The Board and Senior Management Team and are thrilled to promote her. Without doubt Helen will bring fantastic sector wide experience and strengths to the Chief Executive role.
2019 October 16 by Kayleigh Reed
The hard work of our hospital team, Bay 6, gave Mr Smith a chance to feel at home again in his very own place.
When the Bay 6 team met Mr Smith, life hadn’t been going well. He had split from his wife and was in the hospital recovering from a leg amputation. To make things worse, his two-bedroom house was in need for larger families on the council’s waiting list. He faced a difficult situation of not knowing where he would be able to call home when he left his hospital bed. His recovery from surgery was important but the worry of facing homelessness was weighing heavily.
After a referral by the hospital staff, Bay 6 were able to begin their specialist support in housing Mr Smith. The team simultaneously started the hunt for a home whilst looking into the assistance he was entitled to financially. Within the first six hours of the team’s support Mr Smith received a back payment of the benefits he was owed whilst they had also secured a regular payment. This quick result gave hope.
The search for accommodation wasn’t far behind, with potential leads being chased by our dedicated team. During this time Mr Smith stayed in the hospital where he was able to recuperate from his major surgery. He was informed of a possibility of a suitable bungalow which had recently become available. He quickly registered his interest in the property, letting the Bay 6 team know he was interested and keen to accept. This was successfully secured by the team, next up was home furnishings.
A cup of tea and a friendly chat between our small team and Mr Smith soon established the furniture and other items that would be required for the property. A list was created and so our team went sourcing, arranging and organising what was needed. Carpet, washing machine and cooker were high priority. Mr Smith was so impressed with the dedication of Bay 6, who gave up their own time to receive deliveries and be on hand when the carpet was being laid. Other household essentials soon began to fill out the space and make the house feel more like a home.
The holistic approach the team took ensured Mr Smith was linked in with other much needed services, such as the mental health team, housing and the council. There was a meeting held with the agencies involved before he left the hospital organised by the team. This gave him the best chance to succeed in his new surroundings and be supported further.
Mr Smith was “astonished,” when he arrived for the first time at the bungalow, by the hard work that had gone in just for him. In his words he felt “very well looked after” by the “unselfish” Bay 6 team. Before the team were comfortable to say goodbye, they ensured all the services he needed were in place and provided after-care by checking his benefit payments were up to date. Mr Smith is now extremely happy in his new home thanks to Bay 6!
2019 October 15 by Kayleigh Reed
Nationwide Building Society Bath is looking for people within our local community to write a poem answering “What does Christmas at home means to me?” to raise awareness of homelessness over the festive period. They will then pick their favourite poem on the 31st October and this will be displayed in their Branch window on Union Street throughout the Christmas Market and then over Christmas.
Nationwide Bath are passionate about supporting homelessness in Bath and believe everyone should have a place fit to call home. Over the last two years, the branch has been amazing supporters of ours, raising money and awareness and taking place in our fundraising events including the Big Bath Sleep-Out and our Kilimanjaro Trek in February 2020.
Assistant Branch Manager Rob Burrows, Nationwide Bath: ‘Housing and homelessness is such an important issue and we want to do our bit in making a difference. The whole branch team have volunteered and fundraised throughout the year and I would encourage everyone to visit our Branch to find out more about the local charities within Bath and ways they can help. We are looking forward to reading through the poems written by our community.’
Jessica Gay, Community and Events Fundraiser at Julian House said, “It’s a fantastic idea that will not only unite the community but will also encourage members of the public to think about what they are grateful for over the Christmas period. This time is often the most difficult for vulnerable men and women sleeping on our streets and so it’s brilliant to see Nationwide, once again, finding a way to support and bring light to this in Bath. ‘
All poems can be either emailed to Robert.email@example.com, sent to 21/22 Union Street Bath BA1 1RS or dropped into any colleague within the Branch on Union Street. Entries close 31st October and the winner will be announced on the 4th November.
2019 October 10 by Kayleigh Reed
This October, we’re inviting members of the public to attend our unique art exhibition in the centre of Bath that questions the relationship with this ever-evolving digital world. The exhibition, entitled ‘Connected’, is taking place during Bath’s Digital Festival on Friday 25th October and Saturday 26th October at Black Chalk Studios and has been created in collaboration with the Connect Centre.
The digital world has given rise to some of the most extraordinary advances of our time. Laptops, iPads, phones, everything is in the palm of our hands. But what happens if you don’t have access to these resources? What happens if you don’t even know how to use them? Homelessness is extremely isolating in itself, but with more and more vulnerable men and women lacking digital skills their ability to adapt and grow in this digital age is becoming even more challenging. In response to this growing issue, we’re hosting this public exhibition to bring this issue to light.
Artists from across the city have been contributing to the exhibition, including local students, volunteers and clients at both charities. Using a variety of classic and digital mediums, the exhibition seeks to show the power of art to address and illuminate social issues.
The exhibition is free to attend and is open from Friday 25th October 4-7pm and Saturday 26th October 9-6pm at Black Chalk Studios. Please RSVP and share the Facebook event.
2019 October 9 by Kayleigh Reed
During the forth-coming cold winter months, Julian House will be providing an extra 20 beds supporting rough sleepers who are at the risk of death on the streets in Bath.
The Safesleep hostel will operate from 1st November, next door to the existing Manvers St hostel in the basement of the Baptist Church. There will also be extra specialist outreach staff encouraging rough sleepers to move off the streets and into our care.
In addition to providing a safe alternative to rough sleeping, this facility will also allow Julian House staff to engage more effectively with clients and in turn provide better prospects for moving them on into sustainable accommodation.
Last winter Julian House provided emergency accommodation provided an extra 2377 bed spaces to 131 clients during Safesleep. One of those was Tom.
Tom stayed at Safesleep from the day it opened and was then transferred to the Manvers St hostel after 22 nights. Tom is an older gentleman with some substance misuse issues and minor health needs. His progress in the hostel was marked and he is now living in a shared house, supported by visiting Julian House staff.
Safesleep is being funded by central government following the success of the project last winter, however Julian House is in desperate need of sleeping bags. Any donations of sleeping bags would be gratefully received at either the hostel in Manvers Street, or at 55 New King Street, BA1 2BN.
Millets in Bath are kindly offering a 15% discount to anyone buying a Eurohike Adventure sleeping bag if they quote ‘Julian House’ when purchasing.
2019 October 8 by Kayleigh Reed
This November, we’re calling on board game fans to join us for our first Bath Board Game Day, taking place on Sunday 3rd November. This one day only ‘pop-up’ event will see hundreds of families, friends and board game enthusiasts gaming for a good cause in the auditorium of Komedia, Bath.
Gamers, new and experienced, can choose to come along for the whole day or pop in for a few games and will have the opportunity to play lots of different games suitable for all ages, including big blockbuster hits, classics and indie gems. Whether it’s a quick and playful game of bluffing and laughter or a lengthy game full of strategy and skill, there’s something for everyone.
Bath Gaming Group have kindly offered to support the event meaning there will also be avid game hosts on hand to help novice participants work through the rules and instructions. There’s also an exciting 9-hour ‘Hive’ challenge that will be live streamed on the day for people to get involved in and a ‘board game bundle’ raffle – making ideal winnings for the upcoming festive period.
Event’s organiser Jessica Gay said: “Bath Board Game Day is Bath’s very own ‘pop-up’ board game café. It’s all about having fun with friends and family for a good cause. You can feel great knowing your ticket is contributing to Julian House and all the work we do to support vulnerable and socially excluded individuals. It’s a chance to be part of something bigger and join us in our mission to alleviate homelessness in and around Bath.”
Tickets to be purchase in advance, here.