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 1 by Kayleigh Reed
It was Thursday afternoon and the doorbell at the Nightstop office rang. Jim walked in and he looked exhausted, he had slept rough in a shop door front last night. He was invited into the meeting room, sat down and was made a cup of tea.
Jim had been living at a residential project for the last few months due to historical drug abuse. He now wanted to get a job and his own place to live so decided to leave of his own accord. As we were talking, it became clear that Jim was starting to regret his decision. He started to realise that it would be more difficult to do these things than he originally thought. He couldn’t go home due to a relationship breakdown and sofa surfing at his friends was no longer an option. He had nowhere else to go.
Jim heard about Nightstop through a friend that had used the service before. Nightstop staff explained to him how it worked and asked him if he would be happy to stay with a host. Jim was just relieved that he would have a safe place to stay for the night rather than return to the streets.
Jim stayed on Nightstop for one night. In that time, the Nightstop team worked together speaking to various professionals in order to assist Jim to move back to the supported accommodation project he was previously living in. The manager of the project explained that Jim could move back to the project on the understanding that he would have to perform a drugs test on arrival.
Jim asked to have a think about his options, he left the Nightstop office and went for a walk. After an hour or so, Jim came back to see the Nightstop team. He thanked them for the help they had given him but had decided he wanted to go back to the accommodation project as it was the best place for him currently.
2019 September 19 by Kayleigh Reed
The Outreach Team in Exeter are currently working with Mark a 55-year-old male with an extended history of homelessness.
Mark has had problem securing and maintaining suitable accommodation, this has been largely down to his sporadic engagement with services. Due to his substance misuse he often fails to attend appointments with various agencies, turning to aggressive begging to try and secure funds for his habits.
He realises a lot of his issues come through boredom, meaning that he is more inclined to take substances which result in him begging and then getting arrested as he is currently on a Community Behaviour Order (CBO)
The outreach team recognise the main issues to address would be the substance misuse and finding some purposeful activity to occupy him during the day and report;
“It can be frustrating when you meet a client who doesn’t want to engage with you. Consistency is key. This was certainly the case with a recent client, Mark, who I met in November 2018. He had been arrested for persistent begging. Mark was very angry and focused on getting some methadone to help him with the withdrawal symptoms. Despite my attempts to complete an assessment, this was unsuccessful due to him not being able to focus.
Upon his release from custody I had arranged to meet Mark next day at the CoLab. The plan was to continue assessing his needs with the option of referring him to Gabriel House. Unfortunately Mark chose not to come to his appointment.
Over the next few months I had occasional but meaningful contact with Mark both in and out of custody. I used this time to build rapport and to gain his trust. Mark felt no one would ever do anything to help him.
In June 2019 Mark was in police custody again for repeated breach of his CBO. I offered to see him in his cell prior to going to court, he was again insisting I get him methadone. This time I decided to take a more direct approach. I advised Mark if he wanted help he needs to engage and work with us to secure the best outcome for him. I arranged to meet him after court and complete the assessment so a referral to Gabriel House could be made. To my surprise he turned up and we completed the form and offer him an appointment with Gabriel House later that day. Mark attended the meeting and was booked in the same day. With his engagement we were able to assist in securing him accommodation within 24hrs of his release.
Mark was very thankful for our assistance and continues to engage well with our service and those that are supporting him.”
2019 September 12 by Kayleigh Reed
The Julian House outreach team receive and respond to reports of rough sleepers in Exeter.
On a ledge, under a motorway, isn’t the location that springs to mind when you think of homelessness. However it had been brought to the team’s attention that this area was being used by a couple regularly as a place to sleep. To say the spot was difficult to access is an understatement. A bank led up to a concrete ledge which the couple had been sleeping on. This was not a healthy environment for anyone to live in. We had to do something.
We continued to meet with them in the same spot regularly for about four weeks. Each time I brought a hot drink and a smile, and they slowly began to warm to our team, allowing us to gain their trust incrementally. The major turning point was when I was able to take them to the council offices to see what could be offering in terms of housing and support. This meeting went really well – the couple came away having secured temporary accommodation.
As outreach workers we often find ourselves in challenging situations. When we made our way onto the ledge it struggled to comprehend how the couple had been able to function here. They had no phones, no contact with other agencies and no support. I realised how secluded the spot was and that our clients had chosen it for this very reason.
Unforeseen circumstances had led to the woman losing her tenancy and she felt isolated from her friends and family. Her partner struggled with his mental health -previously finding himself in trouble with the police but not willing to see a doctor. They were suspicious of any services we could offer and had a sceptical approach during our first meeting. It transpired that location had been their bed for six months and would often spend most of their daytime there too. It was clear the ledge had become an invisible barrier. We were going to struggle to talk and gain their trust. A compromise was made and the couple agreed to meet us at the motorway services which were nearby.
We continued to meet with them regularly for about four weeks. Each time I brought a hot drink and a smile and they slowly began to warm to our team -allowing us to gain their trust. The major turning point was when I was able to take them to the council offices to see what could be offering in terms of housing and support. This meeting went really well. The couple came away, having secured temporary accommodation. It wasn’t long before the couple decided to begin the search for their own, more permanent accommodation. The outreach team were on hand to help and the couple successfully navigated the council housing services, finding a flat they could call their own.
Having a settled home allowed the woman to reconnect with the family she had once felt isolated from and begin to rebuild those precious connections. I was absolutely thrilled when she told me that she was soon to be a grandmother, as this was something she would never have imagined six months ago.
The hard work that went into helping this couple really pays off when they pop in to say hello to us at the office. The difference we can see in them, physically and emotionally, is incredible. They are still flourishing together in their flat a fantastic outcome.
2019 September 4 by Kayleigh Reed
On 15th July, Paulton Infants School hosted their first art exhibition, raising over £100 for the homeless and local charity Julian House.
After hearing a talk from Julian House at her school, 6 year old pupil Calley Potts wanted to do something to raise money and help support the homeless people in Julian House’s care. Being a keen artist, and with the help of her mum and dad Sadie and Terry Potts, she organised an art exhibition at her school. Alongside her art, she also invited her classmates to create pieces that they could sell to raise money for the charity.
Calley said: “Julian House came to my school and told us about homeless people in Bath. It made me feel sad because they don’t have enough food or a home to live in, so I thought I want to help. I love art and thought I could help by making and selling some pieces. I asked my school if we could hold an art exhibition and set a goal to raise £100. Now I want to keep going because I haven’t ended homelessness yet. Next I want to take requests from people and raise more money for Julian House so everyone can have a home”.
Mum Sadie added: “We are incredibly proud of Calley. She has led this from the start and has astounded us by her kindness and entrepreneurial spirit. We’d like to thank Paulton Infants school, all the parents and Julian House in supporting Calley”.
Calley is now taking art commission requests and hopes to raise even more money for the charity.
To get in touch and support Calley’s venture, email firstname.lastname@example.org
2019 August 1 by Kayleigh Reed
Terry was admitted to Exeter RD&E in June 2019 as he we feeling very unwell and breathless, whilst in hospital he was diagnosed with Lung cancer. He was referred to the Bay 6 service as identified as being vulnerable of being homeless. Terry was also referred to Force Cancer Charity who would be able to offer support and advice during his cancer treatment, whilst working alongside Bay 6 to help find a housing solution.
Terry was homeless in 2014 but due to having been left feeling let down by the system Bay 6 knew this was a gentleman whom they needed to gain his trust. This would be the key to moving forward and finding the best possible outcome for him. The team helped Terry find a friend he could stay
with when we left hospital, but this was far from ideal. It was a one-bedroomed property leaving Terry with only the sofa to sleep on, but at least for the short term he had found somewhere to stay and he felt safe. With his new, although temporary home and with his health improving, he signed on with some agencies to start work. He was offered sporadic work on very low wages, but it was a start.
For the last five years Terry has not claimed any benefits as the system was too complicated for him to work sporadically and then sign on the claim benefits, instead he saved the money he could to see him through the periods when he wasn’t working.
Before being admitted into the RD&E hospital he was living transitionally between friends’ sofas and was working as often has work was available to him. Frustration set in as he recognized he was falling through the gaps in the system. He was trying to work and sustain himself without claiming benefits but never had any extra money to save for his own home. Terry also had further concerns about covering monthly costs and paying rent due to the sporadic work he was getting.
Terry was admitted to hospital very quickly after his initial diagnosis to deal with the issue. He was booked in to undergo an operation which would remove half of one of his lung (infected area). He then spent about a week in hospital recovering from the operation. Although the operation went well at his first check up with his consultant, he was told they did not completely remove all the cancer cells and needed to start Chemotherapy.
Bay 6 very quickly supported Terry to apply to the council for temporary accommodation and supplied the council with all the information about his needs and went with him to support an interview with the council.
As a result of Bay 6 stepping in to support Terry with completing paperwork he is now in temporary accommodation with the council, awaiting more secure accommodation in the future.
Terry now has a roof over his head and somewhere where he can feel safe and secure, and due to the current treatment programme of Chemotherapy he has a place to rest and recover.
Bay 6 worked with Terry whilst in hospital and for a good period of time when he left hospital, which meant that he had a continuation of care and support whilst going through a horrendous time in his life.
2018 February 8 by Verity Jones
We want to say a huge thanks to everyone who supported our best ever Christmas Appeal, which has been rounded off with an amazing gift.
Over the months of December and January we ran our annual Christmas Appeal – once again supported by the Bath Chronicle. The target for the campaign was an ambitious one, £120,000. Funds raised now help to ensure that we can operate our life changing and sometimes lifesaving services, throughout the year.
Monkton Combe School has supported Julian House for over 20 years and has risen to the challenge again by presenting an amazing donation of £2,107 – almost the final gift of the campaign. This impressive gift took the total raised to £138,830 – the highest amount ever raised for Julian House Christmas Appeal.
Cecil Weir is the charity’s Fundraising Director and has led the campaign for the past 17 years – “Every year the public and the wider community rally to support our work, particularly at this time of year. The harsh weather brings into sharp focus just how dreadful is for our clients to be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Even though I have been organising it for some time it never ceases to humble me when I see the goodwill that is shown and the generosity. We had a 14 year old girl bake 500 cupcakes, herself, and raise £550 in the process. Winter fuel payments were forwarded to us because the donors thought that our clients needed it more than them. It is rather fitting that Monkton Combe School, who have supported us for over 20 years should make provide almost the final gift of the appeal which helped us to reach such an impressive total.”
The Monkton gift was raised at the school’s annual Christmas carol service in Bath Abbey and was one of many events which helped to support the charity’s campaign. Cecil Weir acknowledges the wider benefit that such events bring – “Although things have improved there are still awareness issues around homeless – both the scale of the problem and the complex issues which impact upon it. Every event that is organised and every article that is written helps to make people realise that it isn’t a lifestyle of choice and that with the right support we can really make a difference. To everyone who supported the campaign a huge thank you from everyone at Julian House and particularly our clients. Likewise to all our volunteers and not forgetting the Bath Chronicle.”
Julian House provides range of services to homeless and vulnerable individuals including: supported housing (general and specialised), domestic abuse services, social enterprises and an assertive outreach service. In all the charity operates 132 bed spaces. However, its direct access hostel provision remains one of the most important – providing as it does, very often, the first stage in the process of moving people off the street and reconnecting them back into their local community.
The charity’s work doesn’t stop now that the Christmas campaign is over. Over the course of this week the sharp drop in temperature has forced it to open up extra emergency bed spaces – offering rough sleepers respite from sub-zero conditions.
2016 October 11 by Jess Lockey
A huge thank you to all the participants and volunteers who have taken part and helped at our most recent events. The success of our fundraising events lies with the amazing people who take part, raising vital funds for our projects, and the support from our fantastic volunteers who make everything run like clockwork. Thank you all!
A fantastic 21 teams took part in this years Dragon Boat festival. It was a soggy September day, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. The team costumes were elaborate and racing was nail biting, thank you to all the teams and volunteers who helped make the day a great one. So far the Dragon Boat festival has raised £18,000 with more to come which is fantastic, thank you for your help and support.
Over 350 people took place on this popular annual event on Sunday 25th September, with nearly half of the walkers competing the full 20 miles. Families, friends, colleagues, four legged friends, and even a group of runners, enjoyed the wonderful scenery as they walked the pre-planned route around Bath’s beautiful countryside. We hope to know how much the walk raised by the beginning of November, so keep your eyes peeled!
The Colour Fun Run
The weather was absolutely stunning again at this years Colour Fun Run and over 750 participants took to Oldbury Court Estate for a colour crazy day. A huge thank you to everyone that helped set up the course from the crack of dawn, marshaled the route, threw paint and packed down at the end of the day. More than 100 volunteers made the day possible, many of whom were more paint covered than some of the runners!
2016 August 2 by Matthew Roberts
Organisers of the Saddleback Sodbury Sportive are calling for entries for the 2016 event that takes place on Sunday 21st August. We would love riders to sign up and raise funds for Julian House.
In just three years the cycling spectacular has raised tens of thousands of pounds for different charities. Organisers hope that this years Sportive will break its previous record for riders entered and profit made.
“Last year we exceeded our expectations when 960 riders took part, a 10% increase on the previous year,’ commented organiser Bill Bennett.
“If we can attract the same or more riders this year we should be on target to better the £20658 raised in 2015.”
With wonderful countryside as well as quiet lanes and breath taking views, the Sportive offers a choice of a 30 mile, 60 and 100 mile route catering for all levels of cycling ability.
“We want to make the Sodbury Sportive even better than before and to do so we need as many riders as possible to take part,” continued Bill. “If you have yet to enter please visit our web site for an entry form.”
100% of the profits made at each Sodbury Sportive are donated to good causes and entrants are promised;
- A fully supported event with technical assistance and mechanical help provided by Bike Station of Yate and the Julian House Bike Workshop
- A broom wagon to pick up struggling riders
- Plenty of refreshment stations.
- A children’s activity organised by Julian House to keep the children entertained throughout.
Starting and finishing in Chipping Sodbury the Sportive is organised by the members and friends of the Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury.
The event is widely regarded as one of the top cycling sportives in the UK. Entry to the 2016 Saddleback Sodbury Sportive is now open and the organisers report that entries are already well ahead of this time last year.
The event takes place on Sunday 21 August and entry forms are available online at http://www.sodburysportive.co.uk
If you’d like to take part and raise funds for Julian House at the same time then please get in touch email@example.com We’d love to hear from you.
2016 August 2 by Matthew Roberts
Julian House is seeking proposals from independent parties to undertake an external evaluation of the Julian House Assertive Homeless Outreach Service in Exeter, Teignbridge and East Devon.
There is also the potential to become a preferred evaluation partner of Julian House and to be engaged in subsequent similar pieces of evaluation work.
Further details about the Service and the evaluation sought can be found in the document below.
Briefing for external evaluation partner (Word .docx)
This brief is being issued to prospective tenderers with a return deadline for responses of 5pm 31st August 2016.
2016 July 28 by Matthew Roberts
This history of Julian House was researched and written by Bob Alderman.
Bob began with Julian House as a volunteer in the temporary Night Shelter in Manvers Street in 1989 and continued as an active volunteer for many years. He joined the Board in 1992 and Chaired the Board until 2005-2010.
The Beginnings (1980-1987)
After 25 years, the details of how Bath Churches Housing Association (BCHA) became established as a charity are a little hazy in the memory of those involved but there is consensus that it had its genesis in two groups both linked to Bath Central United Reformed Church. Firstly, the Argyle Housing Association (AHA), which was established in the early 1980s and then later through a small multi-denominational pilot group of about ten members, who came together to look at ways of providing overnight respite for the growing homeless population in the Bath area.
Argyle Housing Association
Argyle Housing Association (AHA) had been set up by members of the Bath Central United Reformed Church following the donation to the church of a house in Bath – a house was later sold. A small sum from the proceeds of that sale (probably less that £2000) eventually passed to BCHA.
Evidence of the link between AHA and BCHA is apparent in the written record, where the office-holders of AHA are all listed in the BCHA register of shareholders. The Treasurer (from 1981) was Ron Turner; the Secretary (from 1982) was John Twine; and the Chairman (from March 1983) was Rev Mike Stolton. Together with a handful of others they are recorded in their respective entries in the BCHA shareholder register as “transferred from AHA”.
The Winter Shelter Committee
However, the real impetus for the shelter came from the Sunday Centre group which was a Churches Together in Bath project based at the URC on Sunday afternoons and run by Jane Tollyfield. They saw an increasing number of homeless people (mainly men) using their services and were very concerned that they were being turned out onto the streets in all weathers when the centre closed at 5pm.
This pilot group was multi-denominational and included Alison Picken, Jane Tollyfield, Sheena Carter, John Twine, Ron Turner, David Westwood and Philip Davey (all from URC); Captain Philip Hendy from the Salvation Army and there may also have been representatives from St Johns RC Church, the Methodists, and possibly Marion Hackett from the Quakers. It was chaired by the URC minister, Michael Stolton and it established the ground rules for BCHA and, largely through the efforts of Alison Picken, prepared rotas of volunteers to run the very first temporary night shelters. Ian Sutherland (who later became the Director of BCHA) was not a member of this group in its first year but he was a volunteer when the night shelter first opened in 1987.
Ian Sutherland’s recollection of the transfer of power from AHA to BCHA is that, “The members of the Winter Shelter committee who weren’t already on the AHA Board were simply appointed by those that were, and those already AHA Board members who hadn’t been associated with the night shelter resigned. My vague recollection is that the AHA board was very small and might have consisted solely of the three officers”. It may well be that only Michael Stolton actually transferred from AHA on to the original board of BCHA.
Either way, it was this Winter Shelter committee who invited Patrick Mesquita to join the new BCHA board. Ian recalls that Patrick was originally invited to join the group on the mistaken understanding that he was a retired journalist and that he might be persuaded to write a regular newsletter. He continues, “I think Patrick became chair by the usual method of not saying “no” when someone suggested it at an early committee meeting”. He remained chairman for some years.
Input and support of Bath churches
The organisation’s original title (retained for at least 15 years) was “Bath Churches Housing Association” (BCHA) and so it is not surprising to see that, whilst most shareholders were named individuals, nine of the early shareholders were named churches. The register confirms the names of these inaugural churches and (in some cases) the name and address of the relevant minister. The nine churches were:-
- St Johns Roman Catholic Church (Rev Tom Gunning). St Johns registered as a corporate shareholder in November 1990 – the first church to do so;
- Bath Abbey (Rev Simon Oberst and later Rev Richard Askew). The Abbey and the next five churches in this list were all registered as shareholders on the same day in April 1991;
- Manvers Street Baptist Church (Rev Roger Nunn and later Rev John Rackley);
- The Society of Friends (although she is not named in the register as their rep, Ian confirms that Marion Hackett was a member of the planning committee, was a board member of BCHA for several years and may even have been the first Secretary of the board (before Cyril Jennings).
- Christchurch (Rev Anthony Cleridge);
- Bath Central United Reform Church (Rev Sue Henderson – a great supporter of JH and at Central for quite a long time);
- Claremont Methodist Church (no individual recorded).
- All Saints, Weston (Rev D I Frost); registered in February 1992;
- Oldfield Park Methodist Church (no individual recorded); registered in February 1992;
Initially there was modest regular financial support from several of these churches – for example, the congregation at the Abbey offered financial support for several years. Father Tom from St Johns remained a great support throughout his ministry in Bath – not least always being prepared to fund individual service-users. Even so, the main thrust in the organisation of those early temporary night shelters came from members of Bath Central URC.
Temporary premises (1987-1993)
The location of the temporary winter shelters moved several times over BCHA’s first five or six years. The sequence of winter shelters was (all running from November to the end of March):-
- 1987/1988 in an undercroft in the Bath Central United Reformed Church
- 1988/1989 in the Salvation Army hall where there were high levels of violence, drinking and glue-sniffing
- 1989/1990 the violence in the winter of 1988/1989 culminated in a siege when a banned client started firing bolts from a cross-bow into the shelter. Volunteers, clients and police inside sheltered under tables and so the Salvation Army not unreasonably declined to host the night shelter the following year. In the absence of an alternative venue it was decided to provide soup from a van from 10-11 each night from beginning of November 1989. This simply didn’t work because by that late at night in November and December the sensible homeless would have already found a dry bed for the night and so there was very little take up for our soup.
Ian recalls, “Then Clive Abbott (CEO of Bath City Council) got involved and invited ourselves and a few others to meet at 7.30am in the Guildhall for a croissant and mango juice breakfast to see if a winter shelter could be opened elsewhere. Crucially, one of the “others” at that meeting was Roger Nunn, then the minister of Manvers Street Baptist Church. He agreed to us using the Manvers Street scout hall for a winter shelter, not realising just how courageous he was being – both in accepting the likelihood of violence from service-users and also being confident that he could persuade the members of his church that this was the right thing to do. Happily his confidence was justified; when he called a Church meeting for the following Sunday and told them what he had done, there was unanimous endorsement of his commitment. The winter shelter re-opened there before Christmas and we sold the soup van. The rest is history….”
- 1990/1991 and 1991/1992 in Manvers Street Baptist Church scout hall
- 1992/1993 in the Salvation Army hall again
- April 1993 Julian House permanent night shelter opened in Manvers Street
From the beginning of BCHA those wishing to volunteer in different capacities or simply to support the charity were encouraged to become shareholders and their names were carefully recorded in a register that the organisation still retains. Each shareholder paid £1.
The first eighteen members are all recorded as “transfer from AHA” and thereafter those joining or coming on to the board were listed with their dates of joining – starting in May 1989 when those joining included Alison Picken (the first volunteer coordinator), Philip Davey and David Westwood (both from the original planning group and members of Bath Central URC) and Ian Sutherland (eventually to be BCHA’s first Director).
In the early days, when things were very hands-on (remember, we had no paid employees and everything was run by volunteers) we went for the traditional office holders on the board of trustees – chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer. The chairman when I joined was Patrick Mesquita, the Hon Secretary Cyril Jennings, and the Hon Treasurer was Steve Brown (July 1991-July 1992). Cyril continued as Secretary for some time (sending out agendas, writing minutes and generally overseeing the conduct of meetings – which originally began with a prayer). We struggled to find a treasurer to replace Steve Brown (who was a volunteer and not a qualified accountant) but in 1992 a qualified accountant, Chris Hayward, became treasurer. However, even then proper financial control and governance were hard to accomplish in the absence of any paid support or back-up from the organisation
When Cyril Jennings resigned, I think Ian took on the secretarial responsibilities and remained as both formal Secretary of the charity and minute-taker of all board meetings for most of his tenure as Director. I think there may have been a gap in the office of treasurer and then Andy Mullett and Mandy Probert (later Mandy Loran) both took on the job – with each of them doing so in two separate terms. When Hugh Prentice was appointed as financial manager his accounts were monitored by the then Audit & Finance Group (AFG) but even then the trustees continued to be involved in significant detail and it was only really on Helene Law’s appointment in 2011 that the “Hon Treasurer” way of working finally disappeared.
After consultation with Ian Sutherland and two of those early pioneers – Jane Tollyfield and David Westwood – we think the chairmen of BCHA were, in order:-
- Rev Michael Stolton from the Winter Shelter planning committee through to the formation of BCHA possibly up to November 1989 (the date when new shareholders started being recorded in the BCHA Share register)
- Ian Sutherland from November 1989 until Sept 1991 (when he was employed as part-time embryo director)
- Patrick Mesquita from 1991 to 1996
- Liz Bloor from 1996 to 1999
- Mike Overton from 1999 to 2001
- James Rider from 2001 to 2002
- Claire-Wynne-Hughes from 2002 to 2005
- Richard Blows for about six months in 2005
- Bob Alderman from 2005 to 2010
- Libby Gawith from 2010 to 2015
Selling second-hand books as a way to raise money for Julian House had its genesis in June 1992 when I organised our first ‘one-off’ sale at the Bath Central URC church halls. It was a colossal sale with visitors complaining afterwards that such was the density of the crowd that they were transported around the room “Haj-style” unable to stop where they wanted to browse. Despite the crush, we made about £8,000 on the day and a tradition was born. The “one-off sales” were repeated in 1994 at the URC again and then in 1996 at the Forum (by which time Tim Graham led the team) and on each occasion we made similar amounts. After the 1996 sale the left-over books were loaded on to an HGV removal van and driven to Swindon on the following Monday where the auctioneer, Dominic Winter, sold them in his specialist book auctions at intervals over the next several months – raising even more for the charity.
We were then made a very generous offer by Aldridges, the auctioneers then based in Walcot Street, who let us use two upstairs rooms (that had been used for book auctions in the past) for a regular fortnightly sale from September 1997 through to April 1998. Here we were able to leave the unsold books where they were after each sale and Tim Graham (who was by then a board member) took on the considerable responsibility of organising the sales.
When BCHA bought 55, New King Street in 1998 the book sale were moved into the still un-refurbished building and then, after the building had been refurbished and still under Tim’s leadership, we moved back again to 55, New King Street, filling the basement, most of the ground floor and the garage with books. Each room was fitted with bookshelves so that stock could be retained (largely without moving books at all) after each sale. We then ran – as a separate entity called “Ex Libris” – a very successful bookshop that opened on every first and third Saturday morning (9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.). These regular sales were greatly loved by their followers, who enjoyed dropping in on their way to the Saturday Farmer’s Market or on their return to the centre of Bath. It is now more than five years since we closed and transferred all the books to the Julian House Walcot Street charity shop and I am still tapped on the shoulder in the street by those who enjoyed those Saturday mornings saying how much they still miss what they regarded as their own literary club. The income generated for the charity between September 1997 and March 2010 was more than £200,000.
When our first charity shop opened in Walcot Street in March 2010, the book stock at the time was transferred there and books were no longer sold from 55, New King Street. The Walcot Street shop still retains a significant stock of well-sorted and marketable books and so the tradition has been maintained.
The organisation was officially known as BCHA for about twenty years but is now formally called Julian House, ironically, the name by which it has been known locally from the beginning.
Its growth has been marked by distinct phases – the planning years of 1987-1989; the temporary night shelters between 1987 and 1993, run almost entirely by volunteers; and then the building of the Julian House night shelter in Manvers Street in 1993. This was really the moment when the organisation had to grow up very quickly to learn the skills of employing and managing a growing body of paid staff, keeping the local support base in Bath informed and “on-side”, and discovering how to generate sufficient income to support a strategic plan that ambitiously aimed not just to ameliorate the discomfort of homelessness but to affect real change in people’s lives. That we have been able to accomplish some of that is a great tribute not only to the trustees and staff who work today in a much larger and more complex organisation but also to the vision of those early pioneers.
2016 July 27 by Jess Lockey
Bath Rugby have recently changed their criteria for Bath Rugby’s Charity of the year, which previously prevented us from applying, and we are delighted that our recent application has been shortlisted.
Three charities will now be selected, along with The Bath Rugby Foundation, by votes from Bath Rugby Season Ticket Holders, Bath Rugby Partners, Bath Rugby staff and Bath Rugby players.
If chosen Julian House will benefit from a share of the match day fundraising throughout the season (2016/17), visits from Bath Rugby players to events (& projects), promotion of Julian House through the Club website and match day programmes, additional fundraising, as well as great local PR opportunities. We hope there will also be opportunities for Bath Rugby to engage with our service users.
If you know anyone who is a ticket holder, or anyone who is able to vote, please ask them to vote for Julian House. Please spread the word, we are up against some stiff competition so every vote will count!
If Julian House is chosen, anyone who volunteers to help with bucket collections on the specific matches will get to watch the match free of charge!
2016 July 27 by Jess Lockey
The last few months have been an especially busy time for our Fundraising Teams in Bath and Bristol. We would like to say thanks to all those who have taken part, fundraised for, or volunteered at one of our many events. Here’s a summary of just some the things our lovely supporters have been getting up to…
Natwest Promotional Day
An enthusiastic team of 11 from Natwest Bristol and Bath Business Banking Team very kindly took to the streets delivering promotional flyers for this years Colour Fun Run in Downend, Staple Hill, Fishponds, Bromley Heath and Mangotsfield! Huge thanks to all who helped, great to have your support!
Burges Salmon Volunteer Days
Big thanks to the team of staff from Burges Salmon who have helped work along our Aspire team to regenerate Aiken Garden in Bristol, bringing it back to its former glory. A well done also goes to the team who painted all of the communal space inside our addiction recovery project, St Vincent’s. It’s a great improvement and really appreciated by all of our residents who stay there.
We’ve had many brave people take on huge challenges this year to raise as much as they can for Julian House – there have been skydivers, tough mudders, triathletes and cyclists all pushing themselves in personal challenges and we are truly grateful to each person for choosing Julian House and doing so well in their chosen challenge. If there is something you’ve always wanted to ‘tick off the list’ we’d love to hear from you and get that challenge event booked!
The annual Julian House Garden Opera events took place in late June and early July with over 350 guests attending across Bristol and Bath enjoying two Rossini operas – La Cenerentola and The Barber of Seville. The weather was not on our side, but this didn’t dampen ours or the performers spirits as the performances went ahead indoors, and in a large marquee in Bath! A great evening had by all, with many guests also enjoying picnics in true British style! A big thank you to our sponsors for all of their support and everyone who bought tickets to attend, and a huge thanks as well to our wonderful volunteers who gave up their time to make the events run so smoothly.
Brain of Bath
23 teams took part in the annual Brain of Bath event where retired presenter and broadcaster, Leonard Pearcey, stepped into the breach as Quiz Master after Dom Joly had to pull out. A great, although slightly competitive time was had by all with The Quizzards of Odd walking away with the coveted title. Well done to them and to all the volunteers who marked the papers, and badgered the teams into buying raffle tickets – your support helped us to raise over £10,000.
This months Bike Bath event was our first step into Bike events with 3 supporters (including a volunteer and Trustee) who cycled over 210 miles between them and raised a terrific £1000. Thank you all for your commitment and support!
A special thanks goes out to Jacqui Dibble (right in the picture) who gave up two weekends to help at both of our recent Colour Fun Run promo days over the last month, the first Mangotsfield Festival and the second Heathfest. Jacqui is a regular volunteer at our events – last year she helped at the Circuit of Bath Walk, Dragon Boat Festival and Colour Fun Run! Thanks Jacqui for all your hard work and we look forward to working with you again soon.
2016 June 29 by Jess Lockey
Our annual Volunteer Thank You Event took place this year on the 18th May at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution in the beautiful Elwin function room.
The evening was opened by the fantastic 25 strong ‘Madrigals’ choir from Bath Spa University. Led by lecturer Professor Matthew Spring and kindly organised by Catherine Chapman, they wowed their audience and made the evening very special and one to remember.
Over 30 volunteers attended from various projects, including volunteers who travelled from Bristol and Trowbridge. A massive thanks goes out to all those who attended the evening and made the trip to Queens Square.
A tasty buffet was provided by Thyme Deli, which went down very well, and any leftovers (very little) were taken to our Night Shelter for our clients to enjoy.
Our CEO Peter Denning presented a round up of the successes and developments over the last year, which volunteers responded to very well, and I hope made them feel welcome and a part of the organisation as a whole. Certificates of recognition were also awarded to volunteers nominated by project staff for dedication and excellence in their volunteer role.
Of course, we value the work carried out by all of our volunteers – we cannot do we what we do without their commitment and passion, so thanks to all who work within Julian House services.
Coming into the role of Volunteer Coordinator only very recently, I found the experience to be a great one, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a pleasure to meet new and old volunteers in one place, bringing together stories and memories and sharing ideas. It was a great success and I look forward to building on the event next year. A big shout out to those who helped set up and stayed until the very end to pack down – your support was very much appreciated!
2016 June 15 by Jess Lockey
We have an exciting new shop opening up in Thornbury, Bristol. This will be our 5th shop to be opened. If you, or anyone you know, have a few hours to spare, we are looking for volunteer’s to help with all aspects of running the new shop, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a charity shop volunteer, you could be serving customers, dressing window displays, or getting stock ready behind the scene. It is a great way of meeting new people, making new friends, and for a lot of our volunteers it is a great way of learning and improving key skills. All charity shop volunteers are given full training and continued support.
We’d like to invite anyone thinking of volunteering in any of our Charity Shops to come and see us at one of our shops. To all of our volunteers, thank you for your support. We truly appreciate your time and loyalty and couldn’t keep the shops running without you.
2016 May 11 by Matthew Roberts
Wednesday 18th May | 10:00 – 12:00 noon
Julian House, 55 New King Street, Bath, BA1 2BN
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we are running a drop in event for our service users, partner agencies and their service users too.
Join us for tea, coffee and a cake and find out about the activities we offer and how attending activities can help improve health & wellbeing.
2016 April 26 by Matthew Roberts
Wednesday 18th May, 2016 | 18:30 – 20:30
The Elwin Room
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Bath, BA1 2HN
We are very excited to invite all of our amazing volunteers to our annual Volunteer Thank You event. The special night will run from 6.30pm until 8.30pm, and a light buffet will be provided.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Julian House and it is thanks to your generosity that we are able to have a positive impact on so many people’s lives.
Whether you help at one of our charity shops, at our night hostel, our bike workshops or at one of our events (the list goes on) the time you give us is so valuable, so thank you!
We are very careful to keep our charity costs to an absolute minimum to ensure we give the most to the vulnerable people we help.
To help ensure we do not over cater, it would be very helpful if attendees could RSVP by 11th May.
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
We are very fortunate to have taken on 13 new volunteers at the Hostel this month alone, and cannot thank all of our dedicated volunteers enough for all the support you offer to Julian House. As we have entered spring, and summer approaches, this is the time of year when a full bank of volunteers is all the more crucial, as people go away for the holidays and students leave the city.
If you have a couple of hours to spare in the day, and enjoy cooking, please do get in touch and spread the message. Please click here to find out more about our morning and afternoon Volunteer Catering opportunities
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
Our Meaningful Activity Programme relies heavily on the people who volunteer to facilitate different activities and who share their skills, experience and knowledge with our service users encouraging them to try new things and broaden their experiences.
We have several long standing volunteers who continue to inspire and Gillian who facilitates the very successful “tea & talk” , Lydia who has successfully run our women’s bakery group for some time, enabling women to learn different baking techniques leading towards the confidence experiment with flavours and helping to cater for Julian House events. We have also recently welcomed a new volunteer Christine who is facilitating the women’s crafts and sharing her love of crafting with the group.
We are always looking for inspiration for new and exciting ideas for activities we could offer and welcome suggestions from volunteers who could bring something new to the programme. If you think you have something to offer, please get in touch at email@example.com.
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
Are you looking for hands on event experience? Are you a pro at organising events already? If so, we have the role for you! We are looking for Volunteer Events Fundraising Assistants – people with energy and bags of enthusiasm to get stuck in and join our busy fundraising team. Please get in touch for an informal chat if you think you are the person to help us make our events this summer a huge success.
If you’d like to lend a hand but can’t commit on a regular basis we also have a role for you. Join our friendly Event Action Team and you will be the first to know we need your help – it’s then up to you to decide if you can spare a few hours. From promotional flyering, supermarket collections and bag packs, event launch activities and event day support- we really appreciate extra pairs of hands for as little or as much time as you can spare. Every little helps!
Our first request is for The Colour Fun Run promotional launch day at Cabot Circus on 25th and 26th June. We will have face painting and themed activities for children as well as handing out flyers and encouraging people to sign up for the event. Please contact Joanneb@julianhouse.org.uk for more information.
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
The 8th Big Bath Sleep-Out took place on March 4th and despite rain, sleet and even snow 220 brave individuals took part, including 40 primary school age children (with their parents, of course!). We are absolutely delighted to announce that the Sleep-Out not only raised great awareness of homelessness but so far has raised a magnificent £32,000! This is double the amount raised last year. Our sincerest thanks go to everyone who took part, sponsored and helped on the night.
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
This summer’s events include two prestigious Rossini Garden Opera’s, both events where picnics will certainly be the order of the day!
On 19th June Bristol’s very own touring opera company Tessitoura present a fresh take on one of Rossini’s most beloved operas – La Cenerentola, Cinderella … but not as you know it, in the grounds of Colston School.
On 7th July London based Garden Opera Company will perform Rossini’s fabulous The Barber of Seville set in the stunning location of Prior Park College, Bath.
Our previous operas have been fantastic events so please let us know if you or any of your friends are able to help. Anybody volunteering at the Opera events will be able to watch the majority of the performances for free! If you’re not able to help on the night or would prefer to come along and enjoy the events with friends and family, tickets can be purchased here for Bristol and here for Bath.
As Julian House now runs four Social Enterprise Bike Workshops it is only fitting that we have our first cycling event coming up on 3rd July. Teamed up with BikeBath, we are offering discounted places for anyone wanting to cycle any of the 25, 50 and 80 mile routes, in aid of Julian House. Please contact Cathy Adcock at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
Spring is here and the garden at Henrietta Street is coming to life with daffodils, tulips and bluebells planted last year by our volunteer gardener Wendy. Wendy is back most weeks to get the garden in shape and plant our window boxes, which we cannot thank her enough for.
We now have six volunteers to cook meals in the communal kitchen, one of whom has autism and is helped by another volunteer. All of our volunteers have an interest in Autism and currently three of them are students at Bath University. Come June, we will be in need of Volunteer Cook‘s again as sadly three of our student volunteers will be leaving us. If you are interested, and would like to find out more about this particular role, please do get in touch!
2016 April 21 by Jess Lockey
At our Julian House Bike Workshop in Trowbridge , we have been very fortunate to be able to induct Toby into the volunteer team. Before making the decision to start volunteering on a regular basis, Toby successfully completed both the Build-a-Bike course and work placement scheme with the help of Sandra, our Employment Support Worker, and workshop staff. Toby came to the project from a difficult place, having been homeless and experiencing drug and alcohol misuse. With the support of Julian House staff, and his probation officer, as well as a personal drive to make a change, he has gone from strength to strength.
He has said that the programme has enabled him to gain structure in his daily life, providing a realistic goal and purpose. He has also gained key life skills that he hopes to build on as a volunteer. Toby will also be supporting the Build-a-Bike service user sessions on a Tuesday and Thursday, giving back valuable time and skills to Julian House. We are very fortunate to have him on the team, and wish him all the best for the future!
2015 November 5 by Matthew Roberts
|Would you sleep rough for the night?
You’ve got no home. The only place you can turn to is the homeless hostel and they’re full. All they can do is give you a couple of blankets.
Julian House is looking for a small number of individuals, who, in pairs, will be prepared to sleep rough for one night in late November. They will then write about the experience. This is not a sponsored activity and there will be no bacon butties at midnight.
Julian House cannot accept any liability for anyone taking part in the project but they will be extremely grateful for your help.
Contact Cecil Weir – email@example.com
2015 February 25 by Matthew Roberts
Julian House has been shortlisted for the UK Housing Awards 2015.
The awards, which recognise outstanding work by housing organisations to improve the lives of people in their communities, are organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Inside Housing magazine.
Now in their 19th year, this year’s awards attracted more than 250 entries from all over the UK.
Julian House is now one of 5 left in the running for the Diversifying Your Business category.
The winners will be revealed at a ceremony at the Lancaster London Hotel on 21 April and award winning, writer, actress, TV presenter and comedian Sandi Tokvig will present the awards. The awards are sponsored by Campbell Tickell, Capsticks, CHAS, Higgins, The Housing Contact, ISOS, Locality Solutions and NHBC
CIH interim chief executive Gavin Smart said:
“The UK Housing Awards recognise the great work being done by housing professionals and organisations across the industry, but they also push us all to do better as a sector. We hope the achievements of our finalists will inspire others as they aim to provide the best possible services for residents and communities.
“Congratulations to all of the organisations that have been shortlisted, and best of luck for the ceremony – win or lose your work will help inspire us all to improve.”
Emma Maier, editor of Inside Housing, said:
2014 August 19 by Matthew Roberts
This is part 1 of a series of interviews with Julian House staff and the Chief Executive, Peter Denning.
As one of the star players that helped Bath steal the Julian House Challenge Cup last week, I thought I’d start by asking Vinnie if he’d enjoyed the match in Keynsham:
“Yes it was a great match, with all that fighting Bristol talk I thought we were going to have a really hard time! It would be good next time to do something with even wider appeal, like Rounders.”
Vinnie’s job in the Supported Housing Team covers several areas:
“I facilitate the ‘Meaningful Occupation’ groups at the bike workshop and five a side football and support people across four properties in Bath – Ashley Terrace, Walcot Street, Claude Avenue and Peter House.”
Vinnie explained that potential clients are referred to the Supported Housing team through what is called Gateway and various partnering agencies such as Reach. Following an assessment a decision would be made fairly swiftly and if accepted this would then lead to accommodation in one of the several supported housing rooms available.
“I have assessed people in prison over a video link through the probation services, which has been interesting as it can lead to earlier parole dates if accepted into the Peter House service.”
I then asked Vinnie about what he enjoys about the job and what frustrations there are:
“The role can be frustrating when I would like to do more work involving the referral process for example.”
“I get a lot out of helping people to move on into their own accommodation and ensuring that they are not left in an empty shell but are supported in the furnishing of their new home. This is usually the most worrying part for clients along with utility bills, which we refer to Reach for on going support with.”
“It’s also good to see the benefits of MO, there are such positive outcomes like physical fitness and wellbeing through the five a side football, but also confidence, problem solving and a sense of worth through the bike workshop.”
2014 August 19 by Matthew Roberts
Four times a year, the Renew team at Julian House run the Freedom Programme for women at risk, or with experience, of domestic violence. For 12 weeks, attendees of the programme meet to share their experiences and learn to understand and take control of their challenging situations.
The programme always makes a huge impression on the people who attend and the team is accustomed to receiving positive feedback. This time around was no exception with the attendees openly sharing their feelings about how the programme enabled them to change their lives and ensure the safety of their children:
- “It made me realise I don’t deserve the abuse and want to put a stop to it.”
- “It helped me to become confident and understand the abusers tactics”
- “I didn’t realise this was a pattern of behaviour and I didn’t know how intrinsic and insidious the effects were”
- “I’m leaving, moving out with the children”
- “I’m glad I found you, I know I can leave now without being scared stiff”
- “I have learned to value myself I feel empowered and enabled”
- “I’d describe the freedom programme as “Brilliant, educational, supportive and it gives clarity”
- “The programme is one of the best things that I have ever done – its life changing”
- “I really enjoyed the course and I know that the knowledge that I have gained will be of benefit to my organisation and staff in general”
The Freedom Programme was also attended by a female police officer and by the adult safeguarding coordinator from the health and social care company, Sirona.. Both of these influential figures left feeling passionately that the programme had had a huge positive impact on their professional practice.
The outcomes for service users and the knowledge that the service is respected as a source of best practice for other organisations is something that Julian House can be very proud of.
The next Freedom Programme will be running from September to December and more information can be found here.