Church Homeless Trust

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Launch of country’s first adult foyer for homeless people

Date posted: 11 Mar 2014

Church Housing Trust recently attended the opening of a unique new resource for homeless people that links accommodation to employment. Housing supplier Riverside’s adult foyer The Springs, in Victoria Road, Cambridge, was officially opened on 7 March by the Deputy Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr George Pippas.

At the ceremony, Cllr Pippas unveiled a plaque commemorating the occasion and gave certificates to William Hack, Andrew Hands and Keith Hampton, some of the foyer’s first successful trainees. He commented “I feel inspired by all I have seen [at the Victoria Road projects].”

Cllr Catherine Smart, council member Ben Greening and Riverside Area Manager Kevin Scanlon also spoke about the importance and impact of The Springs, which will combine the housing and emotional support occupants receive with the condition that they enter into education, training or employment. Finally, resident Keith Hampton came forward to explain that when he was at his “lowest ebb” the foyer and its staff were there for him. “With the help and strength I’ve received from The Springs I have landed a position with a company. I can only say thank you for being there for me.”

Visitors were then given a tour of The Springs, including the new gym, IT room and redecorated flats, and its neighbour Victoria House, which has a refurbished reception and further supported housing. Support worker Chris McDermott said that the new furnishings have already made a huge difference “People are much calmer; the residents really like it.”

Describing the unique approach of The Springs, Kevin Scanlon comments “The activities residents take part in range from tailored volunteering opportunities and accredited training, through to building confidence for interviews and access to work placements in Riverside’s new bicycle repair social enterprise, WonderGears, which will be officially launched in spring.

“Traditional foyers have been very successful at meeting young people’s needs, so we have transformed the approach to work for homeless people who also struggle with accessing the right sort of support and training.”

The Springs is part of Riverside’s £1.8 million redevelopment of the site at Victoria Road. The original homeless service at Victoria Road has been replaced with a campus-style site comprised of three different centres: Cherry House, a resource and information hub; The Victoria Project, a specialist support centre for homeless people with medium to high support needs who may still be addressing a range of addiction or mental health issues; and The Springs, for those with low support needs who are ready to move on with their lives.

Church Housing Trust helped fund the new gym at The Springs and the set up of Riverside’s new bicycle repair social enterprise, Wondergears. If you’d like to help us do more, please make a donation.

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