tackling homelessness & poverty in the Humber region

Author: editor

The National Archives of the Republic of the Homeless – Artlink exhibition

June 29th @ 10:00 am – August 29th @ 4:00 am, Artlink Hull

Artist Vanessa Cardui has spent six months working with members of Hull’s homeless community and Artlink on a project that has become the exhibition, The National Archives of the Republic of the Homeless. This project will go on show at Artlink Hull from June to August 2019.

June 29th @ 10:00 amAugust 29th @ 4:00 am, Artlink, Princes Avenue, Hull

Vanessa writes:

“The Republic of the Homeless is a little-known state that coexists in parallel with every country in the world. Many of us have lived there; we keep dual citizenship for life. This Republic has a National Archives – a collection of stuff kept for posterity that is somehow about the experience of being without a home. It’s a dispersed Archives, held worldwide by individual people who have lived the experience of being homeless. The trouble with our National Archives is like most other archives everywhere – it’s disorganised, uncatalogued, and underfunded. Although some people are working hard to bring it together, nobody really knows what there is. We have begun to catalogue a particular collection within the Archives – artworks made by homeless and ex-homeless artists and makers in Hull in the 21st century. In this, we confront questions of value, authenticity, belonging, and loss, and explore how anyone’s history can get lost and buried when we fall out of normativity in some way, but even so, we preserve it, under the radar.”

Funded by The Hudgell Trust and Arts Council England
In partnership with the Museum of Homelessness, Westbourne House and the Hull Homeless Community Project

With thanks also to Project Hotdog, and to the homeless and ex-homeless people of Hull.

Website: Artlink Hull

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SGS Apprentices Collect Essential Items for Hull Homeless Community Project

Items donated to HHCP by SGS apprentices and colleagues.

SGS Packaging Europe has three busy offices in Hull, with a combined workforce of around 500 specialists. To reflect its commitment to high-quality training, in 2018 it launched its apprenticeship programme, presenting an exciting way to enter the industry and begin a fulfilling career.

There are currently 16 apprentices working at SGS offices in The Maltings and Bridgehead Business Park. Alongside in-house training, one-to-one mentoring and regular development days, they have also been given ownership over a series of community projects taking place throughout 2019. Ranging from fundraising activities to hands-on community support, the four chosen charities benefitting from this are Hull Homeless Community Project (HHCP), Yorkshire Cancer Research, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind and Aaron’s Battle.

Since early February, the SGS apprentices have been encouraging their colleagues to donate everyday items to collection bins that were placed in the canteens on both sites. Everything donated is being handed over to HHCP to help with the organisation’s Move On project, which transitions individuals and families who have experienced homelessness into safe and comfortable independent living. After three months of SGS staff popping an extra item into their shopping trolleys, together they have accumulated dozens of products that will make a world of difference to HHCP’s service users.

“All kinds of items were donated,” says Nicola Ashton, who manages the apprenticeship programme. “They range from toiletries such as deodorant and toothbrushes, to baby wipes, canned foods, towels, cleaning products and bedding.”

Meanwhile, the apprentices have been organising a range of other activity to further support the four charities. From a promise auction where staff could bid on goods and services such as homemade cakes and dog walking sessions, to selling bags of heart-shaped sweets for Valentine’s Day, the fundraising pot is steadily growing. 

Nicola adds: “They even joined HHCP for a full day to turn a dilapidated flat into a bright and welcoming home by cleaning, painting and decorating every inch of it. This was for a woman who had experienced traumatic abuse and exploitation, creating a safe environment for her to move on and start a fresh chapter.”

Andrew Smith, CEO at HHCP, is also delighted with their attitude and support: “The apprentices are at an age where they’re in a great position to better understand their place in the community. They’re becoming more aware of others around them, feeding their hunger for learning about social issues, and discovering how they can make a difference on a daily basis.”

The apprentices are now looking for local businesses that can help them to deliver additional events during 2019. If you’re interested in collaborating or donating a prize, please get in touch at information@sgsco.com.

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More help for Hull’s rough sleepers

A doorway home for one of Hull’s rough sleepers, but new help is now available too. Photo: Jerome Whittingham

Hull City Council’s commitment to alleviating the problem of rough sleeping in the city has taken another step forward, thanks to a successful grant application to the Rapid Rehousing Pathway 2019 – 20 fund.

The £728,000 will go towards creating an assessment hub. Outreach workers will refer rough sleepers to the hub where workers co-located from a range of services will assess their needs and advise and support individuals to secure accommodation and the support services they need.  The hub will provide a safe place to stay for a short period while full assessments relating to housing, health and finances are completed. The assessments will inform support plans and accommodation matching to ensure that the right support is provided in the most appropriate type of housing.

The new money will also be used to develop more supported lettings in the city. Ten furnished flats will be made available to rough sleepers assessed by the hub for supported living. They will have the support of a Tenancy Sustainment Officer who will oversee their personal development and the tenants can stay in this temporary accommodation as long as it takes to develop skills for independent living and until they can get permanent settled accommodation.

The final element of the funding will help to  establish a Local Lettings Agency to work with landlords in the private rented housing sector. The purpose is to establish a portfolio of properties within the city for letting to homeless people or those at risk of homelessness.

The annual rough sleep count recorded 26 people sleeping rough in Hull. 20 people have been identified as regular rough sleepers by the outreach team. 118 people accessed the council’s emergency beds/Dock House in the three months from 1 November 2018.

Cllr John Black, Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “This is great news and will go a long to enhancing the council’s current provision for rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping on the streets. It means that they get the support they need quickly and a personalised pathway – from being on the streets through to having sustained accommodation. The government have agreed to fund our bid as they were impressed by the way that the public sector pulls together in Hull to meet the complex needs of people who are sleeping rough and because of the vision we demonstrated in taking this further.”

[Hull City Council news]

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The TalkSuicide campaign encourages people to complete short online suicide prevention training

Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership urges people in Hull and Humber complete a free suicide prevention online training programme, and improve support for those suffering from suicidal thoughts.

The Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership has launched the #TalkSuicide campaign to encourage people to complete a free 20-minute online suicide prevention training programme. 

The #TalkSuicide campaign urges people in Hull to visit www.talksuicide.co.uk to complete the video-based training, so they can learn life-saving skills and improve the support network for those struggling with suicidal thoughts.   

The Zero Suicide Alliance – a group of NHS Trusts, businesses and individuals committed to suicide prevention – has created the training to help people spot signs in people experiencing suicidal thoughts, and equip them with the information and skills to help them help these people.

There were 5,821 registered suicides in the UK in 2017 – more than one death every two hours – with the Yorkshire and Humber region having some of the highest suicide rates in England.  Mental health issues and financial problems are some of the biggest contributing factors to suicide. 

National statistics show that suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 50. Men accounted for three quarters of suicides registered in 2017, while those aged between 45-49 are considered to be most at risk.  

Anyone can undertake the training, which only takes 20 minutes to complete, at www.talksuicide.co.uk 

Completing the training will help you to: 

  • Spot signs in people experiencing suicidal thoughts 
  • Feel comfortable speaking about suicide in a supportive manner 
  • Signpost individuals suffering from suicidal thoughts to the correct services or support

Visit www.talksuicide.co.uk to complete the video-based suicide prevention training and learn more about the #TalkSuicide campaign. 

Michele Moran, Chair of the Humber, Coast and Vale Mental Health Partnership Board and Chief Executive at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Each death by suicide is a terrible loss and a tragedy for everybody involved. By taking just 20 minutes to complete the online training, you could help save someone from taking their own life. The training will help you to be better in identifying suicidal thoughts and behaviour and give you the information to direct them to the most appropriate support services.” 

Jo Kent, Humber, Coast and Vale Suicide Prevention Lead said: “The #TalkSuicide and Zero Suicide Alliance websites have plenty of material to help businesses and organisations incorporate this training into their workplace. We’re calling on individuals and businesses alike to encourage their friends, family, colleagues or employees to complete the online training – because knowing what to do and say in the right situation really can help to save a life.”

If you need urgent help, or if you’re worried about the mental or emotional state of yourself or someone you know, help is available from the following services: 

  • Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123 or e-mail  jo@samaritans.org
  • CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably – for men call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day – Visit the webchat page
  • PAPYRUS (support for young people) Freephone 0800 068 4141 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org
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The NCC Benevolent Fund – financial support for people that have worked in the caravan industry

The NCC Benevolent Fund – financial support for people that have worked in the caravan industry

The NCC Benevolent Fund is a registered charity and has been supporting people that work in the caravan industry for over 40 years, when they are facing a financial crisis.  However, few in the industry are aware of the fund and what it can do to help. 

The Fund was established by key caravan industry leaders, with the aim of helping anyone connected to the caravan industry who found themselves for various reasons in challenging circumstances or experiencing financial difficulties. Since then the fund has helped with grants for people like Craig* who was behind with his bills after his wife passed away, or Peter* who needed a mobility scooter when he lost mobility through a sudden illness. 

Benevolent Fund Manager, Melanie Day wants to increase the reach of the fund, to ensure that everyone that has contributed to the industry past or present, can access financial help when a crisis occurs: 

 “With a workforce of over 130,000 people in caravan-related industries, we know we could be helping many more people who are facing some of life’s toughest challenges. To do this, we need to raise awareness of the fund. 

“The NCC Benevolent Fund is the only charitable organisation that directly supports those from within the industry. It’s unique and we’re hoping that we can work with more organisations to help us raise awareness of the fund and the support we can offer.”

The fund provides one off grants to support people through difficult times, such as illness, job loss or as a result of unexpected caring responsibilities. The grants are a financial donation that do not need to be repaid, giving people the peace of mind that the fund can support them, without driving them further into debt.  

For more information or to find out how you can get involved email info@nccbf.org.uk or visit www.nccbenevolentfund.org.uk 

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Food sharing app aims to fight food waste & hunger at Christmas

OLIO aims to reduce food waste and tackle hunger at Christmas

“Food sharing is a behaviour as old as time, but it’s something of a lost practice – we want to bring it back,” says Cara Bilson, Hull Market Maker for food sharing app OLIO.

“Not only can food sharing help us in the fight against climate change, and help us to support families over the Christmas period, it can also help us to reconnect with our local communities,” Cara explains.

In 2017 UK families were projected to spend £4.2 billion on food and drink in the week before Christmas (see The Guardian 12/12/2017), with approximately £1 billion worth of this food being thrown away.

Cara adds: “While this waste occurs, hundreds & thousands of children will not wake up to Christmas presents – they will wake up hungry. Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, but for millions of families, it’s a time of stress, hunger and uncertainty. It doesn’t have to be this way.

“Our food sharing app OLIO hopes to tackle the twin evils of hunger and food waste. It does this by connecting neighbours with each other, and volunteers with local shops, so that surplus food can be shared not thrown away.

“I have been building the food sharing revolution in Hull for the last 6 months now and it’s been going from strength to strength. We have 4,190 users who have shared over 10,800 portions of food with each other! This is an amazing achievement, especially when you imagine that amount of food all in one room together, you can really envision the impact that OLIO is having.

“While there is an outrageous amount of avoidable waste, there are also people in our Hull communities who are going to bed hungry. Therefore, we want to spread the word about OLIO, to offer families an alternative to throwing food in the bin when it’s not going to be eaten.”

Help reduce waste, tackle hunger and build community in Hull this Christmas by downloading the free food sharing app OLIO.

[Cara Bilson is Hull Market Maker for OLIO]

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A warm & safe home for all this Christmas & winter

SASH provides Nightstop and Supported Lodgings schemes across the region.

Local youth homelessness prevention charity SASH is taking part in ‘The Big Give’ fundraising campaign this winter to ensure that no young person is left homeless. The Big Give is the UK’s biggest online matched donor campaign which can match donations £ for £. 

Christmas should be a time of joy & spent with loved ones. Sadly, for young homeless people it can be a time of extreme loneliness & isolation. This year SASH, is aiming to raise £12,500 by December 4th to ensure all young people facing homelessness throughout North and East Yorkshire have a safe and warm place to stay.  

The charity has already received £6,250 in pledges and is halfway to reaching its £12,500 target but urgently needs to raise more to reach its target.  All donations have the opportunity to be doubled and would be very welcomed.  Donations will be used to ensure young people have a warm and safe place to stay in a volunteer’s home; are able to access 24/7 care over the festive period and receive a Christmas present and meal with the opportunity to get involved in festive activities such as the panto & ice-skating; things they may never normally get to do.

Local property developers the Helmsley Group have already supported the campaign with an initial gift of £3,125.  Committed supporter of SASH, Chair John Reeves said: “It’s our pleasure to support SASH, which has such worthy aims and helps local youngsters when they are at their most vulnerable, especially at Christmas, when everyone deserves a decent roof over their head.”  Another additional £3,125 has been pledged through charitable trust The Four Acres and SASH is now urging the public to get involved to raise an additional £6,250.  

Anyone interested in the campaign can donate online for one week only from 12 midday on the 27th November – 12 midday on the 4th December.  Donations must be made by card payment via the Big Give website at https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/30215

Ruth Fawcett, Business Development Manager at SASH said: “all donations will be gratefully received and will help to ensure that no young person has to be alone or homeless during what should be a time of joy and happiness.  We urge anyone interested in the campaign to donate online or get in touch for more information.”

SASH website

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Free Flow – a new project will be tackling period poverty in the city.

‘Free Flow’ is a project currently being developed by Stephanie Darnes.  Its aim is to tackle period poverty, and also to educate all women about the environmental impact of sanitary products, showing that there are alternatives which are kinder to women and kinder to the planet too.

In this podcast interview Stephanie describes how the project came about, and why it is important. She describes in detail the alternatives to expensive sanitary products, showing how these alternatives can help women to save money and to feel more empowered. We also discuss, briefly, the ‘tampon tax’, a tax on being a woman.

There has been a great deal of talk about period poverty in the last couple of years.  This project will help us to understand more about the issue, and to respond in a positive and helpful way.

Stephanie is holding an information event at 7pm on 14th January 2019, in The Annexe at the Community Enterprise Centre on Cottingham Road.

Contact Stephanie at: thefreeflowprojecthull@gmail.com

[Jerome, Editor]

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Complex multiple needs require joined-up solutions. RHM provides a ‘road map’ to recovery for its clients, thanks to working partners.

[Jerome Whittingham, Editor]

RHM is a registered charity, and has been working in Hull for about 7 years. Its mission is to restore people who are living chaotic lives, especially those in the grip of addiction and dependency, many of whom are homeless or living in the city’s hostels.

 

Paul Linley RHM

Paul Linley, Director of RHM Hull.

The charity is directed by Paul Linley, who has much experience of the needs of people in this sector.  In the last couple of years the charity has established some very firm working relationships with other organisations.  RHM oversees counselling to clients by accommodating student counsellor placements from East Riding College, some of these students have stayed with RHM as volunteer counsellors after qualifying.  Selby Street Mission in west Hull now hosts RHM’s office and counselling space, providing additional support for visitors to the Mission’s food bank, drop-ins, and showering facilities.  Finally, for homeless clients that are ready and actively engaging with recovery, RHM now works with the Methodist Church’s International House to offer a number of rooms in supported accommodation.  This partnership-working approach is delivering numerous positive outcomes.

Paul explains: “Taking on these counselling students, we’ve really been able to help people in desperate need with their mental health problems. Some of our clients are also homeless and in terrible destitution, so it’s great that we can also offer a small number of people rooms at International House.  We’re giving stability to 10 people that have been living very chaotic lives.  We’re friendly and we’re open, we accept anyone and everyone. The people that come to us soon feel like they belong to a community, that helps them make relationships.  We provide them with a safe place in which they can build their self-esteem and self-worth.  They get the encouragement they need and can be part of society again.”

The partnerships RHM has developed have given the charity a solid foundation, becoming a prominent provider of addiction recovery support in the city.  The counselling placements have been key in allowing the charity to make such an impact on their clients.  Initially RHM offered student counsellor placements to 3 people, but early success saw this number rise to 6 placements, and the clients are clearly benefitting.

Lizzie Paterson was a student studying for a counselling qualification with East Riding College.  She completed her required 100 placement hours with RHM, and is now a fully qualified counsellor.  She has stayed with RHM, currently offering her counselling skills voluntarily to clients.  She is passionate about continuing her work with the charity.

Lizzie says: “The work here is really worthwhile, I see that the clients get a real lot out of it.  The people that come here don’t have homes, and people, and support networks around them, the things that we all take for granted.  I’ve been working with RHM for about a year and a half, some of my clients I’ve had 30 or 40 hours with, some of the success stories have been just amazing.  People have gone from thinking there is no hope and no way forward, to starting to build good relationships with people, and start to get their lives back on track, to trust in themselves and just keep building on it.”

Lizzie’s delight in her success with RHM is amplified by Tal Raven, Counselling Tutor at East Riding College: “We are delighted to be working with RHM, it has been a very fruitful partnership.  Our students have accessed very valuable placement opportunities, working with real clients.  Our students are supported and encouraged in the volunteering, and our teaching staff work really well with RHM.”

Selby Street Mission, Hull

Selby Street Mission, Hull.

The partnership with Selby Street Mission has also strengthened RHM’s work, the Mission has built an extra counselling room within the premises, and there are further plans for more refurbishment being explored too.  Helping to direct the work of Selby Street Mission is Sue Trotter, one of a very small team of mission enablers volunteering with the Methodist Church to make this often overlooked part of the city a better place for residents to live.

A few years ago Selby Street Mission started a job club, aiming to help people into work.  Whilst there were successes, several people were offered casual jobs with supermarkets for example, there were many disappointments too.  “Many people were just not ‘job ready’, they were suffering from addictions to alcohol and to drugs,” says Sue. “We realised that we needed somebody who could come in and help people out of addictions, out of the problems that were stopping them from living. We decided to work in partnership with Paul at RHM, and it’s been brilliant.”

Sue explains further: “We know that once we get people onto RHM courses and counselling, they then have an opportunity for a room at International House.  We can see the progression – somebody comes in off the street, through the addictions counselling, then gets a room, then gets a job.”

Few people can ‘get back on track’ without the stability of having a place they can call home, a place to feel safe and secure, in which they can be themselves, dealing with personal issues at their own pace, but with guidance and support.  International House, another Methodist Church project in west Hull, now offers a small number of rooms to RHM clients, knowing that RHM will provide dedicated support to residents.

International House Hull

International House, Hull.

Kathryn Davis, manager and support worker at International House, explains why they are willing to partner with RHM: “Paul understands what we’re about. 10 of our rooms are given to First Steps. These are people who have identified that they want to change their lives. So Paul came on board, and RHM have helped massively. Once people are in the house, Paul will do a care plan with them as part of their recovery aims.  Then RHM provide groups, such as a 12-step course, and counselling opportunities, as well as social events – they’re a morale boost as well. RHM provides these people with ‘discipline’ and ‘structure’.  Paul has his expectations of the residents, and the residents know what these are, as RHM set very clear boundaries.  In terms of conquering dependencies, it’s a slow slow process, but I can see a real difference in the residents from the day they come in.  The difference RHM makes to people is immense, getting people back on track and going in the right direction.  It takes as long as it takes, but we’re happy with that, because our residents are in a better place, more motivated.  So yes, RHM’s counselling support is definitely good for them.  They’re becoming happy, healthy and content people that will conquer their issues, and move on in life.”

We often hear that society is breaking down, and that communities are increasingly divided.  To see joined-up working of this sort, by RHM and its partners, is refreshing.  This partnership is providing a ‘road map’ out of despair for the people that they encounter.  Each partner organisation also benefits, sharing skills and resources, reducing stress upon staff and volunteers, and sustaining their work despite increasing financial challenges.  The issues and problems encountered in the homelessness sector will be answered by ‘solutions people’ such as these.

For more information about the work of RHM, Registered Charity Number: 1150229:

website: www.rhm.org.uk

email: office@rhm.org.uk

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Are you alright mate?

On 13th November, 2018.

 

Are you alright mate? is a half-day workshop looking at men’s emotional health and is aimed at anyone with an interest in the topic of men’s mental health – members of the public & health professionals. The session will explore ways in which we can encourage more open talk about men’s mental health, and get the message out there that it’s ok for men to not be ok.

The event will offer an opportunity to hear a range of local thought provoking speakers and a visiting keynote speaker with a particularly powerful message.

Keynote speaker – Geoff McDonald

With 25 years experience working for global company Unilever, Geoff tells a fascinating and powerful story about an episode in his own life which has caused him to become a very active campaigner breaking the stigma associated with Mental Health.

Geoff has participated in a number of BBC programmes and campaigns regarding this subject, as well as writing and producing articles. He previously convened a meeting at No 10 Downing Street with David Cameron and CEOs from Footsie 100 Companies to address their role and agree actions to break stigma in the corporate world. He too provided some support to the Royal Foundation in their mental health campaign.

There will also be chance to visit a range of stalls from services and community groups connected to men’s emotional wellbeing.

Book your place via eventbrite, here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/are-you-alright-mate-tickets-50356784498?invite=&err=29&referrer=&discount=&affiliate=&eventpassword

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