Humber Help

tackling homelessness & poverty in the Humber region

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:



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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:

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New App launched by Emmaus Hull & ER

Visitors to the World Homelessness Day event in Hull this week were the first to be introduced to Emmaus Hull and East Riding’s latest development – an ‘App’ for smartphones.

Revealing the new venture, app designer Jonny Elshout of VIP Communications said: “I believe this will become a fantastic tool to not only support the great work Emmaus Hull & East Riding do but also help members of the public make a positive change that will effect their community.”

The app has 2 main functions, to support the Street Outreach Team, and to help with the logistics of Emmaus’ social enterprise activities.

The Locate Rough Sleeper section of the app contains a simple form, with the ability to pin your current GPS, designed to be quick and easy to use whilst ensuring Emmaus receive all of the information they need to dispatch a team member to offer support to a rough sleeper in Hull or the East Riding.

The Donate Items section of the app will allow members of the public to request a collection of items they want to donate to Emmaus Hull & East Riding’s warehouse and shops. In this section of the smartphone app people donating items can even add photos of the goods they’re donating. This will allow the logistics team to accurately assess the time needed to process collections, maybe even avoiding wasted trips to look at items that the team cannot accept into the warehouse.

Both sections of the app send information into Emmaus, and then a member of the Emmaus team will contact them. The app is not going to be replacing Emmaus’ friendly face-to-face way of working, it’ll just help to streamline operations on a day-to-day basis.

The app also has internal access to news from the charity, and a link to HumberHelp for wider sector news and resources.

The app is currently available for the Android operating system through Google’s PlayStore – search for Emmaus Hull. The iOS version of the app will be available from Apple’s AppStore within a week or so.

Kelly Finnis, Director of Emmaus Hull and East Riding, shared her excitement about the new app: “We’re not aware of any similar app being used in this way by another charity in the sector. We’re delighted to be pioneering this new way of working which will help us to provide an even better service to those we support and those that support us.”

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Halloween Soup, Hull Veg City

On Wednesday 31st October – Hull city centre.

An invitation from Hull Veg City, a campaign promoted by Hull Food Partnership.

Join us to celebrate the launch of ‘Hull Veg City’, a 12-month campaign to inspire people grow, cook & eat more veg. We’ll be serving up tasty vegetable soup on King Edward St. Hull, 11:30 – 1:30pm on Wednesday 31st October, and giving out info about our exciting campaign!

The Hull Food Partnership is open to everyone working across all sectors of our food systems and culture. Through working together, we support and drive activity to realise our vision of Hull as a Sustainable Food City. It is hosted by Rooted in Hull.

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HumberHelp: V2.0 – we’re refreshed!

No better day than World Homelessness Day 2018 to reveal our new refreshed format, hope you like it – or at least get used to it quickly.

HumberHelp has travelled a long way over the years. It was always designed from my own home computer, using desktop web design software. But, it got too BIG. It had become rather cumbersome to update and upload – maybe a victim of its own success.

In this new, refreshed, format we’ll be able to upload content more easily, and even more quickly.  Much of what we’ve written over the years has been scrapped, so apologies if some of the content you submitted has gone, nothing lasts for ever – it made a great impact in its moment, but I know from ‘analytics’ that older content was no longer getting the attention it once enjoyed.

This new HumberHelp, call it V2.0 if you like, presents us with some great opportunities.

We’ll be publishing more podcasts. Interviews with key sector figures both locally and nationally, and episodes covering themes and issues. Some of these podcast episodes will be recorded in front of a small audience, so look out for our events – they’re likely to be Friday afternoon gatherings at my studio or another convenient/relevant location.

We also now have the opportunity to appoint ‘contributors’, those people and organisations that produce a steady stream of sector news and content. I’ll be approaching some of you to ask if you’d like to become a contributor. Contributors will be able to submit content to HumberHelp directly, pending moderation by me as editor. Chat with me if you’re interested in this.

I know change can be challenging for some, but I hope you like the potential of this new format and the direction we’re going in. It’s always great to have your support, and your feedback is welcome too.

for now, all the best,



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World Homelessness Day 2018

World Homelessness Day is on 10 October 2108.

For the second year running Emmaus Hull and East Riding will be hosting an event at its Lockwood Street (Hull) premises.

This year’s event is looking to build on last year’s successful day with a range of speakers, stalls and opportunities for agencies to engage with each other.

Confirmed speakers for the afternoon part of the day are:

  • Crisis
  • Paul Abbott (East Riding of Yorkshire Council)  (Modern Day Slavery)
  • Kath Goodman(Department for Work and Pensions)
  • Big Issue North
  • Ben Hanson/Dave Richmond(Hull City Council)
  • Julia Jennison (East Riding of Yorkshire Council)
  • Tony Margetts (East Riding of Yorkshire Council) (substance misuse)
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“A national scandal”: 449 people died homeless in the last year.

Please find below an article focusing on the work of the ‘Bureau of Investigative Journalism’ which has been undertaking a detailed piece of work to identify all those who die homeless and to tell their stories.  Their activity has identified 449 deaths of homeless people in the last year but considers this to be an underestimate.

Read the article here:

“A national scandal”: 449 people died homeless in the last year.

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Next day, next day.

What does homelessness feel like?

This short audio story is a ‘verbatim’ piece, edited together and re-recorded following conversations with rough sleepers and other homeless people in Hull.  What you hear in the story are the words of the people I spoke with. Together, their phrases help us to understand not just what homeless is – but what it feels like.

Produced for World Homelessness Day, October 2018.

My thanks to the Emmaus Street Outreach Team in Hull, to the participants that shared their experiences with me, and for the continuing resourcing support of HullHARP.

(Music: Between Worlds, by Aussens@iter)

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Fair System? A Healthwatch ERY Report.

“I have the right to access treatment and register with a GP practice,” says Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire, speaking on behalf of homeless people.


‘Fair System?’ reports on Healthwatch ERY’s own research into whether it is easy for people with no address and no identification to access NHS primary care services in East Yorkshire. A new ‘registration rights card’ has been introduced to empower rough sleepers to access health care, and to remind local GPs of the national guidelines.

Matthew Fawcett, Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire Manager, and Chris Mills, Community Outreach Officer, explain the research and outline the recommendations.

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Johnny Goes Home – a short story

May 2017 is National Storytelling Month. HumberHelp and Emmaus Hull & East Riding have worked together with creative writer Michelle Dee to produce this short story.  Huge thanks to the companions at The Orchard for their trust and openness in sharing aspects of their own lives, upon which this fictional story is based. Enjoy.

Johnny woke up on the floor of a broken lock-up, his cardboard sheets damp with morning. His mouth tastes like fags and stale booze. It’s another typical day in Johnny’s life. Only it isn’t, today he knows is his eighteenth, his mates had plied him with booze until early hours the night before. He shuddered remembering trying to dance on the table, trying to impress Steff the new barmaid. Rubbing his eyes, the right one felt tender to the touch, he remembered falling from the table and smacking his head. Had his mates left after that? Everything was hazy he couldn’t be sure.

Johnny checked his jacket pockets, two nicked stubbies in each one, he’ll have them later. In his jeans he found a good handful of baccy in a scrunched up pouch and a torn rizla pack. Had they really just gone off and left him there? He peered out from underneath the twisted garage door, the sky was grey and uninterested, he sat back down on the cardboard and cracked open a bottle. ‘Happy Bloody Birthday,’ he said out loud, letting the lager pour freely down his throat.

After half an hour of sitting there he’s made a decision. Carefully folding up the baccy, he stands up dizzy from the nicotine and beer rush and sets out for his parents’ house. Surely they’d want to see him on his birthday, his mum at least, wouldn’t they? It wasn’t like last time, he wasn’t asking for anything, well maybe a bit of breakfast, watch the telly in the warm, see Suze if she was in. Susie was his little sister, he didn’t regret much about leaving home, but he missed his little sister. He felt protective over her, in case his bastard father started on her like he’d done on him. Thinking about his dad made Johnny all tense, his head started pumping, his mind racing. He couldn’t think straight and nearly walked into some fella pushing a barrow of veg on Market Street. ‘Wotchit son!’

‘Sod off,’ came the reply from Johnny without thinking. He thought about calling out, telling the bloke he didn’t mean it, but when he looked back the guy had disappeared around the back of the stalls. Johnny trudged wearily towards what had been his home on Finkle Street, up until six months ago. Finkle means twist or bend in Saxon or Viking, Johnny remembered learning that in school, pretty much all he did learn though.

‘Well, well, look what the sea’s dragged up, bin fighting have yer?’ Johnny was stood at the back door, his mum had seen him just as he was about to knock, she looked tired her hair was untidy in a sort of bundle on top of her head. There was washing hanging up, filling the kitchen with a flowery clean smell which suddenly made him aware of his own stink. He hadn’t managed a bath for a week – catching sight of his reflection, he imagined what his mum was picturing. He stood in clothes from the Sally Ally, too big for him, falling off him, torn and ripped and stained with crud, from knocking about the streets, his eye was bruised for sure and his hair hadn’t seen a brush for ages.

‘Come in then, if you’re coming in?’ his mum said cautiously. This wasn’t the best start, but it would do. ‘Your dad’s gone out with Ted to fix the motor on that bleeding bike again.’ Johnny breathed heavily, this meant he would be out for at least a few hours, maybe he and his mum could talk for a bit, spend some time. ‘Go and get cleaned up, I’ll do you a breakfast, bet you haven’t eaten anything have you. There’s a card from your auntie Mo and Suze is up and about somewhere, she was asking after you again last night.’ They’d remembered, they’d remembered it was his birthday.  He felt happy and sad at the same time, but managing a weak smile he headed off up the stairs.

A few hours later Johnny was sat in the front room of his family home. He felt a lot better washed, clean, with a cooked breakfast inside him: bacon, eggs and his favourite, hash browns dipped in barbecue sauce. The clock read twenty to eleven. ‘Here I got you these, they should fit,’ said his Mum handing him a shiny silver parcel. Inside were a brand new pair of jeans and two tee-shirts from the market. Suze had given him a big hug and an iPod, ready loaded with his favourite hip hop artists. Johnny grinned as he stood looking at himself in the hall mirror in his new clobber. Behind him the back door banged open. He spun round and saw his father stood in the doorway in his overalls, hands black from grease and motor oil.

‘Thought you might turn up,’ his Dad said, pointing a grubby finger at Johnny.

‘I thought maybe I could… well sorta, mebbe…’ Johnny struggled to find the words, he just couldn’t talk to his dad anymore.

‘Yer mam’s been spoiling you again as she?’ he demanded staring at Johnny’s new clothes. ’Don’t know why she bothers, you don’t care about us do you, do you?’ his dad said, jabbing his dirty oily finger on the new top. He moved towards Johnny feigning a punch, Johnny dodged the blow but knocked a bowl off the side, sending it crashing to the floor. ’Now look what you done you little prick,’ grinning at his son nastily.

‘Can’t you just leave him alone Frank, just for one day?’ his mum whispered.

‘If you bloody well think it’s alright for him to come waltzing in here whenever he feels like it, well I don’t know what. It’s my bloody house June, my bloody house and my rules: my rules June,’ grabbing her by the wrist and twisting it.  Johnny felt his heart racing, this was exactly why he’d left in the first place. He stepped between his parents and pushed his father as hard as he could, he went flying backwards slamming into the fridge. Johnny saw the first fist coming and ducked low, just as his father’s boot connected with his head. Reeling from the impact, Johnny looked wildly at his mum, then at his Dad, then ran. He ran down the street, then the next street and the next, across the main road without looking, out on to the bypass, before collapsing in a heap on the grass verge. He began punching the ground repeatedly, shouting and yelling at the world.

The noise of the van engine drowned out any chance of interrogation. Johnny had hung about for an hour by the side of the road trying to thumb a lift out of town. He didn’t know where, he didn’t care, he just knew he needed to get out. Some old bloke had picked him up, said he was going North. That would do for a start. The guy’s name was Tommy and he just drove throughout the day, tapping out rhythms with his his fingers on the steering wheel. Early evening Tommy had explained that he wasn’t driving all night, that he was going to pull in at a pub he knew, where the landlady had rooms. Johnny could probably get one for nothing, Tommy had said, if he pulled his weight for a few hours in the cellar, shifting stock and that. Johnny had helped out a bit, and been rewarded for his efforts with a pint and a plate of pub grub. Turned out Tommy was a musician and he actually had a gig that night at this place. His name was written in large letters on a chalkboard ‘Tommy Knight and the Stealers’  ‘Cos we steal every lasses heart who comes to see us,’ Tommy had told him, his eyes full of mischief.

The music was alright, sort of loud rock music with violins in it, people had danced and when he’d explained it was his birthday, a few locals bought him a bunch of drinks. Tommy had wished him a happy birthday from the stage and everyone in the room had cheered and applauded.  Later with the beer loosening his lips, he let slip to Tommy what had gone on earlier. He just nodded and smoked another fag, blowing the smoke out of his nostrils in two long wispy streams. Feeling more confident he told him more stuff about what had gone on at home, how he’d come home to see his mum with a broken tooth and swollen face. ‘Frankie always did have a temper on him mind.’ Tommy said startling Johnny. ‘I’m not excusing him, nobody should hit anybody like, certainly not little June… she was a looker, couldn’t believe it when ya dad hooked up with her.’

‘You, know my dad?’ Johnny had finally managed.

‘Yup sure do, he played a mean trumpet your dad, could do with that sound in the Stealers.’ Over the next hour Johnny learned all about how his dad had played in Tommy’s first band called The Drivers, in his teens. They’d cut a demo and they’d been played on Radio 1 by some bloke called John Peel. ‘Gerrin’ on Peely’s show was better than a number one in the charts any day of the week.’ Tommy talked about the gig circuit, playing cities across the country, even playing in London a few times. It was all going great guns for them when Frank had left the band, after finding out he was going to be a father. ‘Reckon that was round about the time you came along Johnny.’

‘Uhuh hmm yeah.’ Johnny mumbled, his mind reeling with all this new information. His dad had left the group, bought a house and settled down with his mum.

‘He still there is he on Finkle?’

‘Yeah still there,’ Johnny said.

That night in a strange bed in a room above a pub hundreds of miles away from his hometown, Johnny thought about his dad. He’d given up his dream as a musician to support him, from what Tommy was saying they could have been really good, they’d had that radio guy playing them.  It was early hours before Johnny finally fell asleep, a decision and an idea forming in his head.

Johnny Shaw woke up at the sound of the alarm clock, sitting up he heard the sound of the waves crashing against the sea front. He bounced out of bed, he had to be up and out quick, he was Team Leader that day at the homeless project. He showered, dressed quickly, grabbed his mail from the door.  He recognised his mum and his sister’s handwriting on two of the envelopes, birthday cards to be sure. Johnny would be twenty-one today but celebrating could wait, celebrating could come later. Susie was coming up to visit, he couldn’t wait to show her around the quiet little town he now called home, to introduce her to his work colleagues, and show her what he had made of himself. It would be a great weekend.

After that night in the pub with Tommy, he’d hung about with the band, then at the end of the week on the return trip with Tommy, Johnny had checked in to a homeless shelter himself and enrolled in college, choosing to study music. Turned out he had a knack for writing lyrics. Eventually he found himself doing workshops with young adults like himself, who were in danger of falling through the cracks. He decided that he’d make his parents proud of him, proud of his achievements. It wasn’t easy, but he’d worked hard and now was beginning to reap the rewards. The relationship with his dad hadn’t improved all that much, they could sit in the same room without going for each other now, which was a vast improvement. Susie was pretty certain that he didn’t hurt their mum anymore.  Johnny knew he couldn’t control his parents relationship, Johnny couldn’t make everything rosy in the family, but he could try and change his life for the better. It was a typical day in Johnny’s life as headed out to make music, write lyrics and tell stories, to a bunch of noisy teenagers.


Michelle Dee – writer.

Emmaus Hull & East Riding.

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