Change grants awarded to Riverside to help end homelessness

Helen Gore is Riverside's Head of Supported HousingBy: Helen Gore, Riverside’s Head of Supported Housing

To help us continue to transform the lives of the people living in our supported services, we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded with a total of £400,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Homelessness Change fund for 2016.

We have been granted £250,000 to transform our Willow Walk homeless services in Cambridge into a re-enablement centre in line with the PIE framework. The scheme’s new design serves to enhance outcomes for customers as they identify alternative futures and ambitions, and direct how they would like to use our support in order to achieve those goals, whether it be rebuilding relationships or improving their health or becoming drug-free. The new design will also make the space more open and welcoming, demonstrate respect and value placed on those using the service, in tern reducing challenging behaviours and promoting positive change.

Another of our Liverpool supported housing services, The Powerhouse, which helps young people aged 16-t0-25-years-old to get their lives back on track and into independent accommodation and employment or training, will benefit from £150,000 from the government fund. This will also enable us to complete our delivery of a psychologically informed environment at the scheme. The reception area will be open and inviting and the multifunctional training room will have a revamp as a space to implement our Programmes of Support.

These improved physical spaces, coupled with our teams delivering coaching approaches to support people to make positive changes, will lead to sustainable and healthier futures for homeless people.

Jason*, in his early twenties, spent time sofa surfing after the breakdown in his family relationships before moving to The Powerhouse last year. He had suffered from mental health issues and used cannabis and legal highs to cope with his anxiety and depression. The support team at The Powerhouse helped Jason to schedule and attend appointments with drug agencies and other health services. Recently, Jason applied for a training course to make steps towards a more positive future. He has shown commitment to learning, which in turn has helped him manage his anxiety and other aspects of his behvaior in a better way. Last month, Jason stopped using cannabis and legal highs altogether. He has made steps to improve his appearance, and, with Riverside’s support, is looking forward to independent living.

The improvements at Willow Walk and The Powerhouse are part of our dedication to continually enhance our services for customers this year. Our supported housing brings together best practice from the sector as well as innovative delivery methods. It is based on positive psychology and evidence-based programmes, so we know it works.