MC Plan and Site Services are delighted to support Routes to Roots with their new centre in the heart of Poole.
R2R is run by a mix of volunteers of health and other outreach workers, local company employees, church members and students, with just two, paid part-time staff. Their aim is to work together to turn around the lives of those without secure housing in Poole.
Though people will be familiar with the terms; rough sleepers or outdoor sleepers, these are just a part of the homeless problem. Many have been identified as the hidden homeless, who have nowhere permanent to live but sofa surf between friends and family. Others are vulnerably housed and need ongoing help and support to maintain that accommodation and not regress into homelessness, for various reasons.
From humble beginnings, operating out of a restricted space at the United Reformed Church in Skinner Street, at the beginning of this year – during the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis - they acquired more suitable premises at a former Baptist Church where they have already held their first drop-ins. The long term objective is to open seven days a week and increase the outreach services offered, including financial advice, training and other opportunities to help their clients move back into the community - Lasting change, at last.
Mark Cook, MD of MC Plan and Site Services said: “The new property is in need of substantial refurbishment, including new heating, insulation, kitchen, showers, laundry room and office space. We’ve already been supported by local companies with whom we have great relationships, such as Lilliput Electrical to assist with these works and the aim is to complete the project, ready for occupation by Autumn 2020 in readiness for the winter months. In Poole, there is no winter shelter and the only provision for rough sleepers is SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol), which provides sleeping accommodation when the temperature is below zero for three consecutive days.”
Until recently, the charity has been able to provide five drop-ins per week, structured as three lunchtime sessions and two evenings where they provide basic necessities such as showers, hot food, clothing and sleeping bags. Also offering access to the Poole addictions team, mental health workers, Poole rough sleeper outreach team and housing advisers, they work tirelessly to help their clientele.
Over the past five years, R2R has offered temporary supported housing for verified rough sleepers at three-bedroomed Amos House working closely with the local authorities to nurture towards independent accommodation.
In the last year alone, 267 individuals attended our five drop-ins; 34 rough sleepers were provided with hot breakfasts throughout the winter months and three former rough sleepers progressed through Amos House into their own accommodation (to be replaced by three more off the streets).
Mark added: “Here at MC we are passionate about supporting local homeless and mental health charities. The R2R drop-ins provide an incredibly important facility. The clients wish to engage with the facility and very often bring complex issues to the table. It’s all about being human and providing a safe environment for those less fortunate than ourselves.”
Jude Brooks, UK Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Aviva, said: “We know that even the smallest charities can have a massive impact in building stronger communities. We are extremely proud to support Routes to Roots and look forward to enabling them to bring their idea to life.” The fund is open for donations until 22 July and they hope to raise £10,000 towards the refurbishment of their Hill Street building.
MC Plan and Site Services are providing their services free of charge for the project. They will be providing building control services, project management from start to finish and consultancy services in relation to accessibility and regular site inspections throughout the process.
Helen Cook of MC said: “We are delighted to support the R2R at no cost to the charity. As a company, we are very passionate about supporting local charities such as this and will assign a surveyor to follow the project through from beginning to end. For us, in Poole, this is also something very close to our hearts, an extremely valuable cause in what this charity is trying to do for homelessness in Poole.”
MC Plan & Site Services Ltd is a fully insured, award-winning Independent Corporate Approved Inspector, licenced and regulated by the Construction Industry Council (“CIC”) to carry out building control throughout England and Wales.
For more information visit www.mcplanandsiteservices.co.uk or telephone 01202 744966.
“They helped me get housing through Poole Council. Then I was in the hospital and they came to see me. Which was amazing. I know they are always there, even if I don’t need them at the moment. They are just magnificent people.” Philip, former Amos House resident
"I'd just like to say a big thank you from my personal journey. Four years ago I was homeless on the streets of Poole and you guys gave me hope and support. I'm forever grateful to the amazing people I met. Thankfully I'm now clean and sober (4yrs) and without the food and clothes and happy people I saw every day when I came for lunch I don't think I would have had faith and hope to keep going. Also, you welcomed my dog jock. He was always fed and loved and that was important as he was my life and part of my street life so thank you again.” Lorraine, a former client
“R2R is amazing, a big help. It has helped me with benefit problems in the past. I meet new people at the drop-ins and it gives me something to do. I am currently unemployed. I complete volunteer work, but on the days I am not volunteering it keeps me occupied and stops me being bored stiff. It is good to meet new people; there is a good atmosphere. I meet people whose situation is a lot worse than mine. It makes me realise I am lucky. R2R is not just for the homeless. It is for people who have got problems in all areas. You can use R2R to help you with other problems such as drug and alcohol problems.