Our homelessness drop-ins provide showers, clean clothes and laundry services for rough sleepers and those in temporary accommodation. They also provide hands-on support to apply for benefits, access housing and help with physical and mental health. This Spring, our Gateshead drop-in has also become a gateway to access the charity’s new well-being coach Irene, part of our services aimed at preventing homelessness.
Seeds of hope
Based at Basis drop-in on Warwick Street, part of Irene’s work is in the adjoining charity garden with people who have multiple barriers to work and education; helping to develop the skills and the confidence for people to get back on the ladder to training and employment.
Homelessness support is more than a bed for the night; it’s about putting in safety nets and support aimed at preventing homelessness and rough sleeping in the first place – and that’s what many of our services, including Irene’s wellbeing work, is all about.
William* has been supported by Oasis Community Housing over many years while he’s battled with alcoholism and homelessness.
William’s struggle with alcohol lasted more than 18 years, but with the support of Oasis Community Housing and Edge he has been sober now for two and a half years. He has regained custody of his two children, who he loves talking about, and is back on his feet.
He comes to the new garden at Basis Gateshead to volunteer and give something back to the community. He enjoys planting flower bulbs and beams with smiles and positivity.
Ashleigh Jewitt, Project worker at the Gateshead drop-in, explains why the well-being side of homelessness support is so important:
“When people first come to the drop in they can be really sad and disillusioned. We help them fill in forms and, of course, offer showers and fresh clothes but it’s so lovely to introduce them to Irene.
“To see people out in the garden relaxed and smiling. Laughing and just having a nice time. It’s also great that it gives them the confidence to take steps towards volunteering with other organisations.
“When they get involved in the wellbeing work you just really start to see them thrive.”
“Getting off alcohol,” William explains, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but with support around you and people you trust, you can’t fail.”
“A ray of sunshine”
In his own words, William says he is ‘a success story’ and, “Wherever I go, everyone loves me – I’m a ray of sunshine!”
William reminds us that sometimes good things really do take time. But with ongoing support, huge changes can and are being made.