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Posted by in News on

Six months on from completing the Routes to Roots Pillar Programme, Andrew who helped with communications, has some news for you all…

Hello everybody.

It’s been a while since I wrote a piece for the newsletter and I thought I could do an update
for you all.

What a winter so far and very challenging for a rough sleeper.
Lots of rain and very strong winds, also two very cold spells leading to S W E P protocol being called
and up to twelve people staying at the Genesis Centre at night.
I stayed one night the first time and three nights the second, and it was a warm and dry place to be.
So huge thanks to Routes to Roots, Ben and the volunteers that made it all possible.

What have I been doing lately.
Well a year has gone by since I first came here and that feels a bit odd. A whole year gone.
I think my well being and life have been given a positive boost by helping out here sometimes and also volunteering at the soup run five nights a week.
Structure, meaning and positivity all good for well being..

The future.
Planning for the future has been in progress and with help from Ben and Tracy at Routes to Roots and very proactive encouragement, I now have a job.

Yes a job.

Being homeless is not a barrier to getting a job, but it definitely does not make it easy.
My own fear of rejection and my age being against me made me unsure I wanted to put myself through the rejection.
Well a couple of upsets to start but good support from everyone and some prayers helped me stay on track and just be me.
And that is why I have a job by just being me.
I was noticed at the train station and how I behaved and interacted with people travelling through on their journeys.
It led to a job offer of two days a week which I have now started.
Just what I wanted.
The start of a plan that might take a couple of years to show and the result I want,
A place to call home.

Everyone involved at Routes to Roots has in some way helped me on this new venture and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Posted by in Events, Fundraising on

Making a Difference in Our Community!

What an amazing afternoon we had with Ojo’s Woodfired Pizza. Thank you so much to Ollie and Joe for coming down to the Genesis Centre and supplying delicious pizza to the homeless and vulnerably housed of Poole.

A huge thank you to all of those who contributed to Ojo’s ‘Slice of Support’ campaign – it gave joy to so many. A Slice Of Support supports local charities in the amazing work that they do. Ojo’s goal is to take donations from their customers and website visitors either online or at their events. These donated funds then enable them to cook at locations to serve those who either find it difficult to afford food or to those who deserve it the most in the community and they charge them nothing.

Brilliant work guys – making a positive impact, one slice at a time!

If your business or organisation would like to make a difference to the lives of those experiencing homelesness, please get in touch.

Posted by in News on

With recent freezing temperatures both before and after Christmas, SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) has been called over certain periods. SWEP aims to help vulnerable people who are rough sleeping when severe weather threatens their safety.

Due to an incredible amount of hard work by our volunteers and the Genesis Centre Manager Ben, with support from workers from St Mungos, we were able to offer 12 rough sleepers beds during these periods.

This has meant so much to our charity.

When Routes to Roots started over 20 years ago, it was a dream to have their own building to provide more services to those in desperate need.

Through the incredible support of the local community that dream came true with the opening of the Genesis Centre in 2021.

After securing our own building, one objective was to be able to offer shelter to the homeless during the most challenging weather conditions. During these particularly difficult times this has now became a reality.

We would not be able to do this without your support. Because of you, 12 people have had a warm bed on these freezing nights. Because of you, we can continue to show care and compassion to those that feel there is none left.

Thank you for making our dreams and goals happen. Thank you for thinking of others.

Posted by in Events, Fundraising, News, Our Supporters on

Wow! It’s been an incredibly busy time at the Genesis Centre over the Christmas period and we wanted to take a moment to say thank you!

Once again we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community.

Thank you to everyone who has donated, volunteered and supported us, not just over the festive period but throughout 2023 – without you we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, so we cannot say it loud enough… THANK YOU!!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2024. 💛

Posted by in Events, Our Supporters on

What a wonderful evening we had – celebrating the amazing work of all our incredible volunteers in 2023 and thanking all of our supporters.

The evening was also a chance to say goodbye and thank you to our administrator for the last 7 years, Elaine and welcome our new administrator Tracy.

Thank you so much to Rick Stein, Sandbanks for once again supplying the delicious canapés – your generosity is truly appreciated.

Thank you also to Parkstone Yacht Club for donating another wonderful Christmas Tree – it looks fantastic and has made the Genesis Centre feel very festive!🎄

Our local community is simply the best and we’re glad we can have nights like this to celebrate the kindness of others and say a HUGE thank you. 💛

Posted by in Fundraising on

Anyone’s life can unravel for a number of reasons at anytime. There is no one cause of homelessness and each individual’s story is unique.

At Routes to Roots we are here to help make sense of the chaos felt when life is unravelling, when people may feel that they have nowhere left to turn.

With your help we can be there for those most vulnerable in our local community this Christmas.

Your donation will help us keep providing food, clothing and support to those who are homeless and vulnerably housed. No one should feel alone at anytime, but Christmas can be especially difficult and with the current cost of living crisis, we really do need your help more than ever.

Thank you as always for your incredible kindness and support, it really will make a direct difference to someone’s life this Christmas.

💛 Please Donate Now 💛

Posted by in News on

The Pillar Program.

It’s time to say thank you and pass the baton to a new participant of The Pillar Program.

Twelve weeks have flown by and it has been an interesting time.

Talking to volunteers and visiting their respective churches, taking time to simply find out who they are and why they volunteer.

So what did I get from this initiative created by the Genesis Centre Manager, Ben?

First, a chance to express thanks to all involved at Routes to Roots and some of the churches involved in supporting this place with food and volunteers both during the daily lunches, and also the two Sunday dinners and sausage in a bun and a hot drink every Sunday night.

Second, it was a chance to express how some of us and myself feel when we are here and what we get from participating with the services that visit here regularly. The Genesis Centre is a place away from the public eye and a warm meal. It is so important for morale.

For me, this has been a good challenge, to face my dyslexia and try to write good, informative pieces with a positive feel to them, laced with some of my personality.

I would like to thank everyone that supported the program and encouraged me to write good copy and liked my artwork. A big thank you to Ben for the chance to do this.

Thank you to everyone that has read my work, liked, commented and shared on social media. I hope that for some it has been educational and perhaps for some, changed their perception of the homeless.

I hope to occasionally write some pieces and continue to share some artwork with you all, so it’s not goodbye, just farewell for now.


Posted by in News on

What is homelessness? Well, I can only describe my version and hopefully you might understand why I live the way I do. I am not asking you to agree with me or even accept my way of life, just walk with me on my journey.

My name is Andrew. As a Chinese proverb said a very long time ago ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’, and so it did for me.

I walked out of London many years ago wearing a suit, I had no other possessions, I was alone and lost with no idea of where I would go or what my journey would lead to. Throughout that walk I learned I was not as alone as I thought.

I walked for seven years, every day between 25 and 35 miles.
Stupid, stubborn, pointless.
Lost, angry and alone.

On bad nights I would shout and scream at God, foolishly putting the blame on him for everything and wishing to be struck down as my loved ones so cruelly were.

What would you do if one day all that you loved was taken in a violent act?

I spent seven years not seeing, hearing or even living – just simply surviving. A change was needed and a discarded news paper shocked me when I saw the date and year.

I had been angry for seven years and that had got me nowhere so it was time to start a second journey of a thousand miles. Hopefully with a bit more purpose.

So this time a walk with a purpose, but where to start?

Deciding to start talking again would be a start, then may be some kind of work occasionally. It may not be a great plan but small steps were needed and this was a small step in the right direction.

I don’t know what went through the mind of the person on a little farm I walked up to. I am six foot four and must have looked like a wild, crazy man. I really thought they would shut the door and call the police or maybe even set the dogs on me!

We slowly talked and to my amazement that afternoon I was at home in a very beautiful little barn with a flask of coffee and some doorstep sandwiches. I worked for my food and clothing and a couple of weeks flew by. However self sabotage struck me hard and I left one night, it felt too much, too soon.

This pattern would repeat itself many, many times until I realised that it was as damaging to me as to the people helping me.

Time for another walk.

Eleven /twelve years have now gone by, what next?
The hardest journey lay in front of me now.
To face my loss and rejoin society in a meaningful way.

Welcome the flower.

One beautiful morning I had my back against a tree overlooking a little valley. Notice the subtle change of my wording, beautiful – valley – flower. I can see and hear again, subtle things are working on me.

As I watched the sun rise over the valley I saw a little flower open its petals and throughout the day it turned and followed the sun on its journey. Metaphor for me to ponder I wondered?

Watching that flower let me think about my life and that the past should not control me anymore.
My present was not to my liking so it was time to make a future.

So another walk was needed and a plan made. I hoped that this time I had the inner strength to make it happen and I could break those old habits.

I walked to Bristol where the people and culture was very much like Camden but on a bigger scale. It helps that I had been there before and had camped by the gorge close to Brunel’s Bridge, how’s that for a bedroom light! It did not take long to realise that the idea was right but the place was wrong so my last walk was only eighteen miles to Bath. This would be my ‘home’ for six years, sleeping in and around the countryside within ten miles of the city centre.

A visit and a drawing I made in a museum would finally give me a purpose.
A drawing of a sculpture would lead to self employment and to be a part of a well recognised project that let people with lived experience of mental health issues and disabilities join a art group lead by professional artists and supported by me. So me, a homeless person working for a museum, working with vulnerable people, providing care and help, showcasing my work and displaying work throughout the museum for the public to see.

Thank you little flower.

My journey has not finished and I now find myself in Poole, a new place and a new set of challenges but a place I feel positive and I’m looking to the future.

Lots of amazing people, Christians and non Christians helped and encouraged a very reluctant person. They have helped me turn my face to the sun and follow a future I did not have the faith to follow myself.

Not all homeless are helpless, to be pitied or scowled at. It’s not much to ask I think, to show encouragement to everyone regardless of their status, this is what makes us better people.


Posted by in Activities on

Horribly wet outside on Wednesday but safe and warm inside the Genesis Centre.

The Routes to Roots art group had two new participants join us after hearing about the group from another service.

Another new person sat by themselves with a colouring book and that is OK, when I first joined an art group I sat with headphones on by myself and just explored the materials and paints.

I always remember the artist running the group left me to my own devices until I was confident enough to ask for help and advice.

That artist became my inspiration to become a better artist and her gentle encouragement led me to become a support worker in a very large project run by a museum.

With paint and pencils and various types of paper and some books for inspiration, the fear of not being able to draw or paint is reduced.

A fun relaxed atmosphere and gentle encouragement lets participants express themselves in a non judgemental environment.

Also I believe lots of laughter made the afternoon fly by.

Laughter and art made for a good afternoon.


Posted by in Fundraising on

Pat Southgate, a founder Trustee of Routes to Roots (R2R) was recently invited to the Royal Motor Yacht Club (RMYC) in Sandbanks. A surprise party was being held for Richard, the chief steward at the club, to celebrate his 60th birthday.

As well as having a significant birthday, Richard had just completed a charity bike ride around the Isle of Wight together with 5 friends to raise funds for R2R which is the chosen charity of the RMYC for the next 3 years. At the start of the evening Richard was very proud to present Pat with a cheque for £5,560 in support of the work of R2R and said that he expected this would not be the final total.

A huge thank you to Richard and all the RMYC members present who had provided donations, for their continued generous support. Pat has invited Richard to visit R2R at the Genesis Centre whenever he wanted to and also extended this to the members present. She also took the opportunity to appeal for volunteers to help at the lunch time drop-ins.

📸 Pictured with the presentation cheque are; from L-R Graham Turner who is the Commodore of RMYC, his wife Julie (a huge thank you to them both for choosing R2R as their charity), Pat and Richard.