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Posted by in Fundraising on

Andrew, who is taking over communications for Routes to Roots as part of The Pillar Programme, describes what your donations mean to him and those sleeping on the streets.


Autumn is here and the crisp mornings are making themselves felt, too soon winter will be with us. 

So a time to plan and get ready for the winter months. 

I recently received a great sleeping bag from a very generous person who showed great foresight in his choice of much needed items of which my sleeping bag was just one item he gave Routes to Roots. 

It’s hard to express my feelings about that gift and also the many items donated to this amazing place. 

All things donated are important even the very smallest; from a toothbrush and toothpaste to razors, deodorant and shower products to items of clothing, socks and underwear. All things can help in some way and can make someone happy. 

To give and make a difference seems a small thing but is really important to those that need your help. 

In a normal week I can get a shower and wash my clothes allowing me to both keep clean but also keep my self esteem and if I am lucky a nice pair of socks to keep my feet warm. 

The items donated help rough sleepers both with staying clean and warm and the food available each day helps us on our journey. Hopefully the services available at Routes to Roots and the agencies that are here during the week can help people to find a new direction or a place to stay. 

So time to ask for help from those that can. 

Can you donate to Routes to Roots?

Every small item is important and well received. 

You can find a list of items here that would be very helpful to us service users -you can really help make someone’s day in the same way that gentleman’s donation of a sleeping bag helped me. 

Many thanks. 


Posted by in Events on

On Sunday the 20th August I went to visit St Dunstan’s Church in Upton, this is one of two linked churches, the other is Lytchett Minster Parish Church.

The churches over the years have provided many volunteers to Routes to Roots and serve a lunch on the first Sunday of each month at The Genesis Centre. The food is provided by the churches with money being raised by their own fundraisers which includes a sleep out by the junior church once a year. On the third Sunday of each month a Sunday lunch is also provided by St Mary’s Catholic Church in Poole.

As I walked there eating dew drenched blackberries in the morning sunshine, I thought about what I was going to say to the congregation as I had two minutes during the service to tell people about The Pillar Programme and my role in comms at Routes to Roots.

A warm welcome was given and I realised I knew quite a few people, this helped with some anxiety I have in meeting lots of new people all at the same time.

As the service progressed and the sermon was given I realised my talk was about me and that I had a chance to make it more about the people in front of me. In the couple of minutes available it became an impassioned thank you to all at both churches.

A thank you for all the fundraising, time and volunteers to provide a Sunday lunch on the first Sunday of the month.

I got a little emotional while talking about what it means to me; a person with nothing, not realising that others would both understand my feelings but also my emotions.

After the service and a good cup of coffee in my hand, I received many thanks for my little talk and that I shared what it meant to me, also thanks for taking time to come and visit the church and the congregation.

Jeff, one of our amazing volunteers had me show many people my art work and their reactions made my day.

So two great churches and a really welcoming congregation that give people like me both food and a sense of worth.

Thank you all.


Posted by in News on

I would like to tell you all about one of our volunteers that helps service users with all sorts of IT problems or just helps them negotiate the twisted paths of universal credit, rent bills and ongoing price increases with energy suppliers.


Neil’s background is in retail originally, working for many years with well known high-street retailers, until retirement.

Neil has volunteered for ten years with Routes to Roots, first at Skinner Street and now here at the Genesis Centre. Neil helped with cooking and serving food at Skinner Street and now helps with IT at the Genesis Centre.

Neil also restocks the ladies and gents clothing rails while he is here – a wonderful thing to do as a clean pair of socks or a tooth brush and a clean item of clothing can make a big difference to someone’s day.

Neil also is part of parkrun at Upton House on a Saturday, which is an all inclusive outdoor activity for almost all ages, he often tells me about it and what happens there.

And lastly he gives time to, I think a great service called READ EASY. This organisation teaches adults to read and write in a way that helps keep dignity for the individual, from nothing to being able to read and write in about six months.

I enjoy my Wednesday morning chats with him as I sort out the art materials for the afternoon art group and have watched him help some people with form filling and universal credit issues in a calm and gentle way.

I think the volunteers here are some of the best I have ever come across, Neil is one of them.


Posted by in Events, Fundraising on

The Poole Pirates’ Speedway Captain sent a heartfelt message to his fans.

We were overwhelmed by the Speedway community’s generosity as they brought bags and bags of essential donations to Steve Worrall’s recent testimonial.
Steve had asked his supporters to bring donations after he visited the Genesis Centre earlier in the year and it had a profound impact on him

Worrall said: “After the postponement of my original testimonial date, I went to their HQ in Poole to donate the food from the night’s buffet, and I must say it left a big impression on me.

“It really got me thinking about if there was anything further I could do to help this amazing charity and the thought struck.

“I asked the guys if there was anything they were struggling with, donations wise, and there are a few bits and pieces they could use a little extra help with.

“I honestly can’t explain the impact that just one visit had on me, to see so many vulnerable people who need help and how happy that buffet made them.”

We cannot thank Steve, his team and his family enough for the incredible support and generosity they have shown.

Posted by in Fundraising, News on

We have launched our 2022 Winter Appeal…

With the help of some special four-legged friends we have launched our winter appeal to raise vital funds to help homeless and vulnerable people. We are facing challenging times, and now more than ever need your support. Please donate if you can, every penny will really make the difference to someone’s life. Click here to view the video

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Routes to Roots, a homeless charity based in Poole run by a group of volunteers, have just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

The Right Reverend Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne and R2R’s Patron, said: “I am delighted that the whole team at Routes to Roots have been recognised in this way. The volunteers, trustees and supporters have all worked so hard not only to continue to care and provide for rough sleepers and the homeless in Poole through challenging times, but to increase provision through the recent purchase and refurbishment of the Genesis Centre. 

“The charity has come a long way in its 20 years in serving the needs of others and demonstrating Christ’s love for the lost, the lonely and the least.”

Routes to Roots have been helping the homeless and vulnerably housed in Poole for the past 20 years and now run the town’s first building solely dedicated to helping the homeless. The Genesis Centre, which opened in March 2022, is destined to become the hub for all support and help available locally from charities, churches and local authorities; ‘a one-stop place of change’.

The Genesis Centre is the realisation of a long-held dream for Routes to Roots and this would never have been possible without the dedication, kindness and hard work of their incredible group of volunteers.

Routes to Roots is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

Stephanie Buckley has volunteered for Routes to Root since it started, 20 years ago;

Through God’s calling, I became a volunteer with Routes to Roots Christian Homeless Charity, from its birth and joined an enthusiastic team to love and care for those in need. We meet with them in the midst of their difficulties and heartaches, and seek to give these men and women the best of care in food, clothing, housing, a listening ear and support, and often enjoy growing fellowship and times of joy.”  

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Representatives of Routes to Roots will receive the award crystal and certificate from Angus Campbell, Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from Routes to Roots will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

The Revd Pat Southgate, Founder Trustee of the Charity Routes to Roots, said;

“Who would have thought 20 years ago, that those first volunteers who reached out in faith to become the charity Routes to Roots would one day, along with all the many others who have joined us over the years, receive the Queens Award for Volunteers.

“I am immensely proud of all the dedicated volunteers who make Routes to Roots and I hope they are proud of themselves for all they have achieved over those last 20 years. I hope we never forget that this much-deserved award is not just for today but will be ours forever.”

As a charity Routes to Roots is solely dependent on fundraising and the generous donations of individuals and businesses. All money raised goes directly into providing support to those in Poole and enables the charity to provide food, shelter, access to health provision, training and other opportunities to help clients move back into the community.

Posted by in Hill Street Project, Newsletters on | , , , ,

Poole’s first building solely dedicated to helping the town’s homeless and vulnerably housed opens its doors on 21 March 2022. Genesis Centre on Hill Street is destined to become the hub for all support and help available locally from charities, churches and the local authorities – a one-stop place of change. The building is wholly owned and operated by Routes to Roots, which this month also celebrates its 20thanniversary. 

The Reverend Pat Southgate, chair of R2R Trustees, spoke of her pride in all that the charity’s volunteers and supporters have been able to achieve: “This is a long-held dream come true. Twenty years ago we were able to bring rough sleepers off the streets for a hot meal for just a few hours on a couple of days a week. Now in that very same building, the old Baptist Church, we will be able to offer not only a hot meal but real life-changing support.

“We are extremely grateful to architect Ken Morgan who enabled us to secure both Listed Building Consent and Planning Application Approval in July 2020 and who has now brought us to the point of being able to open our doors. We are also thankful for the confidence shown in our vision by Talbot Village Trust, who not only provided an interest-free loan to enable us to buy the building but who have also contributed substantially to the renovation costs.”

Routes to Roots purchased the building outright in February 2020 – just in time for the country’s first lockdown. Despite this, the charity carried on with its plans for the complete restoration and refurbishment of the Grade II listed building. This was a major undertaking, which would have been impossible without the tremendous support shown both locally and nationally. Under the pro bono guidance of architect Ken Morgan, nine additional local professionals gave their time and expertise pro bono. Over the two years since the purchase, R2R received nearly £212,000 in grants from 18 foundations and trusts. At the move-in the works have cost nearly £270,000. Other money came from local businesses, churches, schools and individuals.

There is still work to be carried out on a second hall and to the outside of the building and the charity says that fundraising is continuing to pay for this. However, this does not impact its ability to run drop-ins and welcome back outreach partnersto provide addiction, mental and physical health support, chiropody, housing and benefit advice. Shower and laundry facilities are available and there are computers for clients’ use.

Posted by in Hill Street Project, News on | , , , ,

We were delighted to have a very special visitor in January at Genesis Centre. Routes to Roots was privileged to be one of the first stops on a visit to Poole for the Very Reverend Stephen Lake, following the announcement that morning that he will be the next Bishop of Salisbury. The Bishop Designate, who grew up in Poole, said: “It is such a privilege and a joy to be called back to the Diocese of Salisbury as Bishop. To be able to serve in the places that formed me will be something rare and special. I will enjoy visiting Dorset and Wiltshire today and look forward to meeting as many people as possible on this announcement day.” He was accompanied by our patron the Right Reverend Karen Gorman, Bishop of Sherborne.

Posted by in News on | , , , ,

Ben Sargent joined us at the beginning of this month in the new role of Genesis Centre Manager. Ben says: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Day Centre Manager for Routes to Roots. Having worked for many years in housing and addiction services across Bournemouth and Poole, I have always been impressed by the fantastic work that R2R do and the care shown to those in need. With the upcoming move to Genesis Centre, I am truly excited by the opportunities it will enable us to provide to those people who access our service. I look forward to creating a community where people will feel supported, feel heard and have access to the support services they require.” Among other duties, Ben will be managing our volunteer network and is very interested to hear from anyone who might have some hours to help us. In addition to the usual drop-in food preparation work, we have many new opportunities arising from our move, in such areas as office and administrative, writing and fundraising, website and social media. He can be contacted at: