Following our acquisition of the former Hill Street Baptist Church, we have embarked on an extensive refurbishment programme to convert the historic building into a permanent base for the town’s homeless and vulnerably housed. Hailed as ‘A Place for Change’, the Hill Street outreach facility is being fully renovated .
The aim of this important new outreach facility is to help people in Poole who are without permanent accommodation achieve lasting positive change in their lives. Facilities such as showers, toilets, a laundry, hot food, clothing and sleeping bags will be provided in addition to crucial access to outreach workers for addiction and mental health support, nurses, chiropodists, housing and benefit advisors.
“Thanks to some extremely generous grants and fundraising support from our volunteers, local schools, companies and churches, we have made a fantastic start towards reaching our target of £150,000, which means we are all set to start working on this exciting project,” commented Reverend Southgate. “Our first task will be to remove and sell the beautiful antique pitch pine pews to make a central space where clients can relax, feel safe and talk in confidence to outreach teams. We are hoping to raise in the region of £3000 from the sale of the pews, which would help fund the cost of installing our all-important shower facilities.”
Routes to Roots was recently awarded a grant of £5,000 from The Haddon Trust, a charity that specialises in providing relief for those in poverty and without permanent accommodation. The grant will help fund a new kitchen and the associated white goods and equipment needed to cater for up to 50 clients.
Local support from Poole’s residents and business community has been very positive and the charity has received full backing for the project from Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, who understands the positive impact that the hub will have both on the vulnerable people being helped and the local community. Under current plans, the Hill Street renovations are due to be completed by late Autumn 2020, subject to the ongoing restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Routes to Roots is pleased to let you know that BCP Council’s rough sleeper outreach team, St Mungo’s, has sourced temporary accommodation for Poole’s rough sleepers. Food will be provided, along with medical support and three times daily contact from a BCPSOS worker to check on wellbeing, etc. With effect from Wednesday 25 March, R2R will, therefore, temporarily close our drop-ins. We are confident that our clients will be in good hands over this period and this is the safest way forward for all of us.
A big thank you to our two staff members and all our many volunteers for making it possible to go on providing food for so long. We will not be idle but take this time to continue work on our project to renovate our new building on Hill Street, so that at the end of all this we will have our Place for Change for the Homeless in Poole.
Routes to Roots will keep its five drop-ins open to help rough sleepers for as long as is possible. In order to prioritise the help that we can offer, we will be open only to rough sleepers from Friday 20th March onwards. We realise this may leave those of our clients who are vulnerably housed, although not on the streets, at a disadvantage but with the potential of fewer volunteers available, this was a compromise that had to be made.
With immediate effect, lunchtime drop-in hours will be from 12.30pm until 2.30pm – subject to review depending upon volunteers and national and local guidance. Clients will be able to eat in the hall as normal. Showers will still be available while the launderette is open to wash the towels.
From Friday 20th March, evening drop-ins will provide takeaway food only, although the toilets will be available.
The exact procedure to follow if a client appears to be showing symptoms of COVID-19 is still being finalised across the local authority area. BCP Council has made a property available for rough sleepers who are affected by the virus.
We provide rough sleepers with vouchers to enable them to have breakfast at The Spire community café on Poole High Street. The café states that it will remain open as long as possible and we are giving out extra breakfast vouchers and will continue this provision beyond April – as long as the Spire can provide the breakfast.
R2R is part of an online meetings group of relevant agencies, including Faithworks, BCP Council, St. Mungo’s, to ensure we keep abreast of all developments.