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.
We are delighted to announce that we are well on our way to achieving our dream of establishing a hub for the homeless and vulnerably housed in Poole.
The charity has purchased the former Hill Street Baptist Church, the Poole town centre building that housed R2R’s first drop-in sessions.
A key action over the last few years has been for R2R to get on a sound financial footing so we could explore every opportunity to find our own space in order to expand our services. We have been able to fund the purchase of the church from our own funds, a donation from Talbot Village Trust and a grant from Help the Homeless.
Substantial refurbishment is needed to make the premises fit for purpose, before we can move in, hopefully by September 2020. R2R is seeking financial support for essential renovations, which will include more efficient heating, a kitchen, toilets, showers and laundry facilities.
After moving to Hill Street, in the short-term R2R will maintain our existing services and add a weekly Sunday lunch. Looking further ahead, as funding and volunteer support permit, we aim to be open seven days a week and increase the outreach services offered to include financial advice, training and other opportunities to help clients move back into the community – to become a one-stop place of change.
Revd Pat Southgate, Chair and Founder of R2R says: “I am really proud of what all our volunteers and supporters have enabled us to achieve over the years. This is the result of all their faith in us and is a long-held dream come true. We are very grateful to Skinner Street URC for welcoming us for so many years and making us a part of their community. While very excited, this is a tremendous commitment for the charity and we will need all the support that Poole churches, organisations, businesses and individuals can continue to give us to make Hill Street Baptist Church a real Place of Change in Poole.”
Russell Lucas-Rowe, Trustee at Talbot Village Trust, says: “We are very pleased to have helped Routes to Roots expand their reach and services. The work they have been doing helping the rough sleepers for the last 20 years is very valuable to this community. We hope that, thanks to the funding, they will be able to help many more around Poole.”
The Patron of the charity, the Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne comments: “This is a wonderful opportunity for Routes to Roots to take their work to another level and affirms the commitment of the charity in its aims to alleviate homelessness. Further financial help is needed now to fulfil our vision. Please consider giving generously, knowing that every gift will give hope to those most in need of it.”
At our AGM on Sunday 7 April 2019 at Skinner Street URC, Poole, the Trustees’ and Financial Reports were given for the year 2017-18. As this AGM took place after the end of FY 2018-19, a report was also made of activities during that fiscal year to bring members up-to-date with a great many service enhancements and the current financial position.