First Base Day Centre

First Base Day Centre As the financial crisis deepens and the welfare benefit cuts begin to take effect, more and more people are facing the possibility that they might become homeless.

First Base offers a range of services to support people who are sleeping rough or insecurely housed in the city, to get off the streets, start realising their aspirations through work, learning and leisure and find a place they can call home.

We provide a centre of excellence for our partners in the city ensuring that by working together we can improve health, reduce crime and realise opportunity.

First Base Day CentreWe run lots of services from First Base including:

  • Healthy Lifestyles Project
  • PASH (Promotional and Awareness of Sexual Health)
  • First Impressions (CV and Employment Service)
  • Culture (Heritage and Cultural Activities)
  • Dine, our catering Social Enterprise company

First Base Day CentreWe also work in partnership with other agencies to provide a range of services for our clients including:

  • Dentistry
  • Podiatry
  • A nurse
  • Mental health advice and support
  • Accommodation and relocation services.
How to apply

First Base is an ‘open door’ day centre which means that anyone can use the service at certain times without the need of a referral. However, the early morning sessions are for rough sleepers only, referred by the Street Services Outreach Team.

First Base Day Centre opening times

Rough Sleepers session: 8am Monday – Friday

Activity sessions: 11am Monday – Friday

Close: 3.30pm

Contact details

St Stephen’s Hall, Montpelier Place, Brighton, BN1 3BF

01273 326844

Please click here to email First Base Day Centre

Real Life Story

Barry was a 50 year old man who lived in privately rented accommodation. He worked as a construction worker and had always found finding work easy.

But when Barry’s job came to an end he struggled to find a new job/. Building work was slow and for the first time, barry couldn’t find a job. Barry decided to move to Brighton where he had worked before and felt confident that he would be able to find work again.

For some weeks Barry stayed in a bed and breakfast while he looked for work. He was using his savings to fund the B and B but eventually his savings ran out and he was left with no other choice but to sleep in his car.

It was the middle of the winter and the temperatures where below freezing at night and Barry suffered tremendously with the cold.

He kept looking for work and hoped that his luck would change but as his health deteriorated due to the cold weather and the lack of warmth, the more he struggled and eventually he became very ill with a respiratory infection which left him in hospital.

When Barry was strong enough, he was discharged from the hospital back into the freezing temperatures and nowhere to call home but his car. He remembers feeling desperately scared and alone.

Barry didn’t know where to turn for help. He went to a library to keep warm and asked someone there about local services that could help him and was directed to First Base.

As the temperatures at this time were very low, First Base was operating the emergency cold weather shelter provision and were able to offer Barry a bed for the night. Barry felt a huge sense of relief at the thought of a warm bed and some food and support.

Whilst Barry was at First Base he was able to talk to a case worker who discovered he wasn’t claiming any benefits and was living off very little money each day to survive. Barry had felt so ashamed about his situation and hadn’t wanted to ask for the help but realised that he depeerately needed help to gte back on his feet again.

His case worker helped him to make a claim for job seekers allowance and made him an appointment to see the private rented sector solutions team at BHT.

He attended some training courses and was able to use the computers at First Base to send and receive emails about future accommodation. Eventually a property became available and Barry was quite simply over the moon.

The long, cold, lonely nights are far behind him now and he can concentrate on getting back into work and moving on from homelessness.

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Richardson’s Yard Interviews – Phoenix

Can you start off by telling me how you have found the last six months since moving into Richardson’s Yard?

Yes, its been really good, its was quite challenging to adjust to to start with. When we first moved in, the furniture was still being put together.

The space is so unique that it was a bit difficult to try and figure out where the bedroom would go etc. I have settled in really well now. It has been a bit cold, because I guess, at the end of the day, I am living in a 40 ft. square box and it can be a bit cold. We have had some problems with the heating and so I have bought a new heater with a timer. It’s also taken some time to get used to the electricity because it was running out really quickly. Its just lots of tweaks and adjustments. But living up in the 5th floor is amazing, the light comes through so that heats this flat up really well. Everyone is really friendly here, we don’t talk as much as we probably should but we have that neighbourhood thing where everyone says hello. I think there were some problems at the start where people were having parties but yeah, it has gone really well.

Did you have any reservations about moving into Richardson’s Yard?

I was a little concerned but also excited.

I was concerned because it seemed to be taking a long time to get them finished and the moving date was moved. I was wondering what I was coming into. I knew fairly early on that I would be living on the top floor and that was great because I don’t think I would want to be any further down. I like being up high and having the quiet. I knew we would get a lot of interest from the press and I had some reservations about the slant that the media used that Richardson’s Yard was a place for the homeless. It seemed to have a negative slant and it seemed that local residents were a bit adverse to it. But now it seems to be the complete opposite and people are really positive about it, it’s been a really good experience.

Where were you living before Richardson’s Yard?

I was in a private housing association in Kemptown which was interesting and challenging in its own way because the people you live with came with problems of their own.

I was there for 10 months. There were support workers on hand to help us. It’s nice now to have my own space because in the old place we shared a kitchen and a bathroom which I found difficult.

You can stay at Richardson’s Yard for up to two years. Its early days but do you have plans for life after Richardson’s Yard?

The ultimate plan is to save a deposit and a months rent so that I can move into my own place. The centre of Brighton is too expensive so I plan to move to the fringes of town.

Because I work, the rent here is more expensive than I anticipated and I am finding it quite hard to budget but it’s good to have the two years here so I don’t feel like I have to panic. As long as I am putting away little bits then I will be fine.

Since you have been here, has Richardson’s Yard made a difference to your life?

Yes, I think having my own space has been amazing.

I have suffered with generalised anxiety for most of my life and I get very nervous in situations and I think being here and having my own space and having the sun beaming through my windows has really helped to relieve the tension and the stress which has branched out into other areas of my life like my work life and my relationship with my mum. Its like a ripple effect, this has been the pebble and the ripples have come into other areas of my life.

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Richardson’s Yard Interviews – Tristan

How have you found the last six months since moving into Richardson’s Yard?

It’s been really good.

It’s been nice being able to pick herbs from out of the front and put it in your cooking in the evening. I have met some nice people; I had my neighbour over for dinner last night. The location is great and you can get to everywhere easily. Town is just a short walk away and the train station. The space is really big and I can have my daughter in here and even if it is lashing down with rain she can tear around and its not too noisy. I like it.

Before you came to Richardson’s Yard did you have any reservations?

I thought it would be more community spirited than it is, I thought it would happen naturally but actually I think you have to make it happen.

Everyone says hello to each other but I thought people would help each other out more and be more thoughtful. I hoped there would be book clubs and things like that but I think this will happen in time. I think a lot of people are getting into the gardening idea that is happening here and hopefully that will bring people together more.

Where were you before Richardson’s yard?

I lived in Hove with a landlord and I assumed I had the same rights as a tenant but it turns out that because I lived with the landlord as a lodger I had less rights and I could be evicted without any notice or reason.

I went to Brighton Housing Trust about it and they said I had no rights but they had places available here at Richardson’s Yard. I stayed with a friend for a few months while I attended their (BHT) workshops and built up my portfolio and then managed to secure a place here.

You can stay here for up to two years but you said that you weren’t planning to stay for that long. What are your plans?

The flat is lovely and it is a lot better than staying on someone’s sofa.

You aren’t encroaching on anybody and you have all the essentials you need to get by such as a bed and a sink, central heating and a fridge but it’s not a home. You couldn’t turn this into a home where you could have lots of friends over, there isn’t enough space and you only have one worktop for draining and cooking and prep. It’s a great idea because you don’t want people to stay for too long. It’s a short term solution and its great for that. I will use this and get the best out of it but it also gives me a reason to plan my next move. I want to move into a housing coop where the rent is cheap and everyone works together as a community.

Do you think living at Richardson’s Yard has helped you in anyway?

I have never lived on my own since leaving my parents home before so that has been quite an experience.

I have always been quite sociable and lived in shared houses. Living on your own has been quite isolating but that is good in its own way. It has encouraged me to meet my neighbours. Living at Richardson’s Yard has been a really great experience, I have really enjoyed it.

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Richardson’s Yard Interviews – Alan

How have you found the last four months at Richardson’s Yard?

Brilliant but also a bit weird.

I have come from supported housing so the things that I enjoy such as living independently are also a bit weird because I am used to lots of people being around and it’s hard to adjust to being on my own, that’s the strange part of being here. I am used to having seven or eight people around, sort of barging in and making a nuisance of themselves which I had got used to but now I don’t I really like it and I am enjoying the space but it is strange. So far it’s brilliant, touch wood!

Before you moved in did you have any reservations about living at Richardson’s Yard?

Yes definitely. I hated the idea if living in a shipping container.

As soon as the idea was mentioned to me and there was the possibility of me being put forward to live here I thought there is no way you are putting me in a box and it took ages to come around to the idea. I don’t think it was until the second workshop that Steve Coulson ran that I started to think hang on a minute, this is pretty good. I started to look at the plans and on the internet at projects in Holland and my enthusiasm really grew.

You can stay her for up to two years, do you have any plans for what you will do after Richardson’s Yard?

I am going to reapply for the council and hopefully get a band B.

In the mean time I am playing off my debts and saving for private accommodation in case I can’t get housed by the council.

Has being at Richardson’s Yard helped you with your plans for the future?

Yes. Anyone who has been homeless or in supported housing or hostels knows that you just want your own space.

Often people in this position aren’t actually ready for their own space and I wasn’t, but at the time it is all you want. When they said it would be a two year stop gap period I wasn’t that keen but having thought about it, it’s actually a good opportunity to get myself sorted and to pay my debts off. I can save up, I can start living properly without all this weight on my shoulders. Hopefully, once I have saved enough, I will have a year to find somewhere new to live.

Has your life improved since being at Richardson’s Yard?

I have depression and post traumatic distress disorder and I realise they really need sorting out.

I was drinking heavily before I came here and I have stopped that now but living on your own, sitting with my own thoughts without any distractions can be challenging so on a personal level I realise I need help in those areas. On a housing level everything is OK, everything is pretty cool.

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