Combating Homelessness, Creating Opportunities, Promoting Change

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Local boxer sleeps rough to fundraise for BHT

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Local boxing champion Nick Jenman recently braved a new kind of challenge, when he took to Brighton’s streets for three days and nights to raise funds for BHT. He has raised an impressive £2,260 in sponsorship.

Nick took no phone, money or sleeping bag with him and used only the services available to rough sleepers in the city. He was motivated by a desire to teach his six-year-old daughter about homelessness as well as raise funds to support BHT to tackle its causes and consequences.

While Nick was clear that he was not experiencing the difficulties of someone who is genuinely homeless, he was able to gain a small insight into some of the issues homeless people face and the dangers of life on the streets. He was shocked by the prevalence of addiction in those he met.

Nick said:

The nights were the hardest and I only managed a couple of hours sleep each night. The minutes felt like hours, the hours like days.

Nick met people who had fallen into homelessness following a break up or the death of a partner, and was struck by how easily it could happen. This underlines the importance of preventative services, such as the advice centres run by BHT which last year prevented 817 households from becoming homeless.

One night Nick shared a bench on the seafront with a man who was sleeping rough at night but working as a chef during the day. BHT is increasingly working with people who are homeless despite being in work, and is one of the few organisations in the city offering crucial services to this group of people.

All the money Nick has raised is going towards BHT’s First Base Day Centre. First Base provides practical support such as meals, showers and clean clothes to people who are sleeping rough or insecurely housed in the city, as well as a range of services to help them get off the streets for good.

Andy Winter, Chief Executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said:

Nick has really gone the extra mile to raise much needed funds for First Base, our day centre for rough sleepers. We are amazed with his efforts and so grateful for his support.

To donate to Nick’s fundraising page click here.


Sussex Oakleaf and Brighton Housing Trust in merger talks

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Sussex Oakleaf and Brighton Housing Trust have announced today (Friday 29th March 2019) that we are in talks about a possible merger.
The purpose of the merger would be to extend services for clients and tenants, strengthen and protect our joint financial position into the future, and to increase opportunities for further growth. Should it proceed, the merger will take place in April 2020.

Sussex Oakleaf provides a range of support services to people with mental health needs, those with a personality disorder and individuals at risk of homelessness. It aims to empower people and promote independence by providing recovery focused community wellbeing services, residential care, peer mentoring, housing support and volunteering opportunities. It provides services in West Sussex, East Sussex, and Brighton & Hove. Last year it worked with 1,356 clients. It employs 90 people, has 20 regular volunteers and has an annual turnover of £2.9 million.

For more information about Sussex Oakleaf, please see its website.

The Chair of Sussex Oakleaf, Graham Maunders, said:

“We are very excited about the prospect of working more closely with Brighton Housing Trust to improve our offer to clients. We have had a close relationship with them over many years. We are two organisations with very similar values, and we feel that we complement each other well.”

Joan Mortimer, the Chair of BHT, said:

“By bringing the two organisations together we will become stronger than the sum of our two parts. At the heart of our considerations are the tenants and clients of the two organisations. There is clear evidence that this is a win-win situation for them, benefiting from the combined strengths of both Sussex Oakleaf and of BHT.”

Philippa Thompson, the Chief Executive of Sussex Oakleaf, said:

“We have for many years enjoyed a close relationship with BHT, working to provide training for our staff teams, attending each other’s conferences and, most recently, collaborating on various projects. It became increasingly apparent that there is an exceptionally good cultural fit, and this has been evolving further over the last six months.”

Andy Winter, Chief Executive of BHT, said:

“We were delighted when approached by Sussex Oakleaf regarding a possible merger. It makes complete sense to come together in the interests of our tenants and clients, our financial wellbeing, and our ability to grow in the future. Frontline services will not be affected by this merger and we will be building a new management structure which will reflect our joint strengths.”

Over the next three months joint consultation will be undertaken with tenants and clients, stakeholders, funders and regulators. A final decision on whether to proceed with the merger, taking into account the feedback from consultation, will be taken by the Boards of the two organisations in June 2019.

Should both Boards agree to proceed, a new combined Board and a new management team will be appointed who, by April 2020, will bring together the legal entities, the staff teams, and the policies and procedures for the merged organisation.


Vero Screening take on The Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge

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Ten members of staff from local Brighton business, Vero Screening, are taking on the 30 mile route of The Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge this May.

The Vero Screening cycling team

Vero Screening are specialists in employment screening and their services include background checking, criminal record checks as well as outsourced employee referencing. The company has been supporting BHT since last summer and have already raised over £650 through their in-office fundraising events as well as donating items such as sleeping bags to First Base Day Centre.

Tom Telford, Trainer at Vero Screening said:

“Just walking in and out of the office rough sleeping is an ever present thing that you notice, especially around the train station. When the opportunity arose to choose a new charity last year, it was an obvious choice for us to choose Brighton Housing Trust.”

BHT went to visit Vero Screening this week to find out why they’re taking part in the challenge and what they love about cycling. You can watch the video here:

Lauren Ellis, Fundraising Manager at BHT said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that a team of ten staff from Vero Screening are taking on the 30 mile cycling route and fundraising for BHT – we are so grateful for their support. The Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge is a fantastic way for companies to engage their staff members and get active whilst delivering their Corporate Social Responsibility by supporting a local cause.”

Join Vero Screening by signing up to take part in the event today

Are you a local company looking to get involved?
We are looking for local businesses to sponsor The Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge this year. It’s an excellent way to promote your brand, deliver your Corporate Social Responsibility and engage your employees. To find out more email [email protected]

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