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Staff at BHT’s head office have been working hard to utilise the drop-in space at 144 London Road.
Many events and drop-in activities took place for all BHT clients and tenants, including a Gadget Surgery, coffee mornings, a Welfare Reform and Poverty workshop and a Mental Health and Wellbeing Peer Support Drop In.
All projects are welcome to hold meetings in the drop-in:
Fundraising & Publicity
BHT Chief Executive Andy Winter was interviewed by BBC Sussex to highlight record high levels of street homelessness.
The interview follows the release of statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which highlight that Brighton is now in the top three number of rough sleepers in the UK, up by 92% compared to a national rise of 30%.
Jack Poole, BHT Floating Support Officer and his girlfriend Jane are running the Brighton Half Marathon in a few weeks to raise money for the discretionary fund at BHT’s Route One project.
I work at Route One and know how important it is to have more money available for our clients in times of crisis.
Sara Peskett of BHT Heritage gave an interview to Juice FM about the work of the project around the city.
Sara also provided a lot of information for Preston Pages and other similar publications around Brighton and Hove regarding the history of homelessness.
The Hope & Ruin Bar on Queens Road, Brighton, held a night of live music to raise money for BHT Services.
There were two DJs, a disco border patrol, dance-offs and glitter stations.
BHT’s First Base Day Centre have received a donation of £1,000 from Sussex Police. We are delighted to have received this donation which has come from the Police Property Act Fund.
Jess Harrison and Poppy Taylor, Occupational Therapy Students on placement with BHT’s First Base Day Centre, recorded an interview for Juice FM about how Occupational Therapy can support people to move away from street homelessness.
A client of BHT’s First Base Day Centre also featured on BBC Radio Sussex talking about his experiences of homelessness and how his stay at the Brighton and Hove Churches Night Shelter has helped him.
Events, talks & workshops
February saw Go Green Week, and BHT staff were encouraged to be environmentally friendly.
Staff ideas included turning radiators down to a minimum when leaving the office and using ‘water hippos’ in toilet cisterns. ‘Water hippos’ saves approximately three litres of water every time the toilet is flushed.
Do you have further ideas to save the planet?
BHT’s Hastings Advice Centre took part in an event organised by Energise Sussex Coast to help residents save money in energy supply.
BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service held a Wellbeing and Threshold Taster Day at Community Base, Brighton.
The event included making healthy snacks, reducing Mental Health stigma through a Peer led group and improving Women’s wellbeing through Creative activities.
The service also had a stall and presentation at the Community Health Networking Event at Hove Cricket Ground.
Jane Eyles, BHT’s Head of Housing Services and Bill Randall, BHT Board member attended the Brighton & Hove City Council Fairness Commission on housing.
They discussed “affordability, supply of social housing, homelessness, improving standards in the private rented sector and the aspirations of would-be owner-occupiers.”
Staff at BHT’s First Base Day Centre have been recognised for the work that they do in the community and invited to an Unsung Heroes event by Lewes District Council.
This event will celebrate the good work of the community and surrounding areas, and will allow all charities nominated to meet.
Simon Hughes, Operational Manager of BHT’s First Base Day Centre gave a talk about homelessness and the street community to parishioners of St John the Evangelist Church in Preston Park, Brighton.
The parishioners will be organising a collection of toiletries for the centre and have donated £120 so far.
Simon also gave a presentation about working together to end homelessness to 100 local business leaders at the Juice FM Breakfast at the Hilton Hotel, Brighton.
The Fulfilling Lives Project and delivery organisations CRI, Seaview and Equinox participated in a workshop to review the project and explore ideas for potential changes to the project for the next two years.
This is the first in a series of consultation events and workshops taking place over the next few weeks. The findings will inform the Business Plan Review which will be presented to the Big Lottery in May.
Interns, volunteers & client involvement
February saw the last meeting of First Base’s fortnightly LGBTU group.
We thank volunteers Travis, Isla and Hannah for running the group.
The group has been a fantastic way for clients and staff alike to come together and show support. We’ve all had some great times, including partying together on BHT’s float for Brighton Pride 2015.
Travis Cox, Sexual Health Worker at First Base and LGBTU group organiser
It was Student Volunteering Week between 22 – 28 February.
Two of our Law Student Volunteers at the Brighton Advice Centre, Hannah Brown and Aidan Seymour-Butler, were thanked by the Mayor at Brighton Town Hall for their contribution to the work of BHT.
BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service welcomed eight new Peer Support Volunteers.
The Peer Support Volunteers will be running special interest and wellbeing-focused groups and activities for people experiencing mental health challenges.
BHT’s First Base Day Centre welcomed James and Glynn, two recent qualified Police Constables, who undertook a four-day community placement at the day centre.
Staff at the centre also said a fond farewell to Poppy and Jess, two Occupational Therapy students who have been on placement for the last few months.
Geert Lonterman, an MA student from the Netherlands will be working with First Base on a three-month research project looking at how the concept of Citizenship relates to homelessness issues.
Projects and feedback
Following on from a visit to Roots to Growth Farm in November, and plans to build a pizza oven, clients from BHT’s Phase One project have been true to their word.
The pizza oven will be completed very soon, and clients look forward to eating lots of delicious pizza that they’ve made themselves.
The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Lynda Hyde, visited First Base for breakfast and to find out what First Base does to help people off the streets.
BHT’s Digital Inclusion Project received an enthusiastic review in the Legal Action Journal.
The pilot project, which concluded in November 2015, was run at BHT Advice in partnership with Brighton’s wider advice community. Alex Brining and Simon Whitwell ran the service over a period of 18 months, during which time they advised over 200 clients via webcam on welfare benefits and housing.
The AllPay cards were finalised at the end of February.
The Severe Weather Emergency Protocols (SWEP) activated at BHT’s First Base Day Centre twice in February, providing bed spaces for 76 people due to the cold weather.
Six BHT Finding Futures learners have achieved awards in English and Maths from Entry two to Level one.
The assessor from NCFE was very impressed with the quality of the work produced and commented that the evidence of learning was excellent.
Value for money
Julie Hines, an Income Recovery Officer for BHT’s Housing services saved BHT tenants over £2,114 in the last month by challenging overpayments in Eastbourne, Wealden and Brighton and Hove councils.