Cornerstone

Description:
Eight bedded hostel providing support to homeless men aged 18 - 65 and Floating Support services to ten clients living in their own tenancies on a sliding scale of support intensity toward independent living.

As Clwyd Cornerstone Trust the project was a nine bedded hostel. The Trust was formed in 1989 as a non-discriminating charity with a Christian ethos. The early years were spent researching homelessness, forming an initial team and fund-raising. After a lengthy search a building became available in 1994.

Most of the trustees and the management committee had been with CCT from the start. In spite of many success stories with both residents and volunteers, it is fair to state that the Trust did not enjoy all the results that were initially desired. In the past a lack of cutting edge vision and inadequate funding were the main factors in a less than sharp delivery of the service. Modifications were made, but unfortunately unexpected management changes further hindered progress during the year 2001.

However, many of these problems were resolved with the allocation of secure funding and a new staff structure and CCT could begin to put their Business Plan into action. The infrastructure was changed to make the service more professional. In November 2005 the Management experience and support of The Sanctuary Trust was sought and in January 2007 the two charities amalgamated and the project has become Sanctuary Cornerstone.

Why our project is needed:
There are many men who are suffering, or under the threat of, homelessness, (see Welsh Housing Statistics Table15). Sanctuary Cornerstone is currently at full capacity with a waiting list.

Sanctuary Cornerstone has a strong support package that is designed to help service users to grow in independent living skills. Many of them have dependency issues and each resident is allocated to a Key Worker that will support them in liaising with other agencies to address these needs. Service users will be expected to be aiming for resettlement and independent living. The property that the project occupied under CCT is more conducive to a second stage project in a group of flats/apartments and the local homelessness department are in need of this level of project. (See Homelessness Prevention Plan and Homelessness Strategy 2006-2008). The Sanctuary Cornerstone project has been re-located to a property more suitable to the support programme including educational and vocational training, to bring the operations in line with Conwy borough Council's needs, and the flats/apartments are to be used for the much needed second stage.

Aims + Purpose
To help people to take their full place in society and live independently. To give vulnerable people opportunity to improve the quality of life by providing a stable environment which enables them to take greater responsibility for their lives.

Minimum set-up requirements:

  • Premises with appropriate planning to satisfy the Supporting People contract.
  • Staff and volunteers to cover a 24hour cover support programme.
  • Premises suitable for second stage resettlement with financial plan and support programme.
  • Floating support worker(s) and robust Lone Workers policy and procedures.

Operational requirements:

  • Revenue funding.
  • Office space.
  • Staff and volunteers.
  • Training and education.
  • Stable Organisational structure.
  • Quality Assessment tools and benchmarking
  • Regular reviews

Future aspirations/ development:
Increase support programme to include more Floating Support to encourage more successful resettlements into independent living and tenancies that will remove service users from statutory homelessness. Relationships have been built with agencies and investors with independent flat properties available and working protocols will be compiled for the benefit of resettling service users into independent living. To develop focused and outcome related Personal Development programmes that current and previous service users can access. To use the business provisions that will come available through Sanctuary Enterprises Limited, a subsidiary company to Sanctuary Trust Limited, for volunteer placements and work experience for service users.

Registration/ Licensing/ Regulations:
Holborn House has Sui Generis use as Hostel. Sanctuary have assumed CCT ASP status pending own application.

Target Market:
Men aged 18-65 who are homeless or under the threat of becoming so, and men (and women) in their own tenancies in need of support in order to maintain independent living.

Location:
Conwy Borough.

Value Strategy:
Benchmarking allows us to measure our services and to monitor performance and value. We have a framework of quality standards that we must measure against to constantly improve services. Strategies are in place to increase independent funding for the Operations and Development Team that will provide continued secure and professional management and release more funds to direct support.

Marketing + Promotion:
Regular contact with stakeholders and referral agencies will communicate the services offered.

Strengths:

  • Dedicated staff
  • Good project administration
  • Good support programme
  • Strong management structure.

Weaknesses:

  • Many changes to the project and its ownership and management has created insecurity among many staff
  • The lack of a dedicated Welsh office makes line management of the project at a distant

Opportunities:

  • The dedication of staff offers potential for development of services offered.
  • Staff are keen to develop and training programmes will be positively welcomed.

Threats:

Financial instability could bring the project to an end if it is not addressed.

Interview with Derek Bond, Manager at Cornerstones (Holborn House, Wales), on Monday 21st May 2018

Notes edited by Colin Atkinson

My name is Derek Bond and I'm a very young looking 60 year old.  I am married to my beautiful wife Lesley and we have eight children and 4 grandchildren between us.  (Christmas is expensive!)

I have only recently joined Sanctuary Trust as Temporary Manager of Holborn House in North Wales. 

Oddly enough, I was Manager of Holborn House about 20 years ago before Sanctuary Trust took the project on.  The need for the project is still as real today as it was back then but the use of technology has made communication much easier and has enabled the project to run more effectively and efficiently. 

It is vital for a project like ours to create a safe environment for people who are at risk and who have lived life in chaos.  The environment offers stability and a place of refuge.  We actively encourage opportunities for education and volunteering and have several local businesses who are happy to help.  Each service user has a key-worker who will devise an action plan to best meet their needs.

There are some very real positive outcomes that come out of the project.  Outcomes like, bumping into ex-residents who have turned their lives around and are holding down jobs.  Some, very successfully!  Some ex-residents who now have their own families and have left a life of chaos and the joy of seeing people engaging with volunteering and or education programmes and feeling the thrill of their achievements.  The excitement that people feel collecting items of furniture and kitchen equipment ready to move on into their new homes makes the job worthwhile.

Sadly, there is also the negative side when you see people relapse into their old lifestyle habits and feel a sense of having failed but … there is always hope!

Again, sadly, there will always be a need for projects like ours but our staff remain positive that we can make an impact and bring encouragement to those who are looking for help.

Information about Cornerstone and Holborn House can be found on the Sanctuary Trust website under 'Projects'.

 


More...

Pass It On Scheme


Related Info...

Halsall House


Floating Support


STEP


Pass It On Scheme


Verse of the Day

Sanctuary Trust works with homelessness and homeless related poverty and emergency homeless issues. God's Sanctuary was the vision of Sheila Halsall after seeing the level of homelessness Rochdale and later the homelessness Conwy and the substance misuse such as Drugs and Alcohol. By Providing emergency shelter for the homeless in supported housing services funded mainly through Supporting People we assist other providers such as Shelter homelessness, Petrus and Stepping Stones who are also supporting people through women's and men's hostels and floating support. We also have a Nightstop (crash pad). With our work in Wales we partner with Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) as they provide financial help for homeless through emergency shelter and their Supporting People funds. There are different kinds of accommodation available but what is needed is good quality supported accommodation with a strong business and development plan. We have also provided consultancy service to help others move closer to an answer to homelessness. Our social enterprise company, Sanctuary Trust Enterprises runs Noah's Ark Play Centre, The Storehouse Charity Shop.