Sanctuary's Halsall House hostel is located in Rochdale town centre and was our first supported housing project. The hostel has room for 13 homeless men and provides a programme to help them gain independent living and take their place in society.
Whilst at the hostel, residents work closely with Key Workers who help them tackle the issues that have caused homelessness. These are often drug, alcohol and relationship based issues. Each circumstance is considered different and the emphasis is on finding the right solution for the individual.
Some of the key features that the hostel programme includes are:
- Abstinence based recovery programme including drug and alcohol testing.
- Personal action planning - the resident will create an action plan with the help of their key worker. The plan is written in the Management Console; software Sanctuary Trust have developed, which enables the resident and key worker to create, develop, print and review the plan and also gives a percentage indication on the front page of how the plan is progressing.
- Personal development meetings - these meetings encourage goal setting and developing the resident's full potential.
- Success Programme 10 units of training incorporating
Independent living skills
Setting personal goals
- Recreation - this facilitates outdoor pursuits, leisure and educational trips for the residents.
Each resident is treated with the utmost respect and dignity, and are encouraged to express their individuality.
Sanctuary's hostel intends to give residents all that is needed to attain a positive lifestyle, spiritually, mentally and physically.
The Sanctuary Trust is proud of the work that hostel achieves and the change in lives that the project has seen.
Interview with Tom Fernandez, Team Leader of Halsall House - Held on Wednesday 9th May 2018
Interviewed by / notes edited by Colin Atkinson
FIRST, CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE JOB YOU DO FOR SANCTUARY, PLEASE?
My name is Tom Fernandez and I am the Team Leader over at Halsall House on Tweedale Street.
A little about the job I do. I am relatively new to the job, I only took over late last year, so it's been a bit of a learning curve for me - I am just about getting to grips with things.
So, a little bit about my role or what I think my role is. So I oversee, first and foremost, thirteen Service Users and my job, in respect of the Service Users, is to manage the risk and also manage the Staff to make sure they are performing to the best that they possibly can - that I alleviate as much pressure as possible off the Project Workers so that they can concentrate on the core project work. I think, I have a good understanding of this because I was a Project Worker for a number of years - I understand exactly how the front line works and I understand where pressures can increase and what I can do to help alleviate that which in turn, hopefully, gives the Project Workers more freedom to be able to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE PROJECT AND HOW IT BEGAN?
It a thirteen bedded Men's hostel. It began roughly about 1990 - it started off as a Soup Kitchen in what is now the recreation room and that was initially started by Sheila Halsall who felt there was a need for support and encouragement for individuals experiencing homelessness within the Borough of Rochdale - she started off with a pan of soup in the boot of a car on Rochdale Town Hall and then that became the Soup Kitchen which was at Halsall House - I think it was around the time when Dave Smith became involved that he looked into the funding side of things and then the business grew and elaborated to Halsall House as we know it today. It was fully converted about 17 years ago, mainly through a Lottery grant, to make it the thirteen bedded hostel it is today.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHY YOU THINK HALSALL HOUSE IS IMPORTANT OR WHY IT IS NEEDED?
It is massively important because it helps the most vulnerable people in society and it offers support and encouragement for those who really want and need it. We never say 'No' to anybody and we have a bit of a revolving door policy so, if the penny doesn't drop on the first time, hopefully by the second, third, fourth, fifth - in some people's case, eight or nine times - once the penny eventually does drop, we are still going to be there to support and encourage those same individuals who have been accessing the service who are trying to sort out their chaotic lifestyles for so long.
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING OF THE POSITIVES OF WORKING AT HALSALL?
The positives are the real changes you see in front of you on a daily basis - so, it can be something so small, for example, if someone has never cooked a meal for themselves, they then suddenly will cook with a member of Staff, they then serve that meal to twelve guys, who are massively appreciative - and that does wonders for their self-esteem and confidence - right the way round to seeing people being abstinent for year and years, and I see them out on the street, walking around Rochdale, and they still thank me and they shake my hand and they still say that if it wasn't for the support and the help they received from the Sanctuary Trust then they would not be where they are today.
ARE THERE ANY NEGATIVES?
The negatives, unfortunately, it's a double edge sword - for every positive outcome, there is always going to be the negative outcomes and it's just that it's a negative that you cannot help everyone - it's not a long term negative, it's just something that happens with addiction - people do fall during recovery and they come across stumbling blocks in their road that they might struggle to get over so, unfortunately, they do not always make it to their destination on the first time - that can be a negative - but, like I said, as long as you do not dwell upon it, it doesn't take away that fact of the good work that we do - which then helps to ease the pain a little.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF HALSALL HOUSE?
I basically want to build on the success that has already happened over the past twenty-nine/ thirty years. We obviously do something right because we have so many positive outcomes and if I can just continue to grow and build on that then that is my job done really.
THANK YOU, TOM.