The Project is based in Longbridge and has been “preventing homelessness and improving lives” for over 25 years.
Here at The Project we have just finished producing this year’s annual report. It’s been a great opportunity to look back on a year full of changes and new challenges.
Our biggest change has been our name: South Birmingham Young Homeless Project was founded by Carrol Cooke over 25 years ago. The charity’s mission was to provide support and advice to the young people of South Birmingham who were homeless or in need. In that time we have helped thousands of individuals and families.
Last year, Carrol handed over the reins into the safe hands of Helen Sephton and now the remit of the charity is larger than ever. In 2016 we felt South Birmingham Young Homeless Project no longer reflected what we do and who uses our services, so after much discussion The Project was born.
In the past year we have partnered with many
wonderful organisations and groups. Our 2015 Christmas Santa’s Grotto was made possible by the wonderful people at Rapid Relief, providing music, food, drinks and marquees. Generous donations of kids toys meant that every child that attended the free event was given a present and it was a truly festive day full of smiles.
In February we teamed up with Marks and Spencer and started the Fresh Food Project. Run by our wonderful volunteers, items that are past their sell by date but not their use by date are donated to the project and distributed to our service users and other charitable organisations. Giving a healthy boost to people’s diet and reducing unnecessary food waste. Since the fresh food project started we have distributed over 400 trays of food.
For Easter we held two free kids craft days. With chocolate nest making, decorating biscuits, face painting and a competition to find the best Easter egg design. Once again we have our wonderful volunteers to thank for their time and energy in making this possible.
At The Project we pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and safe environment for our service users and in April staff and customers from the Old Hare and Hounds donated their time and resources to the transform of our front Garden. Their hard work made that area not only safer but somewhere it is a pleasure to spend time.
In September, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary at the Old Hare and Hounds Pub, with a bouncy castle, food, drink, kids entertainment and face painting. We also launched our new charity name, logo and our new website. We also showcased our new mobile outreach unit, a converted exhibition bus which has been refurbished as a mobile office.
During the past year, The Project once again saw an increase in the number of people accessing its services, the levels of support we have provided has increased in all areas, this reflects the current homelessness crisis Birmingham and the UK is facing.
Research carried out by Homeless Link reports that 5196 Homeless applications were made just to Birmingham’s Local authority during 2015 with 3416 people being accepted as Homeless, couple this with the Government figures published in June 2016 showing that at the end of March 2016 there were 71,540 households across the UK living in temporary accommodation it is not hard to see that Homelessness is an enormous issue that can affect anyone of us.
This is the reason we will continue to work with citizens to prevent homelessness and improve their lives, we will support people to navigate through the complicated benefit systems, we will support people to find suitable and secure accommodation, we will provide support to alleviate poverty and debt, we will provide support to people that want to work and improve their situations and we will continue to provide food and clothing for the most vulnerable.