Elmbridge Rentstart opened the borough’s first ‘Winter Hub drop-in’ service in Walton, hosted by Transform Housing & Support, on 24 January 2019. Supported by both Elmbridge Borough Council and Walton Charity, the Hub will be run and manned by trained Elmbridge Rentstart staff. Whilst the Hub provides respite for individuals from the street, Elmbridge Rentstart staff will assist them in looking for suitable housing, identifying entitlement to benefits and opportunities for training or employment.
It has been funded by grants from Elmbridge Borough Council and Walton Charity, and initially will open from 10am until 2pm each day for three months. The Hub will offer people refreshments, hot freshly prepared food, areas to relax, watch TV, use computers or play board games, access to shower facilities and the premises also offers the ability to do laundry.
Transform Chief Executive, Lawrence Santcross said,
“This is a great example of local partners working together and we are thrilled that Transform can provide the facility to house the Hub.”
Elmbridge Rentstart Chief Executive, Helen Watson said
“We are really proud to have been asked to organise and run this really important new hub for the homeless or vulnerably housed community of Elmbridge who so very much need a safe and warm place to spend time across the coldest months of the year.”
In providing funding Jackie Lodge, Chief Executive at Walton, agreed
“sadly having seen a rise in rough sleeping across the borough, it was very easy to agree to fund this very important and potentially life changing project.”
Councillor Andrew Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Elmbridge Borough Council saidd
“Elmbridge Borough Council is supporting a number of projects aimed at tackling homelessness in general and rough sleeping in particular. The Council is pleased to support this project as it will help some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our community and as well as meeting their basic needs, we see it as a means of helping them to move off the street for good”.
The Hub is keen to accept any donations of clothing, and non-perishable foods; it also needs volunteers to help support specially trained members of Elmbridge Rentstart staff, so the charity has set up a specific schedule* for individuals to offer their time in two or four hour blocks.
The Hub is open to all individuals who are homeless, vulnerably housed or sofa-surfing. If any residents, businesses or community organisations are aware of anyone who may benefit from attending, please do recommend them to make contact with us by telephone: 01372 477167 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All users of the Hub will be required to complete a registration form.
* The link to the volunteering schedule can be found here. Volunteers will need to meet with an Elmbridge Rentstart team member before being accepted. If anyone has a valid DBS from another role please be prepared to bring this with you. No members of the community without a DBS would be left alone with any attendees.