20th birthday bash at Bruce House
Bruce House in Westminster celebrates its 20th birthday in some style.
Residents, councillors and representatives of four of London's biggest housing providers came together at Peabody's Bruce House in Westminster last week to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The building was in a state of disrepair when Peabody bought and renovated it, and it was then officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 1995.
Since that time, Peabody, along with our managing agents Riverside, Look Ahead and Centrepoint, have been offering housing and support to the borough’s most vulnerable people at the centre.
Fun, theatre, food...
An eclectic range of activities included a play based on George Peabody's life, the unveiling of a mural (both created by the Arts Cellar), Spanish and blues guitar playing, creative workshops and food provided by on-site restaurant Sarastro.
Stephen Howlett, Peabody CEO, said: "Bruce House is an outstanding facility which has been supporting Londoners since 1906.
"It is a real honour to be stood here today, 20 years after Peabody acquired Bruce House, reflecting on the achievements of the centre and looking at how our offer has grown.
"There is a real sense of community amongst those who live and attend Bruce House which we are proud to be a part of."
... and a helping hand
Around 100 people live on site, and Amanda Clark, Riverside Regional Operations Manager, said: "[We] help our former homeless customers prepare for their next step along the recovery journey into independent living."
Once a resident shows they can manage life as a tenant at Bruce House they're helped to move into independent living accommodation.
James Wilson - artist
James came to Bruce House in 2013 after a period of squatting and experiencing difficulties with his mental health. He has always been a keen artist, and began participating in the London Connection art group, where he says he feels painting helps stabilise his mood and gives him a sense of purpose.
Support services at Bruce House are helping James to move on to independent accommodation through resettlement services. At the anniversary celebration, James unveiled ten new pieces of artwork themed around cubism and animation.
"Excellent value for one and a penny..."
...is how George Orwell described Bruce House in 1933's Down and Out in Paris and London, and according to new research  tackling homelessness early could save the taxpayer up to £18,000 for every person helped away from the streets, helping people to succeed in their lives and better contribute to society and the economy
Source:  Crisis: The Financial Costs of Single Homelessness in the UK.