Care Starts at Home
With more care and support customers than ever before, we were very happy to support the recent Starts at Home campaign.
Following our merger with Family Mosaic, we now have 8,000 care and support customers across the South East of England. That's why we were particularly pleased to support the recent National Federation of Housing Starts at Home day. The aim of this campaign is to ensure that people who need extra support will always have a safe home that meets their needs.
Members of our Executive Team showed their support by visiting some of our centres on the day.
Digby's Court in Braintree
Digby's Court (below) was opened in September 2016. It has 20 flats where people who have lost their home can stay while Braintree Council assess their housing needs. It also has a 'crash pad' for nominations from Chelmsford Council.
The garden at Digby's Court in Braintree
People stay at Digby's because they are homeless. This could be because they have fallen into rent arrears or have had to deal with other serious issues – for example, domestic abuse and/or family breakdown, a flood or a fire. While they are there staff can advise about welfare benefits, if needed, and signpost them to further help and advice.
There are flats for people of all ages: whether families, couples or single people. The average stay is three months but people can stay longer while their situation is resolved.
Operations Manager Sarah Thompson said: "People are often in desperate need of support or a breathing space to allow themselves to regroup when they arrive here. We help them to put their lives back together."
Sarah Thompson, Operations Manager, with John Lewis, Executive Director Thamesmead
John Lewis, Peabody’s Executive Director of Thamesmead, who visited Digby's Court, said:
"It's an amazing place because it gives people hope when they have reached a low point in their lives.
"As well as offering residents somewhere nice to live, caring staff are on hand to offer support and advice. This means that people staying at Digby's Court have the opportunity to start planning a better future."
Bernard Brett House in Colchester
Bernard Brett House provides accommodation for young people (16+) who have been in care or on the cusp of care (ie, they can no longer live at home with their parents or guardian/s). Staff help the young people to cope with the transition from care and support them so that they can go on to live independently.
Left to right: Sarah Thompson, Susan Hickey, and Dan Gent at Bernard Brett House
20 boys and girls live at the House and there are four flats nearby where they can move to afterwards for follow-up care.
Dan Gent, Team Manager at the House, said: "We're showing young people their own potential and giving them the skills to process what they have been through, which is often traumatic. We do see results – maybe not straight away but we're sowing the seeds here."
Susan Hickey, Peabody's Executive Director Finance, said:
"I was very interested to visit Bernard Brett House and learn about the way that young people are helped there.
"It's clearly very important work and staff can face challenges on a daily basis. I'm pleased that we’re providing such good support to these young people who are going through difficult times in their lives."
Other visits on the day
Pauline Ford, Executive Director of Integration, visited The Old Dairy in Tunbridge Wells. She said:
"I had the opportunity to reconnect with why the delivery of our supported housing services is important to the customers we support and the communities we want to play our part in creating.
"Each customer has been encouraged to reach their potential through the ever-changing circumstances that life throws at them and are living independent lives."
Stephen Burns, Executive Director of Communities, visited one of our schemes in Basildon. He said:
"The staff I met were really committed and I got a chance to meet several residents.
"It was very interesting and truly humbling."