London Homelessness Awards

Turning Point’s service for rough sleepers commissioned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has been shortlisted for the prestigious London Homelessness Awards 2024.

Now in its 25th year, the awards recognise innovation and encourage radical but practical solutions to homelessness and rough sleeping in London.

Organisers received over 30 applications for this year’s awards. After a rigorous shortlisting process, the judging panel chose six projects which included RBKC’s Rough Sleepers Drug and Alcohol Service – the only drug and alcohol service on the final list.

London Homelessness AwardsHaving opened in 2022, the service worked with 157 people last year who were sleeping rough or staying in emergency accommodation (hostels and hotels). The team successfully supported 31 per cent of the people they supported to move into more stable and secure housing and address their substance use.

Staff provide face-to-face support in places where people who are rough sleeping go – day centres, hostels, and faith-based centres. There are no appointments needed and people can commence treatment the same day.

The team includes peer mentors with lived experience of homelessness and substance use who provide advice and guidance to support people on their recovery journey. The also give harm reduction advice if a person is not yet ready to make a change in their substance use.

Turning Point and The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea recognised that in order to achieve their long-term goal to end rough sleeping, a multi-agency approach was needed.

The team led in the establishment of several multi-agency groups in the borough. They also have a learning programme that shares training with local professionals.

Homeless support

Vicky is someone who was supported by RBKC’s Rough Sleepers Drug and Alcohol Service. She said: ‘I started using drugs at 17. My day consisted of taking heroin, shop lifting on High Street Kensington, then I’d do nightwork on the streets. My using resulted in me losing my children, going to prison and I lost my leg from using drugs in my groin.

‘When I went to Turning Point, the staff were like family, no one was judging. Within a few weeks I could talk about anything. That’s when my life slowly starting to pick up and become more stable.

‘Turning Point offered me one-to-one counselling. Even when I relapsed a couple times, they understood that coming off the street was not easy.

‘My key worker Liam was brilliant, he checks on me even now. He will call me, ask me how I’m feeling, ask me about my mental health. He also helps with my housing, helps stuff get done – things that I need to improve my life.’

Anna Raleigh, Bi-borough Director of Public Health, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council, said: ‘Being shortlisted for the London Homelessness Awards is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the impactful work Turning Point is doing in our community. Their innovative approach and commitment to supporting rough sleepers and those struggling with substance use have made a significant difference in the lives of many residents.

‘This recognition highlights the importance of our collaborative efforts and the wider work we do across the Council to focus support on those who need it. It reinforces our dedication to preventing rough sleeping in Kensington and Chelsea and we are incredibly proud to be working with Turning Point.’

London Homelessness Awards Turning Point

Mark Dronfield, Senior Operations Manager at Turning Point’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: ‘We are very proud to have been shortlisted for the London Homelessness Awards and have the opportunity to raise the profile of the issues facing people sleeping rough in London.

‘We have seen from our work how much homeless people rely on our services. People sleeping rough on the streets is not inevitable and nobody is beyond help – with the right support, people can turn their lives around.

‘We’ve supported people who are sleeping rough to find stable accommodation, to address their substance use problems and to engage in our wider Get Connected offer that supports people to go back to work, back into education, and access funding for goods for their accommodation.’

Simon Dow is the Chair of the judging panel for the London Homelessness Awards. He said: ‘Once again – in the 25th year of the London Homelessness Awards – we have a terrific shortlist of projects for this year’s award. Here is real evidence of the endless ingenuity and determination of the organisations working with homeless people in London. We are proud to broadcast their successes.’

Julie Bass, Chief Executive at Turning Point, said: ‘Turning Point has 60 years’ experience of supporting the rough sleeping population in West London, providing harm reduction advice and drug and alcohol treatment.

‘We will continue to support homeless people in West London and across 280 locations around the country with the goal that no-one needs be homeless in the UK.’

This blog was originally published by Turning Point. You can read the original post here.

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