SPEAR / St George Press Release

7th September 2012

St George and the Berkeley Foundation have awarded the homelessness organisation, SPEAR, a £10,000 grant, following the announcement that they have been adopted as a Berkeley Foundation Charity for the next four years. This long term relationship will have a very positive impact on SPEAR's services for vulnerable people.

This donation will be used to fund SPEAR's Skills Development service for the next six months, helping people who have been living on the streets to learn the skills they need to progress into employment and break the cycle of homelessness permanently.

For anyone who is sleeping on the streets, the first priority is accommodation, but there may be many other issues that need to be addressed if the person is to sustain a meaningful independent life. The Skills Development service focuses on increasing clients' self-esteem and confidence by helping them to gain access to the in-house skills activities and external training and education opportunities. The team prepares clients to work with SPEAR's Progression to Employment service, which provides one to one support for clients who are ready to engage in work placements and apply for employment.

For the past 25 years SPEAR has been providing support for people who are homeless or at the risk of becoming homeless. The charity is dedicated to supporting rough sleepers by providing access to accommodation; addressing issues related to their homelessness, (such as health or relationship problems); enabling clients to sustain their tenancy; and supporting young homeless people to build the foundations for a positive future.

To achieve this, SPEAR delivers three main work programmes, each of which incorporates skills development and/or progression to employment.

SPEAR's Resettlement Programme focuses on providing a local accommodation pathway for homeless people. From sleeping on the streets, clients move through the hostel, into training flats and then into independent accommodation. Last year the Programme received over 300 calls on the SPEAR Help line and worked with over 100 rough sleepers to help them find a place they can call home. The Programme also supported 100 people to sustain their supported, social and private rented sector tenancies.

SPEAR's Recovery Programme provides a Rough Sleeper Hostel, a Drug and Alcohol Service, and will shortly open a new second stage supported housing scheme for hostel residents preparing for an independent tenancy. The Recovery Programme concentrates on the personal development of clients by providing support to address issues such as mental health, addiction, domestic violence and relationship problems. SPEAR understands that addressing such issues is a necessary prerequisite for some clients to sustain an independent tenancy.

The Young Peoples Programme incorporates two young people's hostels with the aim of empowering and enabling SPEAR's younger clients to realise their potential by helping them to develop their life skills, tenancy, and employment skills.

The donation will allow SPEAR's Skills Development service to continue its work for the next six months, supporting clients across all three Programme areas. As a result of this funding, SPEAR will work with a minimum of 35 clients on confidence building and social skills activities, to undertake in-house training, engage in external education or training, and to access SPEAR's Progression to Employment service.

Alongside the £10,000 donation St George Properties are also proud to be the headline sponsor for SPEAR's annual sleep out event, The Big SPEAR Snooze, which will take place at the Harlequins Stadium on Saturday 6 October.

Ian Dobie of St George said: "Having seen first hand the work that the outreach team and skills development are involved with, and having spoken to a number of SPEAR's clients, we are delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile local charity. Homelessness is unacceptable in the 21st Century and we intend to work with SPEAR to raise awareness and funds for the people living on the streets in the Borough."

Stuart Nevill, SPEAR's Chief Executive said: "We are delighted to be supported by such a highly respected company in the Borough. With the commitment from Ian and the team at St George, we will be able to provide invaluable support for people who are homeless in Richmond."

For more information about The Big SPEAR Snooze or SPEAR's other fundraising opportunities, please visit our website http://www.spearlondon.org/ or contact Tanya Smith, SPEAR Senior Fundraiser, on 0207 036 9773.

Back to Press Releases