Activity sessions put homeless people back in the picture
Art classes and bike repair sessions are on offer to homeless people at a Basingstoke outreach centre. Julian House charity, based in Maritime House, New Road, has organised the activities to empower their clients and boost their self-esteem.
The opportunity to learn new skills such as bike repair and the beneficial effects of creating art are part of the charity’s Assertive Outreach service and sessions are held regularly at the Basingstoke site. The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Sean Keating attended Julian House’s open day on Thursday 7 June where he met staff, clients and watched the activity taster sessions in progress. He met members of the Homeless Art Group and viewed their work and chatted to clients interested in taking part in the monthly bike repair workshops.
Staff at Julian House support rough sleepers, domestic violence sufferers and people with addictions and put them in touch with other local homeless agencies, supported housing and social enterprises. The service is part of a social inclusion partnership, funded by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which has seen rough sleepers numbers fall by 42 per cent in the borough, from 26 in 2016 to 15 last November.
The partnership’s Real Change, Not Loose Change campaign has raised over £30,000 during the past two winters which has funded a night shelter for the homeless and facilities at the Camrose Centre and Julian House in Basingstoke.
The Mayor said: “It is very heartening to see the great work being carried out at Julian House to support local people who are homeless.
“Not only do they receive useful advice and a helping hand to get off the streets and reconnect with society, but the staff here really listen to them.
“I was very impressed with the art group’s work and the bike repair workshops – these will give homeless people more confidence in their abilities and allow them to thrive.”
The charity’s chief executive Peter Denning said: “The value of an effective outreach service cannot be understated.
"Living on the streets is a very dangerous existence and many are very vulnerable. Typically more than 60 per cent will have mental health problems and they are at increased risk of violence.
“Some will be cautious about engaging with outreach staff. But we know from experience that if you get alongside them and understand their individual issues, the prospects for getting them off the streets and reconnected with mainstream society are significantly improved.”
For further details visit www.julianhouse.org.uk
Photo shows: The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Sean Keating, with two of the Julian House staff - Mark Sayer, the charity's Social Enterprise Area Manager, and Souad Bouterfas, Outreach Manager.