Rooftop drama

When the hostel was built in 2009, a roof garden was created but never quite reached its potential.

Now that has changed. The terrace project aimed at creating a more pleasant space for residents to relax. It was also to engage residents in a practical project, something they could create themselves, learn some new skills and gain confidence working with staff and other residents.

Eight residents were involved from measuring out and cutting the timbers, to stopping the wood from drying out too much and then eventually the full assembly of the pergola.

It’s been enjoyed throughout the summer. Our thanks to Aidan who led the project. 

Meeting the hostel’s health challenge

YOUR giving helps fund a health co-ordinator at the Leonard Stocks Centre.

Nearly all our residents have complex needs which makes life on the streets doubly perilous.

So coming into the hostel where there is specialist support available is a life saver.

The Friends contribute £15,000 to help connect residents with the support they need. 

A specialist drug and alcohol worker is in most days offering strategies to escape addiction .

Three days a week a GP service is offered with a practice nurse on site. A liver specialist nurse visits weekly and has successfully treated nine residents  suffering Hep C infection.

Dr Tom, a psychiatrist with Devon Partnership Trust, goes in weekly to chat to residents experiencing mental health problems. Sadly a huge number of our residents have a diagnosis of mental disorder, a reminder that homelessness has multiple causes, layer on layer of co-morbidity.

The NHS Stop Smoking Service has continued to fund Vapes for residents and several have stopped smoking altogether.

Jenny McNulty, health co-ordinator at the hostel, said: “I’m grateful to the Friends for their help. Bringing all this support together gives our residents the best chance of recovery.”

Home comforts and quiz nights

Thank you Friends for helping fund those little extras which make life a little easier in the hostel. 

We bought laundry baskets and waste bins for each of the 30 rooms, we’ve funded new tables and chairs for the dining area. With your help we’ve delivered toiletries and towels. 

This Christmas, as we do every year, we will help staff purchase individual presents for residents, with a generous donation for each resident.  

And, Covid-19 permitting, we will resume our games, quizzes and buffet evenings. If you want to volunteer make contact here.

Moving on

Moving residents on into long term, quality accommodation, is the ambition of much of the hostel’s work.

To help a move go smoothly the Friends spend up to £300 a person on essential white goods to transform an empty flat into a home. Furniture charities are also contacted. 

Last year, your donations funded £1500 worth of move-on support. 

Tony’s treasured service

MANY of you may already be aware that Tony Moore, our treasurer for many years, died earlier this year. He was meticulous and reliable with a deep compassion for those living on our streets, rooted in his Christian faith. Members will remember his carefully hand-written receipts and letters finished with a joke or two. 

“Well done, good and faithful servant ..... Enter into the joy of your Lord”

Cutlery, plates needed

Do you have any plates and cutlery you no longer need? Or can you make a donation of new equipment? .We are always in the need of kitchenware and t’s expensive to buy so if you have sets of saucepans, baking trays, mugs and utensils please ring the hostel on 01803 217893.

Bring us books

OUR secondhand book stall in Torquay market is raising hundreds of pounds a year for the Friends. People give books and make a donation when they take one. Our thanks to the traders at Torquay market for keeping it tidy and making sure our donation tins don’t go astray! If you have any books drop them down to the market which is in Market Street, Torquay.

Frontline health funded by you

Over the last five years your giving has helped fund a £15,000 a year contribution to a health coordinator post in the hostel. Why is this important? Because those who have come off the streets can have complex needs which need urgent attention. 

The mortality rate of rough sleepers is high with a life expectancy of 45yrs for men and 43yrs for women. Drug-related deaths in Torbay have increased more than 200% since 2010. Many of these deaths are preventable and treatable.

On admission to the hostel our health coordinator undertakes a comprehensive assessment and suggests an action plan. The resident can then make use of support which COMES INTO the hostel. This includes a GP (3xweek), a practice nurse, drug and an alcohol workers, psychiatrist, community mental health nurse, tissue viability nurse and sexual health advisors.

This intensive support also prevents frequent use of A&E. Homeless people are 6 times more likely to attend A&E and 4 times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population.

One of our residents said: “I’ve got a few problems that I’m getting to deal with that I probably wouldn’t have bothered with. If you really want to make changes and help yourself, it’s all here for you to use.”

Food fun and games

Once a month our volunteers come into the hostel to provide a hot meal and an evening of board games. The volunteers have a good time and so do the residents. The party atmosphere gets people out of their rooms and into communal space where spirits are lifted and friendships forged. We would like to increase these evenings to more than once a month. If you would like to volunteer contact us.

Final thought

“I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Gospel according to Matthew 25:36