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Project information

Step Up 2018: Recovery through volunteering

The most effective and sustained route out of homelessness is employment. Many people we work with are low in skills, confidence and are not work ready. Through volunteering in a safe and supportive environment people can gain personal and employability skills to build a stable and positive future.

May 2018 - May 2018

Charity information: The Connection at St Martin's - helping homeless people in London

The Connection at St Martin's - helping homeless people in London logo
  • Need


    Housing alone does not solve homelessness. Once housed people are often living alone and lacking structure, purpose and support networks and their chance of relapsing to the streets is high. Volunteering reduces isolation and increases resilience. Meaningful occupation helps people overcome mental health issues, long term unemployment, getting work and qualifications. According to Homeless Link, the number of people sleeping rough in England has more than doubled in the last seven years.


    We are committed to working “with” not “for” our clients at every level of the organisation. Our clients are assets with valuable skills and experiences and play an essential role in designing, delivering and evaluating our services.
    Our Step Up volunteering programme offers a number of basic volunteer roles for clients but we want to develop it so that we can offer progression routes and qualifications in advice and guidance, peer mentoring and health and social care.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To develop our client volunteering programme to offer a wide range of roles across the centre


    » Work with staff to design volunteer placements in every key service at The Connection
    » Design and deliver training sessions for staff helping support volunteers
    » Design and deliver role specific training for clients

    What success will look like

    Success will be an increase in the number of staff trained as well as an increase in the number and variety of roles on offer

    Aim 2

    To increase staff participation in client volunteering at The Connection


    » Train staff to interview clients about their skills and interests in order to encourage engagement with the Step Up volunteer programme
    » Regularly advertise a variety of volunteering opportunities to clients
    » Run regular recruitment and interview sessions for a variety of placements

    What success will look like

    Success will be 25 more clients volunteering at The Connection in the financial year 2019-2020

    Aim 3

    To provide progression opportunities in volunteering at The Connection


    » Develop new ‘in-reach’, advice and guidance peer support volunteering roles for current or previous Step Up volunteers
    » Research and develop relevant in-house and external qualification providers
    » Award volunteers with qualifications and certificates of achievement

    What success will look like

    Success will be the number of Step Up volunteers who gain qualifications through volunteering at The Connection

  • Impact


    This project will meaningfully engage a wide variety of clients with varying skills, abilities and qualifications. Step Up volunteers will gain confidence, personal and employability skills which will equip them with the necessary skills in order to gain employment and offer a route out of homelessness


    A number of older homeless people who use our service have lived on the streets long-term and are entrenched with complex needs. This can sometimes make progress slow and there are set backs. Our service staff have highly specialised training and are patient and understanding working with each person on an individual basis ensuring their needs are met.


    Funders of this project will receive bi-annual updates from us and be invited in to visit our centre, and to meet some of their beneficiaries.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £1,250 Reception Reception training
      £1,250 Fundraising Fundraising roles such as challenge and special events assistance
      £1,250 Workspace Mentoring clients in IT and job skills
      £1,250 Consumables Building costs
      £2,500 Day Centre Befriending new clients and giving tours
      £2,500 Night Centre Befriending new clients and giving tours

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Major Donor £10,000 Conditional
  • Background


    The Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields
    12 Adelaide Street
    WC2N 4HW


    Any homeless clients who use our service

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Connection at St Martin's has a history of helping homeless people stretching back almost 100 years. We are the UK's largest specialist organisation working with rough sleepers and have a proven track record of successfully helping people to turn their lives around and leave behind self-destructive street lifestyles. We have a user-led philosophy, and homeless people are consulted at all levels - this project being a prime example.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rosie Allen-Jones

    Client Involvement Coordinator