The Hope Hub
Mags Mercer is the CEO of this charity and she has experience of working in the private, social and homeless sectors in several counties before for many years. Under the auspices of the ecumenical churches of Churches Together in Camberley, The Hope Hub was constituted in December 2017 for the relief of poverty and specifically to help prevent and end homelessness. The Hope Hub logo is an a-cross-stick with H representing Holistic, O Open to all P Person centred E Empowering. The registered charity began operating from 2.5 rooms in a church house in May 2020 when a 2nd member of staff joined Mags and the work and charity flourished. In April 2019, the charity was able to move to 3,000 sq ft premises owned by the local Council. Grants were secured to fit it out purposely. Their work encompasses a comprehensive SERVICES PATHWAY made of up CRISIS drop in and EMPOWERMENT (appointment based) services for everyone aged 18+. People who access their services may be homeless, of NFA, sofa surfing, or having problems getting universal credit or housing benefit. It’s a critical day service with case workers and a front line team all trained in mental health awareness and trauma informed care. The belief is that everyone has some strengths. The problems they encounter include those of mental health, alcohol, complex needs, worry and about 10% are cases of domestic abuse.
The Services Pathway can be accessed with courses at their premises behind the Civic Offices: money management, basic IT skills, how to set up and manage social media, and anger awareness. The Living Well Workshops cover affordable cookery, food safety and hygiene, health for life, walking to health, understanding tenancies, basic budgeting and living well with IT. Projects include Digital Lifeline.
15-20 service users visit the hub each day. There are many phone calls and interventions being made. There are about 5,905 individual one to one sessions each year.
There is a huge demand in the borough for what the hub offers. Services were accessed 4,790 times in 2019/20 and at the end of March 2022, the figure was 10,208. During Covid, twenty volunteers sourced and delivered food parcels and we continue to source and provide up to 35 parcels a week for those struggling to put food on their tables.
A recent Bridge the Gap Pilot Scheme initiated by the SCC Public Health Team has been successful and a larger Changing Futures programme will now roll out across 15 counties in the UK. It involves working with persons who have multiple disadvantages, including homelessness and mental health difficulties. Seven homeless organisations will work together and a clinical psychologist will be engaged for Surrey.
Since January 2022 The new Emergency Accommodation Service has been able to offer a house with six bedrooms, which is open 16 hours a day, and staffed by an Evening Case Worker followed by an Overnight worker.
I was delighted to meet the staff, to present two certificates with a Hope Hub pen to Lorna and Sam (plus Easter Eggs!) for Successful Employment and Work Experience (Level 3 in Social Care) respectively. Thank you Mags for giving me your time. More importantly, for setting up and leading an excellent charity and a great team.