One Love is a new project in Southend providing support for the homeless. This is not only a wonderful project set up by three very passionate and caring people, but it is also a fantastic testament to Hollybrook Construction who have invested considerable funds and time in supporting the local community. This is One Love’s story so far:
This non-profit charity was founded in May 2017 by co-founders Zoey Smith, Karla Bryan and Colin Ball. All three had previous experience volunteering with other local ‘homeless charities’. It was felt that there was a ‘lack’ of care and compassion when dealing with the ‘homeless community’ within Southend and needed a better direction.
After lengthy discussions with Southend Borough Council we started to operate on a Monday evening at Clarence Road Car Park where we provided a choice of three hot meals (one a vegetarian) plus a pudding. We provided a range of hot drinks, supplied good quality clothing which had been donated together with a ‘night pack’ which consisted of water, fruit juice, roll or sandwich, cereal bar, crisps and bottle of water. We also provided tents and sleeping bags.
All the equipment was donated or we raised funds to purchase through our Facebook page which currently has over 2700 members. We have a pay pal account and a local bank account at The Metro Bank, Southend. We have appointed an accountant who also serves on Rochford District Council as a councillor.
We have currently over 40 volunteers who either help cook or attend our nights.
We are currently constituted with SAVS and intend to register with the Charity Commission at the end of 2017. We are also an active member of SHAN (Southend Homeless Action Network)
Due to the increase of homeless people we felt that we needed to extend our night of operation. In July we were very lucky to find another site to operate from. At the end of July we started at the new site on a Thursday evening. The new venue is the HollyBrook building site which is located by the Civic Centre in Southend. This brilliant company has supported us and have provided containers for us to provide –
- A Store room kitted out with shelving, power, washing machine and dryer –
Two independent showers in a covered area – (we provide fresh/new pants and socks/toiletries)
A tea room with boiler to provide hot drinks with a microwave together with tables and chairs – plus a fridge .
- A room where we can cook/prepare hot meals and again tables/chairs for the guests to eat the meals provided – plus another microwave –
A changing room where the guests are provided with gowns and slippers so they can have a shower, and arrange for their clothes to be washed etc. Within this room we also provide other services such as chiropody.
- A separate block of toilets and wash hand basins – so they can wash/shave etc.
- A private meeting room where we have ‘outreach partners’ who are able to discuss issues – to date we have had ‘Family Mosaic, Hope, DWP and counselling’ attend and use.
- They have also provided additional lighting, internal heating and two ‘smoking cabins’.
As you can see this is a very major investment by Hollybrook
Certain conditions were imposed on the site by the local council and after a successful launch at our new site we took the decision to move totally to the Hollybrook site from September 2017. This was due to many reasons.
Currently we operate a register of all the attendees and have recently (Sept 2017) managed to help one person become employed and housed. We encourage these people to return and help as volunteers so we are then able to continually support them if necessary. Since we started we now have 4 ex-homeless volunteers who are all housed and some employed.
THANKYOU FOR READING WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU –