Who we are
St Basils is both a Charity and a Housing Association with a track record of almost 50 years of providing a holistic range of accommodation and support services to young people aged 16-25 who are homeless, vulnerable or at risk.
The stereotypes of homelessness can all too quickly attach themselves to young people and trap them in a cycle of homelessness and on a restrictive pathway. A focus only on need, risks and problems can overshadow talents, strengths and ambition.
We want young people who come to St Basils to have the opportunity to develop a different narrative; to have the safety, security and support to visualise a brighter future and to develop the confidence, skills and resilience they’ll need to take full advantage of the networks and opportunities available to ensure they can make that better future a reality.
What we do
- We operate over 40 sites in Birmingham, Coventry, Evesham, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Worcestershire and Warwickshire offering over 500 units of accommodation per night and a range of prevention and support services.
- We take an outcomes focused approach providing a range of services based on an integrated pathway model we developed and has since been adopted nationwide.
- We have multifaceted youth engagement services to ensure young people are co-authors in their preferred future at individual and collective level.
Multi-Agency collaborative approaches
We manage the multi-agency Youth Hub in Birmingham which sees over 3,600 young people each year and prevents 91% from experiencing homelessness. The Youth Hub is a national exemplar of multi-agency working in order to prevent youth homelessness. Managed by St Basils, co-located services from Birmingham City Council’s Children’s Services and Housing department ensure that every young person between16-25 is greeted and assessed and receives appropriate assistance to prevent where possible their homelessness and to provide a safe solution where not. The Hub is the single referral point for access to all commissioned accommodation and support services for young people in Birmingham.
In 2017, we were also commissioned to manage the Youth Hub in Solihull as part of the Borough’s prevention pathway.
A Psychologically Informed Environment
St Basils accommodates circa 1500 young people each year in our supported accommodation. 78% of those are not engaged in education, training or employment when they come to us and 76% re-engage during their time with us. 92% leave us in a planned positive way moving on to independent living.
We have long recognised that providing accommodation alone is an inadequate response to the combination of factors associated with youth homelessness. Our services aim to provide a holistic response based on individual need and experience as young people make the transition to adulthood. We have taken a whole organisation approach to becoming a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE organisation) and have attracted interest nationally and internationally in the approach and the outcomes. This approach includes;
- Training for all staff in psychological approaches
- Reflective practice for all support staff from experienced Psychologists
- A high standard of buildings symbolising respect and ambition
- An alignment of all methodologies with a psychological understanding
- Co-design of services with young people.
Since 2013, we have been working with the University of Birmingham to develop and deliver an accredited Mental Skills Training Programme for young people, who are struggling to believe in themselves sufficiently to engage. The 10 week programme supports the development of self-confidence and resilience and has demonstrated significant results to date.
The needs and the impact we aim to achieve
The challenges young people face are made up of interlinked strands:
- structural and environmental challenges, and
- personal or internal challenges
Our analysis is that in order to help the young people we support to make sustained positive changes, we need to focus on both sets of challenges.
At a personal level this means;
- housing related support
- work and training
- emotional and social development and social capital
- forging stronger links with specialist services
- health and education
- developing more targeted integrated approaches
At a structural level we will continue to work with and influence policy makers, strategic partners, commissioners and stakeholders and be part of the End Youth Homelessness movement.
We have a strategy which is focused on delivering a range of medium term outcomes and longer term impacts for and with young people.
The impact we would like to achieve:
“We want the young people we work with to leave St Basils with a legacy of skills, knowledge, experiences, emotional and social resilience and contacts that enable them to continue growing and maturing as they become young adults. They will be equipped to make the most of the opportunities they encounter and to avoid severe and multiple disadvantage.”
Our experience is that if we can engage the young person in a successful relationship with a trusted adult, there is a greater chance that they will take up the opportunities available, will stick with the programme and will ultimately leave in a positive planned way. In particular we know that re-engagement with education, training and employment is critical for sustainable independence and we prioritise investment in this area.
- Level A Housing related support provider across all services
- Birmingham City Housing Partnership awards 2012 (Winner for Tenant Involvement; Highly commended for PIE development)
- National Youth Homelessness Scheme Centre of Excellence 2007, 2008, 2009
- Housing Corporation GOLD award for preventing youth homelessness 2006
- Stonewall top 100 employers for LGBT staff 2007
- Audit Commission Inspection – Top rating 2003
- Chamber of Commerce – Diversity in Employment Award 2006
- BMEspark – highly commended 2006 (services to vulnerable people in BME communities)
- In Biz Award for Customer Engagement 2005
- Investors in People 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014
- FBHO National Diversity Award
- Matrix Quality Standard for Information, Advice & Guidance
- Foyer Federation Accreditation
- Chartered Institute of Housing Branch Innovation Award (STaMP- Schools Training and Mentoring Programme)
- Facilitator of National Youth Reference Group (NYRG) 2008-2018
- Facilitator of National Youth Homelessness Parliament 2013 -2018
- Provision of government funded National Youth Homelessness Advisers
- UK Housing Award Winner 2018 – Outstanding contribution to Homelessness
Author: Chief Executive Jean Templeton