In the summer of 2012, there was the grand opening of the new accommodation scheme in Aston, named ‘John Austin Court’, after the late former Chair of the St Basils board, Bishop John Austin. The accommodation provided a further 41 bed spaces in Birmingham.
Launched in 2011, this year St Basils embedded a new training and reflective practice, making the charity a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE). Key workers now apply these techniques in their daily roles, and PIE is part of the staff induction plan.
In December 2012 St Basils young people, who were part of the National Youth Reference Group, took part in the first ever ‘Youth Homeless Parliament’, in Parliament, London, with over 100 other homeless people from across the UK. The young people discussed the issues they wanted to bring to ministers’ attention, such as affordable housing and housing benefit.
In 2013, The National Youth Reference Group (NYRG), managed by St Basils was involved in developing a new project, led by Ashram Housing. The Big Lottery funded project, called Pay Ahead Stay Ahead (PASA), aimed to improve financial confidence for young people.
St Basils also launched the Youth Council, which gives young people a say on what goes on in St Basils. Members listen to the feedback of young people, in order to improve the service offered.
Summer 2013 saw the reopening of Mildenhall House in Solihull, run by St Basils since 1997, following refurbishment and extension. This refurbishment meant the property could increase from accommodating 5 young people, to 12.
The BOOST scheme was launched, with a pilot initiative, specifically designed to provide intensive ‘wrap around’ support for young people. This scheme will ensure young people with the most complex needs will have access to opportunities for training, placements and employment.
In November the Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge visited St Basils’ Carole Gething House in Small Heath, to find out about how the charity support young people into employment and independent living. The Duke spoke to residents and staff, praising the work of the St Basils. He was impressed with the work that St Basils do, saying that Birmingham is “Britain’s first city when it comes to care for vulnerable homeless young people. No-one else is doing it as well as you.” The Duke also learnt about the role St Basils play in the national ‘End Youth Homelessness’ campaign.
In December 2013 St Basils expanded their services to Coventry, having been awarded a contract to provide ‘Floating Support’ to young people. The service quickly expanded from supporting 45 young people to 75.
2014 saw the launch of a new ‘Nightstop’ scheme, which rely on hosts in the local community to offer up a spare room and practical help to young people in need of a safe place to stay, on a night by night basis. The accredited scheme provides an alternative to bed and breakfast accommodation, which can be daunting for young people. The service is available in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull, and was developed through working closely with local councils in these areas.
Services in Coventry were rapidly expanded, including the Positive Prevention Project, which secured funding after a successful 4-week pilot. The project allows those who have made a Homeless Application to Coventry City Council and believed to have a priority need to be referred to St Basils for an assessment. They can then be placed into temporary or supported accommodation.
Trentham House, which originally opened in the 1980s, was reopened in April 2014. The dedicated mother and baby accommodation had undergone significant renovation and modernisation, making it more suitable for the needs of the young mothers who live there. The scheme supports 17 young mothers, in the newly refurbished building. This renovation was funded thanks to a £150,000 grant from LandAid and other local trusts, which Trentham House Manager Denise Smyth says has made ‘a big difference to the wellbeing of our young moms and their children’.
The Foyer, in Kidderminster, purpose built to provide accommodation for 19 residents, was officially opened in July. Young people were even involved in the construction of this accommodation, giving them an opportunity to gain experience in construction and gain a qualification, the CSCS card, required to work on a construction site.
In December the Duke of Cambridge visited St Basils again, this time the accommodation scheme at John Austin Court, in Aston. He spoke with young people who have taken part in the schemes BOOST and the Mental Skills Training scheme (MST). The MST scheme was set up in partnership with the School of Sport, Exercises and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The scheme teaches young people how to build mental stamina and resilience, which they can then apply in other situations, in order to achieve positive results in their education, training or employment goals.
March 2015 saw the first ever Solihull SleepOut, an expansion of the Big SleepOut, which started in Birmingham in 1990.
A new Live & Work scheme was also opened, on the edge of Sandwell Hospital’s site in refurbished ex-nurses accommodation – St Basils first accommodation scheme in the area. The truly innovative scheme accommodated 27 young people somewhere safe and affordable to live, as well as providing employment and apprenticeships onsite. This allows greater levels of independence for young people in the scheme.
In 2015 St Basils expanded into Walsall, and made an innovative partnership with Caldmore Accord Housing Association, at the 8 bed accommodation 21 Hope St. St Basils provided a range of intensive support services for young people living at the accommodation, allowing them to move on to longer term accommodation.
In June the St Basils head office departments relocated. They moved just around the corner to 71-75 Allcock Street, allowing all head office staff to be on one site.
In December, the Duke of Cambridge returned to St Basils for his third visit! He visited the Living & Work scheme in Sandwell, meeting the young apprentices who live in the accommodation to discuss how their experiences of the scheme. He also met with representatives to update him on the progress of the BOOST and Mental Skills Training schemes that he had visited in December 2015.
If you want to find out about our recent activities from 2016, please see our News section.