Hello, I’m Miranda, the new Fundraising Co-ordinator for St Martins, based at Head Office on Bishopgate. I’ve been in post for two weeks now. So far I’ve visited the Donation Station, Bishopbridge House, Under 1 Roof, Highwater House and Webster Court. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to join members of the Bridges walking group for a lovely walk along Marriott’s Way one afternoon, when I got to hear first-hand what activities people enjoy doing with Bridges, the drop-in mental health support service based at Under 1 Roof.
Talking to colleagues about their work, what’s really struck me is the complex nature of the many different circumstances that can combine to cause a person to become homeless. I was aware that homelessness can and does affect people from all walks of life, but I don’t think I’d fully appreciated just how many different factors could come into play. No two people’s circumstances are ever alike, and every person’s needs are completely individual. Providing someone with a bed for the night really is only the tip of the iceberg. People need support that is as individual as they are, they need respect and compassion to enable them to take whatever steps are most appropriate for them, in their own time.
To provide such support effectively requires a great team. Visiting the different parts of St Martins, all the colleagues I’ve met speak with a genuine passion for their work. Staff are positive and non-judgemental. As one colleague said to me, “meeting the team at St Martins it’s like meeting people you already know, they just have different faces”. In other words, because the team shares a common mind-set and positive, caring attitude, when meeting a colleague for the first time, there’s a feeling of something familiar. I’d agree with that. In the last two weeks, I’ve met a diverse and dynamic group of people who have made me feel very welcome, like becoming part of a new family!
People are central to the organisation, whether it’s the people who use St Martins services, staff or volunteers, people come first. It’s embedded in the language we use, for example, people using the services at Under 1 Roof are all ‘Members’, not ‘service users’, emphasising a sense of belonging and community. I’m looking forward to getting to know people at St Martins even better over the coming weeks and months. The more I know and understand the organisation, the more effective I can be as a fundraiser. Do get in touch and tell me about your experience of St Martins. I look forward to meeting you soon.
Pictured above: Miranda out for a walk on Marriott’s with the Bridges group, a service run by St Martins.