I was delighted to be appointed as the Chief Executive of St Martins earlier this year. As a local person I knew about the night shelter which was opened by Alan Webster in 1970. However, I hadn’t appreciated how much St Martins has grown and developed since the days of the night shelter. We now offer a wide range of services to meet the often complex needs of people who are homeless or rough sleeping. Most people know about Bishopbridge House, our Direct Access hostel. Following a recent redevelopment at Bishopbridge House we can now provide accommodation for 37 people. This includes 4 sit up beds which are for emergency use 365 days a year.
I’ve found that people know less about some of our other services. Our Outreach service forms an important link between the people who are sleeping rough and St Martins. Our teams are regularly out on the streets early in the morning making sure rough sleepers know what we can do to support them and how we can help them into accommodation. Highwater House is a dual diagnosis care home for 22 people. Highwater House is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and rated as a ‘good’ care establishment.
We are also leading the way here on a new initiative called a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE). The results of implementing PIE at Highwater House have been truly amazing and life changing for some of the people living at Highwater House. We also have Sheltered Accommodation for 33 people over the age of 50 at Webster Court. Some of these people need care and support which is delivered by our CQC registered home care service. Our CQC rating at Webster Court is ‘good’. In addition to the important work we do at Bishopbridge, Highwater House and Webster Court we also have a male only hostel for 22 people, a number of Group Homes which can accommodate 45 people, a supported living service and temporary accommodation.
At any one time St Martins is providing care and support to around 200 people. We also have a fantastic learning and development facility called Under 1 Roof which offers people access to accredited learning (e.g. Trusted Tenants Programme), gives people the opportunity to learn about things which interest them and provides access to computers. So for me it’s been a busy couple of months, learning about the organisation and meeting as many of our 140 amazing staff as possible. St Martins is certainly more than a home for the homeless and I look forward to working with our committed and dedicated trustees to develop our new 3 year Strategic Plan.