Thank you, dear Members! We made it!

Well, it has been quite a year. And I wanted to write personally to thank each one of you for supporting us through it.

Thank you to those of you who stayed members throughout the pandemic. We genuinely would not be here, and not able to deliver the impact we have without you.

Welcome to those of you who have joined us in the last few months. We are delighted to have you as part of our community as we embark on this new and exciting phase.

The pandemic had a huge impact on the people we work with.  By the end of March 2021, 33% of Employment Academy graduates who got work in the past two years had lost their jobs as a direct result of lockdown. Our focus necessarily and suddenly shifted to navigating furlough and job insecurity, maintaining emotional health, housing, motivation and resilience, providing digital equipment and care packages and supporting those continuing to go to work to be Covid-safe. Our volunteer mentors (many of whom are members) stepped up their commitment with regular calls, help with problem solving and accessing services and emotional support at a time when people were feeling at their lowest. And we still delivered an on-site Covid-safe Employment Preparation Programme for new participants in the autumn.

After navigating the social and financial challenges of the last year, we are overjoyed to be back open, with our Employment Preparation Programme in action and with participants serving coffee, changing lightbulbs, and greeting members on their work experience placements throughout the House. We are delighted to have seen so many of you here, both for the five weeks of snuggling under heaters in the garden and now to see the whole House buzzing with your energy and conversation.

And as we prepare for the final restrictions lifting, hopefully on June 21st, we can’t wait to get the party started. We commit to make being a member of the House of St Barnabas one of the best decisions you make each year. We have worked hard while we have been closed to reward you for your loyalty; by making the club extra special for the year ahead with our renovated garden, stunning new Liberty-designed rooms, diverse and exciting DJ programming and our new and improved in-house hospitality offer. We’re here to make sure your workdays, party nights, romantic meals and events happen in Barnabas style, however you choose to enjoy our building.

Over the year ahead we want to continue to strengthen our member community and experience with an increasing range of cultural and networking events and our delicious evolving menu. As a way of saying thank you, until June 30th, we’re offering you the chance to invite two of your favourite people to join our community and we’ll waive their joining fee. Just get them to add your name as a proposer on our membership application form, and we’ll do the rest!

We hope you’ve been enjoying your extended guest list of up to five people per member, and that this has enabled you to reconnect with some of your nearest and dearest. We’ll be keeping this extended guest list in place for a little while longer yet.

We are focused on supporting current and future graduates out of homelessness and into work, despite the economic outlook. We want to build partnerships with a wide range of employers and convene and challenge the hospitality sector on prioritising good work within its recovery, by which we mean decent pay, stable hours, and opportunities to progress. This will enable our graduates and those like them to progress permanently into more stable lives.

So once again, on behalf of all our graduates who we have supported over the last year and those we’ll support in the years ahead – thank you. Being a member of the House of St Barnabas is not just about a fabulous place to eat and drink, a stunning building and a great community, but every single day your membership works to break the cycle of homelessness.