After the last glass of wine is poured on Wednesday 4th November, we will be shutting our doors for the second time this year because of another government mandated lockdown. This isn’t the news we wanted, but like last time, we will get through this together.

We’ve loved seeing so many of your faces since we reopened after the last lockdown; your support has helped us get through one of the most challenging periods in the House’s long history and to keep delivering vital support to the people we work with in our Employment Academy.

Last month, we were excited to start our 17th Employment Preparation Programme and to welcome a new group of participants to the House. Over the past four weeks, participants have built strong bonds with each other, received IT and other employment training and started work experience throughout the House. We have committed to completing this Employment Preparation Programme over the next week through a mixture of remote and in-person training sessions. Our participants are excited to continue their journey with us. We’re committed to giving them as safe, positive and effective an experience as possible. After completing the programme, they will all be matched with a mentor and given progression support to help them navigate this challenging job market.

Our Employment Academy delivers real, meaningful change for people affected by homelessness. To do this, and to offer the support that so many of our participants rely on, costs money. We know that right now, you are not able to take advantage of everything that you expected when you paid your membership fee, but you are allowing us to deliver this vital work. Thank you.

As you know, our work doesn’t stop once people have completed the Employment Preparation Programme, with our support needing to evolve during the year.  Half of our graduates who had been in work in February 2020 are now unemployed. The majority of graduates experienced multiple serious challenges including financial hardship, anxiety related directly to Covid-19 or its impact, loneliness and isolation, mental health crises, benefits complexity and housing challenges. For two people, their housing arrangements broke down completely – but we have supported their move into secure homes. Without this support it is likely that they would once again have become homeless. Without your membership fee we would not have been able to offer this support. And we will not be able to continue without it. To read more about what we’ve learned from Covid so far and how we’re continuing to support our graduates, read here.

The first lockdown forced us to innovate and change our approach. We adapted so that we could continue to support people who needed it most. We will adapt again.

We’ll be keeping in touch via our members’ newsletter and doing our best to deliver a little bit of House magic into your inboxes. We look forward to welcoming you back into the building once we’re able to do so. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the membership team.

If you can, please stay with us. The future of those we support depends on it.

Stay safe. We’ll miss you (again). We’ll be back.

Rosie Ferguson
CEO, the House of St Barnabas