A group of CRASH patrons and trustees visited Step by Step to see for themselves the impact their support has had on the lives and prospects of young homeless people in Aldershot.
Step by Step’s flagship training and residential centre opened just over a year ago thanks to the help and support of CRASH patrons Bauder AECOM, Balfour Beatty, Mansell, Burdens and Lafarge. CRASH also awarded the project a grant totalling £35,636.
Step by Step, an organisation providing shelter and support to homeless young people aged 16-25, approached CRASH to assist in the most significant construction project in their history. CRASH helped complete a £3.7 million, three storey new building on a brown field site in Aldershot comprising of residential, training and administration facilities and re-placing six unfit for purpose properties previously used by Step by Step.
Simon Johnson Director AECOM, Mark Peters Head of Secretariat Balfour Beatty and Andrew Mackenzie Managing Director Bauder joined CRASH trustees Ken Ludlam and Tony Bonnar and CRASH Chief Executive Francesca Roberts on a tour of the facilities.
Led by Step by Step’s Chief Executive Amanda Dubarry, Operations Manager Tim Hammond and accompanied by two young residents Tairo and Chris (pictured above), the group were able to hear a first-hand account about the issues facing homeless men and women. The group also heard how, with the help of Step by Step, the vast majority of clients at the project were making excellent progress on the road to independence.
“Everyone immediately appreciated the benefits of living and working in clean, modern, purpose-built surroundings,” said Amanda. “As the year progressed, we began to see other, less tangible, benefits emerge – most notably a significant improvement in client outcomes, up by 10% from last year.”
She continued: “There has been a demonstrable increase in clients’ self-esteem, their desire to succeed, and their willingness to do what it takes to turn their lives around.”
Amanda’s words were echoed by Step by Step client Tairo who told patrons and trustees: “I really appreciate all the help I am getting here but I do want to make the most of myself. I am a really motivated person, I spend most of my free time looking for a job. I want to be independent, I want to find my own studio flat and pay my own rent.”
Nicknamed ‘Mamma Tairo’ – apparently because of her ‘pestering’ of fellow residents to tidy up after themselves – her attitude is the norm rather than the exception. She also enjoys visiting schools in the area as part of the project’s peer education programme to talk to local youths about homelessness.
Chris, who studied catering at college before becoming homeless, was more succinct: “I just don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Step by Step.” His ambition is to get back into catering and become a chef.
“The opening of the new building was only ‘the end of the beginning’” said Amanda. “We are determined to use all our resources to inspire out young people to overcome their personal barriers, to realise their full potential within society, and to aim for excellence in everything they do.”
• Bauder supplied and installed an energy efficient 400m2 roof at a substantially reduced rate
• AECOM, Balfour Beatty and Mansell provided free professional expertise
• Burdens and Lafarge supplied free materials
• CRASH gave the project a grant totalling £35,636