Essex Homelessness Apr 2013

Small Changes Make a Big Difference to Colchester Charity

The April Centre, which provides effective help for homeless people, approached CRASH for help with a relatively small project but one that would make a real difference to their charity.

The need

Based in Colchester, The April Centre supports single people aged between 18 and 50 who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or who are ‘hidden’ homeless (people who are sleeping on friends’ sofas for example).

They offer a variety of flexible services all around finding somewhere to live. This can include helping with benefits, housing, dealing with the authorities or police together with emotional and practical support.

The issue the charity had was that their main office, the hub of the organisation, was serving as a drop in premises and a meeting room for clients.  The site lacked disabled access and private interview rooms which are key to supporting our client group.  There was also a real need for computer space so that clients could carry out job searches etc.

The solution

CRASH called upon patrons to assist this project.

How patrons helped

With professional expertise from EC Harris LLP, financial support from CRASH and materials donated by British Gypsum, The April Centre was able to remove existing partitions and build new ones to reconfigure the working space. An element of soundproofing was installed in the newly partitioned areas to afford clients’ privacy.  New doors were also fitted and the internal walls given a fresh coat of paint.

“We want to be able to empower the service users not to do it for them. The building did not meet this requirement.  The waiting room was cramped and we were not able to provide safe comfortable area or provide hot drinks for vulnerable clients due to the layout – CRASH gave our charity the means to make a positive difference to our clients.”

Aiden Carter

The April Centre’s Property Manger

The April Centre is an independent charity made up of paid staff and volunteers. They aim to help those who feel uncomfortable or struggle when dealing with large organisations and the processes required when homeless and trying to find a home.  They also look to equip individuals with the support, information and skills to cope with housing issues on an on-going basis and support landlords within the housing process to enable all involved to reach positive and satisfactory outcomes.

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