Poole’s first homeless centre serves 4542 meals since opening
Routes to Roots, a local charity dedicated to supporting rough sleepers, vulnerably housed and newly housed – formerly homeless – adults in Poole, has served more than 4540 meals to those in need since the Genesis Centre on Hill Street opened its doors in March last year.
The charity acquired a Baptist church, now known as the Genesis Centre, in 2020 using a £150,000 interest-free loan given by Talbot Village Trust, a grant-giving charity that supports worthy causes across south-east Dorset, and is only repayable if the building is sold. Two subsequent grants from the Trust, totalling £60,000, enabled Routes to Roots to complete the first phase of the Centre’s renovations ahead of the opening last year.
Kate Mellor, Chair of Trustees at Routes to Roots, said: “Routes to Roots is very grateful to the Talbot Village Trust for its support in getting the Genesis Centre up and running. Without the Trust’s funding, we would have really struggled. The impact on homelessness services in Poole has been immensely beneficial due to the Trust’s help. We hope that the building's use will grow over time as other services come into the building to benefit local people who are struggling.”
The Genesis Centre is Poole’s first building solely dedicated to helping the town’s homeless and vulnerably housed and to date has directly supported more than 260 service users. At five weekly drop-ins, Routes to Roots provide basic necessities, such as showers, hot food, clothing and sleeping bags, and offer outreach access to the Poole addictions team, mental health workers, Poole rough sleeper outreach team and housing and benefit advisers.
Ben Sargent, Genesis Centre manager, added: “The service continues to grow both in terms of those utilising the service but also stakeholders’ enthusiasm and engagement with the charity. The community as a whole has bought into what we are trying to achieve at the Genesis Centre, and I am personally looking forward to seeing us have a positive impact on individuals rough sleeping or at risk of homelessness for many years to come.”
Many items in the Centre have been gifted, including all ceiling lighting, IT equipment, office furniture and kitchen appliances. Routes to Roots is currently raising funds for phase two of the project and anticipates requiring a further £75,000 to complete the works.
Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, Chairman of Talbot Village Trust, said: “As the only support for the vulnerably housed and homeless people in Poole, we felt it was imperative to support Routes to Roots with the refurbishment of the Centre to help the charity to provide fundamental care to those who need it most. The charity has shown immense dedication to its cause since 2002. Not only does this service help hundreds of people directly, but the wider community has also been able to benefit through volunteering opportunities. Raising awareness of the charity is crucial so that the local community can appropriately direct those in need to a safe place for care and support.”
Talbot Village Trust donates up to £1million every year supporting various causes to youth organisations, education groups and community-focused projects. The charity is encouraging further local causes to apply for funding ahead of its first 2023 application deadline on January 31.
For more information visit www.talbotvillagetrust.org
Notes to editors
Routes to Roots
Routes to Roots is founded on Christian principles and supports rough sleepers, vulnerably housed (sofa surfers or in B&Bs) and newly housed (formerly homeless) adults in Poole regardless of their faith.
At five drop-ins we provide basic necessities, such as showers, hot food, clothing and sleeping bags, and offer outreach access to the BCP addictions team, mental health workers, BCP rough sleeper outreach team and housing advisers.
Since November 2015 we have provided supported housing for three rough sleepers, working with the local authorities to move them on into independent accommodation.
We were first registered as a charity in 2002 and became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in 2014. In July 2015 the Bishop of Sherborne, Karen Gorham became our Patron.
For more information visit hwww.routestoroots.org/charity/
Routes to Roots can be found on the following social media handles:
Twitter: @R2R_Poole Facebook: @RoutestoRootsHomeless
Talbot Village Trust
Talbot Village Trust is the legacy of two sisters who founded Talbot Village in the mid-19th century as a reaction to rural poverty. The village provided housing, a school, and a church as well as agricultural land to grow food. Thanks to the vision of the sisters and the careful stewardship of future trustees, the Trust is now able to provide up to £1M in grants each year to charities working to improve the quality of life for residents across south-east Dorset.
The Trust meets bi-annually with the next review taking place in November 2022 for applications submitted this summer. The deadline for the next round of applications is 31st January 2023 which will be reviewed in the spring 2023.
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