Community Investment Grant for Homelessness
Each winter Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH) provides a haven for people who would otherwise be rough sleeping or "sofa surfing" among friends and family. It offers a warm welcome, a hot evening meal, a safe bed for the night, and breakfast. Some guests have drug, alcohol or mental health issues but most do not – they have just reached a vulnerable stage in their life where, for many different reasons, they have nowhere to live. In addition, KCAH provides year-round advice on housing, welfare benefits and a hostel placing service.
KCAH approached The Cranfield Trust for mentoring support, following an invitation from Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA) as part of Kingston's Transforming Local Infrastructure programme. KVA was funded by the Big Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society (Cabinet Office) to give Kingston’s voluntary organisations access to the Trust’s network of highly skilled volunteer consultants.
Cranfield Trust volunteer Mark Carnegie-Brown worked closely with the charity to help it develop both a new business plan and improved marketing tools. This included updating both KCAH’s client and stakeholder information leaflet and its newsletter, as well as helping the organisation to take advantage of social media.
This had immediate and far reaching results for KCAH, as Operations Director Matt Hatton says:
“My brand new charity business plan enabled us to win a three-year Community Investment Grant and gain the AQS Quality Mark for our Advice Service, which should help us attract new funding. This has all come out of the relationship with the Cranfield Trust. I am extremely grateful to my mentor, Mark. He was extremely patient and his advice was fantastic.”
For the Cranfield Trust team working with KCAH, it was apparent that this is an inspirational organisation which has found and fully embraced the support offered to it from the Transforming Local Infrastructure programme. As Matt came to realise, time management and prioritisation are important but can be too easily overshadowed by operational issues. Now the charity has the confidence, backed by secure funding and quality assurance, to support those vulnerable people who most need its help.