Winners and Commended Projects of 2016


1st prize – £30,000
House Of St Barnabas – Employment Academy

Breaking the cycle of homelessness

The House of St Barnabas works to break the cycle of homelessness by providing training, work experience and employment opportunities to help people rebuild their lives. Uniquely they do this by using their beautiful Grade I listed Georgian townhouse in Soho to run a social enterprise, a fully commercial members’ club.

The club provides income to run their Employment Academy which is at the heart of the social business, it provides an on-site commercial environment for their trainees with accredited training, work experience and employment support. The staff are trained as buddies to support the trainees, providing job support and to ensure that the trainees feel part of the team.

The aim is to enable people to step away from the labels of “homeless” to become active employees within the businesses they work with. They are on track to become financially self-sustaining from earned income by the end of 2018.


2nd prize – £15,000
London Borough Of Croydon – People’s Gateway

The People’s Gateway originated in response to welfare changes in 2013. Croydon adopted the benefit cap early whilst dealing with dealt with under occupancy and changes to council tax credit. These changes affected over 16,000 households, with over £8m benefits lost. We needed to find a way to keep households from crisis, being forced to rely on statutory services and experiencing negative impacts on health and wellbeing.

The People’s Gateway promotes household independence by considering households as a whole, reducing overlap and duplication. The service prevents crises such as homelessness and stabilises households in crisis. The support provided requires the customer to own and take actions to support their future position and covers financial, employment and housing support. It works with people before they get into crisis as well as with those in immediate need.

The service takes a Think Family approach looking beyond the presenting issue and assessing the issues that affect families’ resilience and independence and embraces digital technology and multi-agency work.


3rd prize – £10,000
Refugee Council – Refugee Housing Resettlement

“We are still so delighted to have won the award, it really will be making a great difference to our clients. Thank You!”

Ruby McDougall, Refugee Council

Refugee Housing Resettlement supports newly recognised refugees who, as a result of a positive asylum decision, are homeless, not deemed as priority, and need help in securing rented accommodation.

Refugees are at a significant disadvantage when searching for and securing accommodation as they have no savings for a deposit or rent in advance and lack understanding of how the system works. Many of our clients have no social networks and feel isolated.

We work with landlords to help tackle misunderstanding and give support. We provide support and advice to refugees both within the crucial 28 day period they have before support is withdrawn and afterwards. In 2015 we secured 42 private tenancies, and many more hostel places.

Refugees are uniquely vulnerable and can find it incredibly difficult to find housing or navigate the confusing and competitive London rental market. This project makes a difference.

Commended Projects


Bench Outreach – Housing First

Housing First works with homeless people in South East London. Traditionally, treatment for drug, alcohol or mental health issues is required before allowing homeless people to have independent accommodation. This does not work for everyone and many individuals are condemned to a cycle of homelessness – prison, hostels and rough sleeping. Housing First addresses this problem. To date, 17 tenancies have been created and sustained, and we are on target to house 60 people by the end of 2017.

Our service is unique, utilising social housing, for greater security of tenure. Housing is not contingent on entering treatment; the only conditions being a wish to live independently and a willingness to let us help maintain their tenancy.

Being housed opens doors to education and employment, improves health and promotes inclusion. Housing First heals wounds. Our clients are reuniting with family and the community. We help people to live with dignity.


St Mungo’s – Children & Family Service

Homelessness has a detrimental effect on family relationships. Homeless or ex homeless people are often estranged from families. Traditionally, homeless services have not offered specific support.

This unmet need was highlighted in St Mungo’s research, Rebuilding Shattered Lives (2014), which looked at how women experience homelessness differently. As a result, we created the Child and Family Support Service, the first that we are aware of in the homelessness sector to respond to the needs of homeless parents.

The service offers:

– advice on individual cases
– McKenzie Friends: recruiting and training volunteers to support parents who attend court without legal representation,
– Parent academy: training for parents on issues they have identified, and
– training for staff members to help them in supporting clients who have children.

The service is not tied to one project, one type of service or one area: the C&F Support Service works with staff members in our projects across London.


Vital Regeneration

Vital Regeneration’s HELP Employment intensively supports unemployed people living in temporary accommodation in Westminster into employment, training or work experience. Since 2006, HELP has supported over 1100 individuals. On average, 25% of HELP clients move into work each year, 20% volunteer and 40% go into further training.

It also supports those facing the problem of in-work poverty to make the transition from low paid work to more fulfilling, better paid employment. HELP has the follow on HELP In-work Progression Service to enable people from the same housing background in low paid work flourish by achieving better pay and improved working conditions.

The HELP programme expanded in 2013 to include HELP Enterprise, a self-employment service aimed at supporting individuals in temporary accommodation to start up their own business. It offers business advice, workshops, sector specific training, mentoring, access to finance and affordable housing, intensive business support and Vital Invest, a micro investment vehicle.