Transforming the Lives of Homeless and Vulnerable People in Surrey
While the start of a new year is full of hope and resolution for many, for those struggling to cope with many of life’s challenges, it can be a time of great anxiety and insecurity. The plight of people living in Surrey experiencing such issues was the focus of the annual Candlelit Carol Service at St. Mary’s Church, followed by a reception at Fetcham Park on December 4th.
Held in association with Leatherhead District Chamber of Commerce, the event raised £1,800 for Transform Housing & Support, a charity providing housing, support and homecare for homeless and vulnerable people in Surrey, West Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire and south west London. The money raised will go towards supporting people with individual move-on grants, helping them to purchase necessary items when moving into independent accommodation – such as white goods, cutlery and crockery, furniture and soft furnishings.
The move-on period is crucial to each person’s journey as it is the final stage towards independence. Transform continues to provide support during this time but they’re also given space to experience and learn how to become self-sufficient. Without this support, some people can find themselves lost and unable to function in society.
Speaking at the carol service Chair of Surrey Heartlands, David McNulty, gave a poignant and inspiring speech on his experience working with Transform and the impact they have had on the county:
“The last decade has been a remarkably tough time for charities and public services. I don’t believe there has been a tougher period. Transform has been an example to us all of how to face the most daunting situations and sustain your core reason for being.”
David described how Transform has given the whole sector hope – “hope as a hard-headed understanding that if you stick with your values, if you do the right things, if you’re determined, if you’re persistent, “good people” can make a difference.”
The time he spent with the people supported by the charity meant learning first-hand about their experiences – “Each story was different – a lesson in itself about the many different ways people can end up in desperate circumstances.
“And each story shared common themes. For me, these included: the people had felt helpless, trapped in a cycle of problems and not believing anything could be done or anyone would help them out. Colleagues from Transform didn’t judge them, they didn’t blame them, they worked with them in a practical way to start a positive change.
“By doing this,” he concluded, “they sparked a sense of hope again, they supported them to grow self-respect and take responsibility for continuing with more positive behaviours.”
The sentiment of David and the reaction and understanding created by this community event was echoed throughout the evening and evident in the money raised for the charity.
Thank you to everyone who attended the carol service and reception and for supporting the vital work of Transform.
To find out more about the services provided by Transform visit www.transformhousing.org.uk