9 March 2020

YMCA Weston-super-Mare (part of YMCA Dulverton Group) is one of several local organisations identified by North Somerset Council who will be soon be given further specialist funding to continue their support towards the work surrounding rough sleepers in the North Somerset area.

The Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) and Rapid Rehousing Programme (RRP) funding has been secured for 2020/2021, a year after it was introduced, which will enable YMCA Weston-super-Mare to continue their homelessness outreach work.

A further year of increased funding is the acknowledgment that the initiative is making a difference in the community, with government analysis from last year showing rough sleeper numbers are 32% lower in funded areas than they would be without.

The funding enables YMCA Weston Super Mare to continue with the specialised posts within the Outreach Team including: a Substance Misuse Worker, a Navigator role and a part time outreach role. All three roles work directly with individuals identified in establishing a pathway for them towards independent accommodation. The support provided is layered and holistic, looking at their accommodation need but also other supportive services connected to mental wellbeing and addiction

Joe Heslop, Homeless Support Manager said: “The funding we have received over the last year has meant we have really been able to develop the team. Through its continuation, we can continue this work, plan for the future and continue to offer high levels of support to those who find themselves in the extremely challenging situation of rough sleeping.

“Through the award of this funding, and by working closely and in full support of North Somerset Council and all the partner agencies involved, it allows for us to make a real difference to individuals within the community who need this assistance.”

Work in North Somerset to support vulnerable homeless people is part of a coordinated effort by the multi-agency partnership called ‘Street to Settled’ which includes the YMCA, North Somerset Council’s Homelessness Prevention Team and Somewhere to Go Day and Night alongside other organisations.

Since April 2019, the partnership between local agencies has meant that 41 people sleeping rough or moving on from Somewhere to Go Night Service have been rehoused into more permanent accommodation.

The funding announcement comes just before YMCA’s annual fundraising event ‘Sleep Easy’ which is being held in Weston town centre this week. Sleep Easy is a national YMCA fundraising event run across the country over to raise all important awareness surrounding homelessness and funds will support this area of work. Local people are encouraged to take part, sleep rough for one night and see just how challenging life can be for those who sleep on the streets.

The event will be on Friday 13th March in the Italian Gardens and participants are being asked to register their place on Eventbrite by going to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sleep-easy-2020-tickets-87106410619