The Bridge Leicester - Homelessness to Hope

What we do at The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope

We are located at 43 Melton Street, Leicester. Leicester has 22% of the population living in income deprived households and we are based in a very deprived area of the City. Our clients are amongst the most marginalised people in the City and often have complex multiple problems in addition to or as a direct of homelessness. Some will have been excluded from mainstream services or do not access them because they feel stigmatised.

We began our mission to the disadvantaged in 2009 when a group of local Christians started providing an outreach ‘Soup Run’ service to homeless people in Leicester. Today our volunteers come from many backgrounds and faiths; we accept those from all faiths and none. We all have a common goal­ to help those who are on the street to move from despair to hope. Since 2009, we have grown to now deliver various specialist services ourselves, alongside an expanded hot food service.

As we have so many volunteers, we are able to offer a ‘front line’ service at a minimal cost as well as providing opportunities for our volunteers to gain experience.

Our work supports the aims of the Leicester Homelessness Strategy (2012), which stressed that:

“A model needs to be developed to ensure homeless people can access opportunities to turn their lives around”

Our work also fits closely with the expressed aims of the Leicester Adult Social Care Commissioning Strategy (2015) to:

“Support people’s independence through ‘simple’ services rather than waiting until people hit a crisis point.”

Our overall long term strategic aim is to work with our partners to develop The Bridge Homelessness to Hope into a ‘hub’ centre where local agencies can deliver their services in an accessible, welcoming and non-judgmental environment.

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope is an outreach to the lost and lonely of Leicester, to the homeless and to those who just have nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Watch our short video where Kath describes what we do.

Meet the Team

Steve Owen
I was attracted to The Bridge, Homelessness to Hope, because as a charity, it helps the neediest members of our society in various ways. Food, clothes, companionship, seeing them turn their lives around and become positive contributors to our society.
Patrick Harris
Team Leader and Outreach Worker
I have had personal experience with homelessness and know first hand how isolating it can feel without the right support. This led me to work here as its mission is providing support and guidance to the homeless in getting their lives back on track.
Huw Francis
Trustee, Secretary to The Board
I took early retirement just over five years ago and wanted to do something positive in the community. I initially helped out at their Night Shelter and I quickly took over admin responsibilities. I also took over work as the Volunteer Co-ordinator. A year or so later I became a Trustee.
Lea Sutherland
Mentor Project Coordinator
I joined in August 2017 and took on this exciting challenge of coordinating the Mentor Project. I was attracted to The Bridge Homelessness to Hope because I believe helping your neighbour, whoever they may be, is ultimately the best way of creating healthy, safe and peaceful communities. I see this project as a real life-line for so many people who walk through our doors. I am proud to be part of this project and am excited to see what results will come of it.
Karen Hodson
Case Worker
Many years ago, I was homelessness and experienced the hopelessness that comes from being in that position. My role here gives me the opportunity to support and empower guests to tackle their issues and feel part of society again, to provide hope. I feel that it is important to see the good in people and create a space where a person can feel safe and be themselves. I believe that here at The Bridge, we do this.
Jo Leslie
Project Support Worker
Having previous lived experience of homelessness, I have some insight into some of the issues homeless people face. I am particularly indebted to those people who supported me during that difficult time and who got me back on the path back towards securing permanent accommodation and employment. Consequently, I feel passionately that everyone, regardless of their situation deserves to be treated with dignity and grace.
David Fawcett
Executive Operations Manager
I am responsible for managing the charity’s team of staff and volunteers, helping with fundraising activities, and expanding the food servings and specialist support services available for the city’s homeless community. I am also a minister at my local church in Leicester and have been a board member for the Sharp (Shelter Housing Aid and Research Project) homeless charity for seven years.
Kath Lawson West
I am a trustee responsible for finance, food and kitchen. I became involved with Charity work through my Christian beliefs. I have mainly been involved with Just Fair Trade ( retired three years ago) and The Bridge Homelessness to Hope of which I am one of the founding Trustees.
Phil Baker
I’ve worked with different charities for many years – usually in the health sector, related to my role as a doctor. I have been medical advisor to several small charities and never cease to be impressed with the time, effort and commitment of selfless volunteers.
Dr Girish Kunigiri
I am a consultant psychiatrist in Leicester. I am passionate to help the homeless who are often neglected in the society. I have developed the five-year mental health strategy at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope to empower and to re-integrate the homeless back into the community.
Simon Gribbon
I am a director at the Leicester-based PR and marketing agency, Sandstar Communications and was introduced to The Bridge via the Leicestershire Cares ProHelp programme. I am responsible for raising awareness about the charity and its services through PR, marketing and developing charity's the website.
Keith Lawson West
I was attracted to homelessness by seeing the film Kathy Come Home when I was a teenager. In my mid-thirties, I recognised that I needed to volunteer and help the less fortunate in my community. My main role at present is to establish a Community Interest Company, whose profits will be helped to sustain and develop our future work.

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