Creating community links with Kingdom Way Trust
As we approach the colder months, this time of year can be particularly tough for those who are homeless or vulnerably housed. Eleven years ago, this issue was addressed by an Eastbourne resident, David Barratt, who set up Kingdom Way Trust offering a Winter Night Shelter to local homeless people who wanted to seek refuge from the cold.
Kingdom Way Trust is now an established charity supporting people in Eastbourne all year round through four main projects. In late 2019 they connected with St Wilfrid’s Hospice through our Community Links project, helping us to increase awareness of, and access to, palliative care for people who are homeless or vulnerably housed in our community. We recently spoke to Trust Manager, Roland, to find out more about the charity and the services they offer.
As Kingdom Way Trust is a Christian-based charity, pre-covid the Winter Night Shelter was held in a number of Eastbourne churches, each hosting one night a week between December and February. After a few years of running and serving its purpose, the question that kept coming up was the longer-term living situation for the people who were using the shelter.
‘We wanted to provide longer term accommodation, particularly to people who had issues they wanted to work through and needed support with. We decided to name it The Bridge because it’s a bridge from where someone is now to where they want to be,’ said Roland.
‘We are able to take six men at any one time and our team are on call every day,’ he continued. ‘They will support the guys with things such as making a doctor’s appointment, working out a volunteering opportunity, and other practical things.’
As well as The Bridge, Kingdom Way Trust also offers accommodation through Hope into Action – a national campaign which allows people to live more independently, although still receiving some support.
For both The Bridge and Hope into Action houses, individuals can stay for anytime between a few months to a couple of years. ‘Two years is usually a good amount of time to give somebody support and help them reach whatever the next stage is for them,’ Roland told us.
Another Kingdom Way Trust project, which was set up around a similar time to The Bridge, is Hope Woodwork. This service is for the wider community, not necessarily focusing on those who are homeless, but for people who are unemployed and struggling to get into work. Those who attend may come for one day a week, or sometimes up to three.
‘Our team teach woodwork, but it’s more about getting people into good routines and building their confidence,’ said Roland. ‘We can provide them with a workplace-like environment without the pressure of performance, which can create a lot of anxiety. Once someone is able to demonstrate a positive level of regularity and commitment, they’re probably ready to get into employment.’
Looking to the future
Covid-19 has had a strong impact on Kingdom Way Trust, particularly on the Winter Night Shelter. ‘The shelter was unable to happen last year because 15 people coming together and sleeping in the same air space wasn’t safe,’ Roland explained.
In response to the pandemic, the government and the council, with the support of the Rough Sleeping Initiative, made sure that anyone who was homeless was provided with a room. The Winter Night Shelter will look different again this year, but Kingdom Way Trust have continued to help individuals in any way they can.
‘During the pandemic we provided meals to the houses the council had taken on. From November 2020 to March 2021, we delivered around 1,500 meals,’ Roland told us. ‘I don’t know what the future holds for the Winter Night Shelter, but we will continue to provide whatever support is beneficial.’
Since Kingdom Way Trust became a Community Link, St Wilfrid’s Hospice has been able to promote awareness of the care and support available, such as bereavement support.
‘It is great to know that St Wilfrid’s offer support to the whole area and that we are able to offer this to those affected within the specific community we work with,’ said Roland.
‘It has also been good to become aware of other groups working in the community. There are many excellent organisations, so any opportunity to hear what is available, share experiences and be able to refer people to others offering a particular service is appreciated.’
If you would like to find out more about Kingdom Way Trust’s work, please visit kingdomwaytrust.org
If you are part of a group or organisation and are interested in finding out more about the Community Links project, please contact Lucy Cheshire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the Community Links pages on our website.
Please note: St Wilfrid’s Hospice (Eastbourne) Ltd is keen to promote community links with other organisations and community groups and while the links on this page will take you to their respective websites, St Wilfrid’s Hospice (Eastbourne) Ltd is not responsible for the content of their websites or the practices of these groups/organisations. All other websites should have their own privacy notice/policy, and you are advised to refer to those accordingly.