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Wintercomfort for the homeless


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This presentation was part of the NCVO event - 'It's Our Community research workshop - East of England'. …

This presentation was part of the NCVO event - 'It's Our Community research workshop - East of England'.

This event was organised by NCVO, BIG Society CIC and Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service, to look at examples of community led funding.

Rachell Newell (Wintercomfort for the homeless Social Enterprise Manager) gave a presentation at the workshop discussing the background of Wintercomfort and the homelessness situation.

You can find out more about NCVO events on the European Funding Network website:

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

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  • Between October 2012 and April 2013, 80 service users enrolled in the Food4Food catering programme. This includes 13 people who successfully passed their food hygiene level 2 certificate, a nationally recognised qualification.

    The Food4Food programme also comprises of another social enterprise, the Food4Food Community Café. The Food4Food Café which opened in October 2011 provides a progression opportunity for those individuals who have gained experience within our Food4Food Catering business and wish to experience working in premises outside of Wintercomfort. It allows them to interact with the general public and enables them to participate in an accredited course in partnership with Cambridge Regional College. The Café operates out of St Andrew’s Hall, a local community centre. The Café has achieved a 5* Environmental Health rating. The traded income from the café has increased by 41% since last year.
    The Café celebrated its first birthday in October 2012 where the Mayor gave out certificates to the 17 service users who had completed work experience in the café. One of our service users also received his NVQ Level 2 certificate in February 2013, the culmination of 2 years of learning and work experience on the Food4Food programme with on-site assessment from Cambridge Regional College. We also have teamed up with Nanna Mexico, a busy restaurant in the centre of Cambridge, to offer 3 month paid work placements to Food4Food learners.
  • Increased competition for funding
    Statutory funding being cut
    Increasing number of people accessing welfare services.
    Last year 427 people accessed Wintercomfort.
    People with chaotic lifestyles so hard to plan for attendance. Café needs 2 staff and volunteers to run with or without service users.
    Planning services based on what people want. Large cross section of people with different needs and ideas.
    Large number of volunteers that needs time and input including expenses, training, recruitment. Large turnover as many students. And also peaks at Christmas.
    Fire-fighting issues due to poor resources e.g. server going down, building problems.
  • Examples. Zero-hours contract. Benefits being cancelled by job centre so person is worse off
    Short term contracts particularly problematic as hard to get benefits reinstated.
    Example of Winterwillow.
  • Transcript

    • 1. ‘Its Our Community’ Research Workshop 10 December 2013 Rachel Newell Social Enterprise Manager Tel. 07824 634514
    • 2. About us Mission: Wintercomfort supports those with experience of homelessness by offering essential welfare services and social, learning and work opportunities to enable them to achieve their potential. Brief History: Began as double decker bus in 1985 serving soup in the city centre. In 1989 the name Wintercomfort was adopted and set up an evening service providing food and shelter, run by volunteers. Became an official charity in 1991 with Henry Rothschild as its first chairman. 1n 1993 Overstream House was purchased after extensive refurbishment and opened for business on 12 November 1994.
    • 3. Keeping it Real • Rough sleepers have an average life expectancy of just 42 years. • People who sleep rough are 35 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. • The annual council street count said there were 9 rough sleepers on 19 November in Cambridge but we served 18 breakfasts to rough sleepers.
    • 4. What we do now: Welfare Services • 8.30-10am: hot breakfast (free to rough sleepers), showers, laundry services. • Last year we served 5556 hot breakfasts to 368 people.
    • 5. Learning and Development 10am-3.30pm: learning and development activities including art activities, literacy, numeracy, ICT session, job club, ESOL, cooking classes, sport, DIY sessions, gardening team. 316 people accessed service last year
    • 6. Social Enterprises Food4Food Café Food4Food Catering Winterwillow (ended) Cleaning Services (2014!) We have delivered 244 buffets in the last year to 5597 people. Our traded income from buffets was £35,850
    • 7. Funding • April 2012 - March 2013: 488K • 28% of our income is from statutory funding • 31% individual donors and trusts Income (£k) Statutory Fundraised Donations Other Social Enterprise traded income Social Enterprise Grant income Social Enterprise Fundraising
    • 8. Volunteers • Some regular volunteers, some one-off • Total no. of volunteers in last year: 72 • Peak at Christmas • Help with numerous jobs: laundry, job applications, counselling sessions, running the cafe, database.
    • 9. Challenges Competition for funds External economy: Funding Cuts, less personal giving Doing versus showing impact Lack of investment in capital items/resources Fluctuating Volunteers Balancing running social enterprise as a business verses social outcomes Public appeal of the cause (homelessness) Increased demand Service User involvement in decision making
    • 10. Additional challenges with social enterprises • Employing former service-users. • Balancing business decisions for profit verses for social impact. • Fundraising asks as expected to be sustainable • Lots of capital start up funding available but less revenue funding.
    • 11. Rachel Newell Social Enterprise Manager Tel. 07824 634514