Up and down the country, there are thousands of people doing good deeds every day, and we decided to celebrate the great work that charities undergo with a regular feature on Tuesdays, to tie-in with #CharityTuesday on Twitter. This week, we caught up with Kent homelessness charity Porchlight to find out more about them...
Where are you based, what geographical areas do you support people in and how do you support people?
Porchlight is a charity that works with people in Kent who are homeless, vulnerable and isolated. A large part of our work involves getting people on the streets into accommodation, which is often at one of our hostels or shared houses. Once there, we give them the emotional and practical support needed to rebuild their life. This can involve our Jobs, Education & Training scheme. Getting a job can change someone’s life and is a way out of future homelessness. We help people to open up to new experiences and get into work or education. We also run a Homelessness prevention service for those who have a home but are at risk of becoming homeless, support families of children who are struggling with issues that could lead to homelessness in later life, and run a helpline which gives advice on issues such as housing, money management, mental health and physical health.
How did the charity come to be founded?
In 1974, motivated by his own experience of being homeless, Tom Gifford set up Porchlight (formerly the Canterbury Cyrenians) with the aim of encouraging the local community to help homeless people. Since then, the organisation he created has grown from a single hostel in Canterbury to one that supports almost 5,000 people a year across the county.
How many people do you have working at the charity?
There are approximately 200 full and part-time staff working for Porchlight, and we also have some volunteers (details about volunteering can be found on our website).
How can people support you?
We’re there to support people for as long as they need, but can’t do it without the public’s support. A donation of any amount will allow us to continue funding our services and change more lives. You can also report someone who’s homeless in Kent to us by phoning our helpline on 0800 567 76 99.
Do you have any charity events coming up and where can people find out about these events?
There are several events coming up including charity abseils, bike rides and sponsored sleep outs. A full list is available on our website, where people can also find resources for putting together a fundraising event of their own (along with some ideas of what to do).