Supporting a local community project that’s helping to tackle homelessness
“Since starting this job I have never looked back. I genuinely feel honoured to have such a rewarding job that I love and can throw passion and drive into so we can make a difference.”Stephen Pettit, Hostel Manager
Based in Egremont, Calderwood House is an inspiring, award winning emergency homeless hostel which provides accommodation for up to 11 people.
Alongside founder Rachel Holliday, the team at Calderwood help to tackle homelessness and unemployment in West Cumbria.
Calderwood are inspiring change, something that is evident in everything they do and how they work – looking after people during their most vulnerable times, highlighting the homelessness issues in our region, and importantly, working towards more positive outcomes for people. Something we’re also passionate about here at the Cumberland; making a positive difference for people in our local communities.
Our support of Calderwood
If you’ve been lucky enough to meet Rachel, you’ll know how passionate she is about the work she does. She is the driving force behind the organisation and her determination, alongside that of the team, shines through in the support they offer 24/7.
“Anyone can find themselves homeless. All anyone needs to change things for a brighter future is 3 things. 1) A safe place to stay 2) Something positive to do 3) Love/Kindness.”Rachel Holliday, founder of Calderwood House
When we first met Rachel and had the opportunity to hear so passionately about the work she, Stephen and the team do and the challenges they face, we were keen to help in the most practical way possible.
Because like many organisations during the pandemic, the team has been massively affected:
- Difficulties faced by lack of staff
- Adjusting to deal with the pandemic
- And the restrictions in place, which meant the 10 vulnerable residents were suddenly not able to go out and were mostly confined to their rooms, so they were provided with activity packs and Brooks of Whitehaven also installed a TV in every room.
We were able to help with a community grant of £15,741, offering some vital support. Enabling them to hire emergency support workers to help ease the pressure and focus on the most essential support the hostel provides, to tackle homelessness and poverty.
“When it comes to the grant, it allowed us to hire additional support workers. It can be difficult to find support workers who are experienced enough to work lone shifts, managing a hostel with 10 homeless people in it, but those that applied were excellent and are great members of staff.”Rachel Holliday, founder of Calderwood House
Growing and learning together
We also wanted to work with the team to help highlight the issue of homelessness in our region, and we recently spent some time finding out first-hand about the work the team do and importantly, how they highlight these issues to raise vital awareness on a local level.
Homelessness in our region
So when we asked the question, how would they describe the homeless problem in Cumbria? They told us hidden, and that there is a perception people don’t think homelessness exists because it’s something we can’t see.
But there are literally hundreds of sofa surfers across the county living in un-safe conditions with nowhere of their own to live.
During the pandemic, outside of the normal day to day support for the residents, the team at Calderwood also continued to support the most vulnerable people on a wider scale in the local community, helping over 200 with outreach work through the Time to Change West Cumbria – the organisation which runs the hostel.
“We helped over 200 people through the project during the pandemic, so it was a crazy, crazy time, our shielding staff made sure no one was left behind by calling everyone to make sure they were safe.”Rachel Holliday, founder of Calderwood House