Leicester Homelessness Charter partners reflect four years on

Leicester City Mayor and the Bishop of Leicester were among those speaking at a special event hosted by the University of Leicester to mark four years since the  city’s Homelessness Charter was set up.

Partner organisations, businessness, charities and agencies reflected on progress made during the four years of the charter and looked to future challenges faced in Leicester, including the lack of sufficient appropriate housing.

Leicester Homelessness Charter aims to improve the way organisations and individuals work together to tackle homelessness in the city, and to harness the enthusiasm of those who want to get involved but don’t know how. The charter provides a vision, values and principles that can be shared by all of those working to prevent homelessness in the city, and to support those affected by it. It aims to reduce duplication, improve communication between those working with homeless people, and to raise awareness of services and how the public can help.

Led by the Diocese of Leicester and following a series of lively and well-attended workshops, the Charter was launched at Leicester Cathedral back in November 2018. Its first signatories were the City Mayor, the Bishop of Leicester, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Dean of Leicester. Many others, including the Lord Lieutenant attended and also pledged their support.

Revd Canon Alison Adams, from Leicester Cathedral, is Chair of the Charter’s Management Group, and said: “Developments during these first few years have included more collaboration, liaison and joined up thinking.”

A key achievement of the Charter has been setting up and coordinating of a group of people with lived experience of homelessness, called the HOPE Forum which is able to influence all the Charter partners organisations. They meet monthly with invited commissioners from the city council so that their experiences can inform how services (such as substance misuse and the Dawn Centre - the council's emergency hostel, for example) are designed and delivered.

Importantly, 20 members of the forum also submitted written testimonies of their experience of homelessness to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, and one member went to Parliament to give evidence in person - so the Charter is credited at the end of the report from that inquiry.

One member of the HOPE Forum has also been selected to oversee the administration of the MyPlace Fund, which is designed to assist people who have moved out of homelessness and into secure accommodation. To date, the MyPlace Fund has also supported 14 people with small grants for swim and gym memberships, art materials, garden supplies and a laptop.

Canon Alison also said: “The Charter has also seen the establishment of Give Leicester donation points around the city so that instead of giving cash to people begging on the street, they can donate straight to one of the agencies giving the best help to people experiencing homelessness. This winter 100% of funds donated will go to support programmes run by The Bridge Homelessness to Hope, aiming to achieve long-lasting change for vulnerable people in our community. Overall, £35,000 has been raised so far, funds for work which has supported organisations whose work has included helping a dozen people into secure accommodation in that time and providing more than 1,000 nights of emergency shelter, more than 3,000 meals for rough sleepers. 

“We also now have a committed oversight and management group, and a developing group of signatories and organisations actively working together. These include major institutions, businesses, and statutory and voluntary sector bodies. There is greater understanding of who is doing what, and much better communication across the sector,” added Canon Alison.

The ongoing partnership working has also enabled the recruitment of a Project Coordinator for the Homelessness Charter, Rebecca Pawley, who can be contacted on rebecca.pawley@togetherleicester.org.uk or 07894 231 800.

The Charter has attracted interest from around the UK and further afield too where other cities are looking to model the partnership working in Leicester.

Just as a reminder, as well as donating to one of the many Give Leicester card swipe points around the city, if you see someone sleeping rough on the streets, you can help by making a referral to https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ via their social media channels or by calling  0300 500 0914 so that local support services can help them.

The Charter’s aims include:

  • Ensuring that anyone with no recourse to public funds has access to safe accommodation;
  • Increasing the availability of affordable accommodation for those in housing need;
  • Tackling rough sleeping to ensure no-one is sleeping on the streets;
  • Improving local systems for homeless people through better partnerships and coordination;
  • Ensuring the voice of those with lived experience is at the heart of designing services for people who are homeless.



First published on: 24th November 2022
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