Stonepillow offers shelter, information and support to empower homeless and vulnerable people to make positive changes in their lives. Stonepillow is the trading name of St Richard of Christian Care Association, which was founded by Reverend Hilary Parsons in 1989 following a sermon concerning the death of a homeless man in Chichester.
Over the last 29 years, Stonepillow has expanded their services across West Sussex to support the growing number of people who find themselves on the streets. Since 2010, the number of people sleeping rough in England has increased by 164% (from 1,768 in 2010 to 4,751 in 2017). However, these rough sleeping estimates do not take into account the ‘hidden homeless’, those who are in temporary accommodation or sleeping on friends or family’s sofas or in their cars.
Fiona Macleod, Stonepillow Director of Client Support, explains “There are number of reasons that can cause someone to become homeless, whether it is individual circumstances, external factors or both. The reasons are often interrelated and sometimes it can be a chain of events that causes someone to lose their home. Currently, the two most common reasons for people accessing our services are family or relationship breakdown and loss of private accommodation.”
Stonepillow provides support 365 days a year and have 95 clients in their accommodation on any given evening. Tackling homelessness requires more than just meeting the day-to-day needs of rough sleepers – providing shelter is a start but people need long term support to help them leave the streets for good.
Stonepillow provides a complete recovery journey, focusing on the key areas of health, housing and work, and to help people find independent accommodation they can call home. Projects include:
- Stonepillow Hubs – Chichester & Bognor Regis
Day centres providing support and advice for people who are homeless. This is the first point of contact for people accessing Stonepillow services.
- Stonepillow Hostels – Chichester & Bognor Regis
Accommodation offering 1-2-1 personal support to address individuals’ issues and develop support plans.
- Stonepillow Lodge – Chichester
Accommodation for people discharged from hospital or requiring medical treatment who would otherwise be on the streets.
- Stonepillow Recovery Service – Bognor Regis
Abstinence-based accommodation and support for people dealing with substance misuse and addiction.
- Stonepillow Supported Accommodation – Chichester, Bognor Regis, Barnham, Littlehampton
Supported accommodation offering people more independence and preparing them for independent living.
- Stonepillow Restore – Chichester & Stonepillow Revive – Bognor Regis
Charity shops that receive donations of furniture/household goods to provide income and help furnish our properties. Clients benefit from learning new skills through work experience.
- Local Assistance Network – Chichester
Administers the Local Area Assistance fund for people who are in crisis or on low income and require urgent support.
Paul*, 51, had a successful career as a roofing contractor for 37 years, is well-educated and yet he found himself homeless.
“I have always been very active and enjoyed activities such as swimming, motorcycling, walking and deep-sea fishing. Last year, I broke my calcaneus (heel bone) whilst jumping over a garden fence. This was a very serious injury, which meant I spent three weeks in hospital and a further six months in plaster.
My surgeon and physiotherapist told me I couldn’t go back to work but my savings were dwindling very fast so I didn’t have a choice. After a few weeks I realised I was simply not fit enough to do my job and was forced to quit, I couldn’t afford the room I was renting and had nowhere else to go. I started sleeping in my car and eating meals provided by my friends and that’s when the reality set in. I was homeless.
I feared I would end up on the streets so I went to the Stonepillow Chichester Hub to ask for help. They were very supportive and I was offered a place at the Chichester Hostel that very evening. The staff could see my ankle was extremely problematic so I was moved to the Lodge whilst I am awaiting more surgery. Staff have also helped me apply for a free bus pass, which will make it easier for me to attend various hospital appointments.
With the support from my key worker, I am now addressing my debt problems, which I found impossible to achieve before, faced with no fixed address and no income. Living in Stonepillow accommodation, I have the security I need to address my issues that have been a constant worry. I can’t thank Stonepillow enough for helping me get my life back on track.
In the future, once I get sorted, I would really like to work for Stonepillow, I feel that this way I can really give something back to others who find themselves in a similar position. It really is shocking that homelessness can happen to anyone. A huge thank you to Stonepillow and all the caring staff for their support. I don’t where I would be without them.”
*The clients’ name has been changed to protect their identity
SUPPORT STONEPILLOW – MAKE A DIFFERENCE
You can make a difference by supporting Stonepillow, enabling them to continue their crucial work to support and empower people to recover from homelessness.
Laura Bulbeck, PR & Events Manager, “We could not run our services without support from the local community”.
Below, Laura explains the different ways to get involved:
Volunteering – Our work would be impossible without the generosity of our dedicated volunteers. We have lots of opportunities available from cooking, to gardening to working in charity shops.
Fundraising – There are different ways you can raise funds for Stonepillow, whether you organise your own event or take part in one of sponsored events such as a sponsored skydive, walk or run.
Donate – We rely on the generosity of our supporters to donate funds towards our services. Not only that, we really appreciate donations of clothes, shoes, bedding and toiletries as well as household items and electrical goods.
Events – We host exciting events throughout the year including our annual Big Sleep Out that takes place at Chichester Cathedral in October
Corporate Support – We are always on the lookout for local business to support us. You can take part in one of events, make us your chosen charity of the year or take part in a corporate volunteer day.
To keep up to date with our latest news follow us on Facebook @Stonepillow.Chi and Twitter @StonepillowChi.