Preventing homelessness in Reading

CEO blog January

The Home Office recently released a document on ‘what works’ – they stated the most significant decrease in re-offending was linked to employment schemes. Launchpad is refurbishing Reading’s first work and life skills centre. Once it’s completed later this year, we will be offering our clients the opportunity to improve their employment skills. We currently have about 25% of our clients in work, on courses or involved in activities. We want to improve that figure and give all our people the opportunity to grow and develop and to give meaning to their lives. If you’d like to get involved in supporting the work and life skills centre, visit our website for more information.

Christmas can be a tough time for people. Jessica was fleeing domestic violence and ended up on the streets in early December. As a female at 54 years of age, she was terrified. In early January, she was referred to us and last week moved into her own flat. She was so happy to be off the streets and safe with her own front door, she cried.

Eighteen months ago a husband and wife – John and Dawn – and their five children turned up at our drop-in service to get some help with a rent issue. We gave the family information and support, and off they went, happy that their home was safe. In early December, John and the five children turned up at the drop-in again. Dawn had died of cancer. John was bereft, and had no idea what he had to do to keep their house. Dawn had always filled in forms and looked after the finances. To make matters worse, John had given up his employment because he now had to look after their five children. With the help of one of the support workers, John began to fill in the forms, sort out his benefits and try to get his life in order. The most poignant moment was when John brought his five children to the Launchpad grotto over Christmas. The children all had presents waiting for them and the youngest were shouting, “We’re going to see Christmas!”. Without your support this would not be possible.

A few recommendations from me:

TV series of the month: Wisting

Wisting is a nordic noir that involves a fascinating chase of a serial killer in the cold of Norway. I has a rather unusual twist but is very enjoyable.

Film of the month: What They Had

This is a lovely film about an elderly couple, one of which has Alzheimer’s. The film tells the story of how they face the future with each other and their grown up children. It’s a tear-jerker in parts.