RESTART is a charity offering structured pathways that help homeless men and women restart their lives since 2009. We believe every person with the courage to change their situation can regain control of their life.
Our REGAIN programme helps our guests (as we always refer to the men and women we support) to move from the streets, return as empowered and resilient people into society and to regain their lives.
A Platform for Change
Since July 2011 we have reacted to homelessness in London by opening the doors to the ReAct drop-in at St. Augustine’s Church in Kensington every Saturday evening of the year, serving over 15 ,000 meals. We welcome all who enter, offering an inclusive, non-judgmental space, food, emergency aid and advice in a wonderful building. Most of all we offer a warm, hospitable community. ReAct is the platform from which we get to know our guests and can present pathways to help them regain their lives. ReAct operates every Saturday of the year between 4pm and 7pm at St Augustine’s, Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5LP.
A Platform for Recovery
The pathways along which guests must travel in regaining their lives are often bumpy and winding; while progressing their journeys, they must contend with and overcome many complex issues. ReStore is a new mentoring programme, sustained throughout the course of a guest’s journey in the REGAIN programme. We facilitate regular, committed one-to-one support provided by trained volunteers, each of whom mentors one assigned guest. Mentors act as a good friend and advisor and they help with practical matters; they signpost guests towards specialist services which can address issues such as physical and mental health, addictions, debt and relationship breakdowns. The ReStore platform means we are not simply putting a roof over our guests’ problems. Instead we are working through these issues with our guests, helping them progress on their journey back into society.
A Platform for Independent Living
While we are helping those ready for work by supporting them into apprenticeships and training, we also help those demonstrating readiness to progress closer towards independent living. During the ReHouse platform, we source accommodation from estate agents and private landlords and re-house guests in both shared and studio accommodation. Providing a roof over the head is not in itself the full answer for those who have lived on the streets. With this in mind, a member of our team and/or mentor visits guests in their houses on a weekly basis, offering advice about savings, utilities payments, cost-effective shopping and post arriving in brown envelopes. By identifying potential hurdles early, we help guests adjust from homelessness to being housed. Since 2012 RESTART has re-housed 64 guests. Not one has returned back to the streets.
A Platform for Work
At the outset most guests are not ready to progress into work. During 2015 we launched the ReCruit Pre-Employability Programme. This provides opportunities for guests to undertake a range of practical tasks and recover the attitudes and skills essential for the workplace: confidence, discipline, ability to communicate and work in a team. Once guests are ready, we recruit them into apprenticeships and other training programmes provided by a band of partners, such as Pret A Manger, House of Saint Barnabas and Goldfinger Factory. The ReCruit platform is the chance our guests need to journey closer towards permanent, full-time employment.
During this phase every guest meets with a member of our team and/or their mentor on a weekly basis. We focus on key standards for employability, identify and address issues that may be emerging; we encourage those with low self-esteem and advise those struggling to make good relationships with colleagues. Equipped with skills and qualifications, by the end of the ReCruit platform guests are ready to secure permanent work. Some are offered positions within the organisations that have trained them; others are helped to find work in similar industries.
A Platform for the Future
Our objective is to support guests along their own tailored pathway which starts with the ReAct platform and ends when they return to society as empowered, resilient human beings who can face the future with confidence. Once they are living in their own homes and have stable jobs, many move away from the charity – it’s their way of “moving on”. Others choose to return as volunteers who help at the ReAct drop-in or else as mentors. Those returning to RESTART are best able, we know, to inspire and encourage current guests to follow in their footsteps and regain their lives.