Runvember 2017 has seen his number of participants increase yet again! 463 people have taken part in this year’s challenge, initiated and organised by the one and only Alan Butler. Every day during last November, participants braved the weather and ran/cycled/swam at least a mile to raise awareness of our charity and the rise in homelessness in our town. Each participant donated a box full of survival items to Swindon’s homeless as part of their challenge but they have also raised an amazing £1,600
Little to say that we are all ever so thankful for the amazing work all of the participants, Alan, his family and all the Runvember sponsors have achieved during this period. It was amazing to see people rallying together to make a difference to Swindon’s homeless and judging by the pictures we have seen of the warehouse, what a HUGE difference have they all made!
On behalf of Swindon’s homeless, THANK YOU!
If you would like to take part in Runvember 2018, make sure to visit www.runvember.co.uk
Threshold presented their first Interactive Photography Exhibition on the 23rd November 2017 in the Brunel Shopping Centre in the retail heart of Swindon. The exhibition was the result of an innovative engagement project with the aim of raising awareness of the homelessness crisis by presenting the issues that impact upon the lives of homeless individuals in an authentic and sensitive way. Participants shared the most precious things they have in their possession.
The Exhibition featured 49 x A0 sized Fine Art quality images along with poetry, and a selection of extraordinary sculptures. Each image was accompanied with a QR code, that when scanned - instantly connected the visitor directly with the voices of the artist and connecting the public directly with their personal narratives and stories.
The exhibition was supported by Threshold Services Users, Catalent and Nationwide volunteers. Service Users that have been involved and volunteered at the Exhibition confirm an experience of ‘being seen and treated differently’ and this has been a catalyst and powerful motivator to their personal transformation.
The exhibition garnered massive exposure and public interest across Swindon, feedback was emphatically positive and the exhibition was supported by a growing list of corporate supporters and sponsors - Swindon Brunel, Swindon Wildcats, Triple 2 Coffee and Catalent. The biggest winners were the residents and participants themselves. Residents shared their personal reflections when interviewed on BBC Wiltshire Radio, 105.5FM Community Radio and had the opportunity to read authentic poetry live on air.
A total of 1653 individuals visited the exhibition over the 6 week period.
Here is a selection of how the public described its impact:
“It was interesting to see and understand more regards homeless people. How they can be so misunderstood in our community.”
“This exhibition has proven to be a brave and exciting venture which in my opinion has been a roaring success. The best quality of this exhibition is the community and warm reception you receive upon entering, coupled with a great art and powerful message.”
“I found the stories very moving, reduced me to tears and really helped raise awareness.”
“This exhibition helps to raise awareness that homeless people are exactly the same as everybody else. The exhibition shows the humanity and uniqueness of each individual.”
“I found it very inspiring and very moving. The art and the stories behind it were beautiful. What a marvellous idea. If only it were open for longer. The men working there were so helpful and I could tell they were very passionate and proud. So they should be!”
Below are some excerpts from our Services Users that volunteered their time at the Exhibition. This is how what they share about how it impacted on them:
“I’ve not only really enjoyed this – I’ve needed this! Otherwise I would have been street drinking”. (CC Resident)
“The Exhibition and the shop has been the locus for a great deal of generosity, compassion and understanding. Alot of people have come in and have been informed and educated about the local issues of homelessness in Swindon. We have been educating the public about the real and various reasons behind homelessness”.
I’ve witnessed on many occasions the emotional reactions many members of the public have had in response to hearing the voices and personal stories of contributors in the exhibition. I have witnessed a woman come in, engage with the work and hear the stories and be reduced to tears and have to leave, as it was all too raw and emotional … and then she returned the following day. She made a donation each occasion”.
“On the whole the exhibition went very well”.
“I personally learned how to talk to people and overcome my shyness of people and to turn negative conversation into a positive one. I also learned that feedback was also a positive thing”.
“It was a very satisfying exhibition and well done to everybody that took part in it”.
“What is next for me is to get a job or continue doing more voluntary work. I haven't got anyone to write me a reference as yet my previous employers were not that good at writing references for anyone not just me. The other two jobs have closed down now as well. Please would you kindly be a referee for me”. (Resettlement Resident)
“I liked seeing my Sculptures up on display and set out professionally on plinths. I helped Jim make the plinths for them. I loved seeing people’s reactions to my work and the competition to guess the Angels’ name was great! I’m interested to see the public’s opinions and choice of names. This has definitely been the biggest exposure I’ve had for my sculptures. I’ve loved being involved in this exhibition. I’ve reconnected with my Dad, who was passing the exhibition saw one of my sculptures and asked after me! I’d lost contact with my Dad 5 years ago. It has been really good to reconnect with him”. (Resettlement Resident)
“I witnessed a young girl come in with her father, she must have been 10 or 11. She asked what she could do to help because as she explained, she’d given a sandwich and a packet of chips to a rough sleeper in a doorway and she was so moved by how hungry he was and how quickly he had scoffed them down. She wanted to know how she could help”.
“Volunteering at the Exhibition has really opened my eyes. I’ve heard many stories of people that have come through the other side of homelessness. I’ve been so surprised by how many people that have visited the exhibition and have said to me – I have been homeless before and have struggled through difficult times in their life. It’s been eye opening for me personally to see directly how many supporters of homelessness there are”.
“I have enjoyed being involved in this project, engaging directly with the public and interfacing with them. This initiative has been really good for me”. (CC Resident)
If you missed the exhibition, you can see it all here.
Concerned about Swindon's homelessness? Interested to know more and how you could help?
Come and join us for a coffee/tea and a slice of cake on Saturday 27th January 2018 from 11am until 2pm at The Gateway Furniture Project in Havelock Street, Swindon Town Centre, SN1 1LE
Are you concerned by the rise in homelessness particularly in Swindon? Would you like to make a difference but don’t know how you could help?
We are looking for Volunteers Speakers to help us spread awareness of this issue to their community during the Homelessness Awareness Weekend, 27th & 28th January 2018.
If you are interested please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01793 524661.
Join us at our Big Sleepout on Friday the 1st December 2017 at Immanuel United Reformed Church, SN3 1DH
Experience sleeping out in a safe environment managed by Threshold: #
- Gain a real experience on what it's like to be homeless but with the safety and security of friends and colleagues (and without the extreme exposure and vulnerability)
- Overcome fears, push your personal boundaries and set yourself a personal challenge
- Really empathise and understand from direct experience
- Create Social Impact that directly benefits homeless people in Swindon
- Be part of supporting excellence in human outreach and support, right here in our town
Please note that:
- It is a sponsored Sleepout, participants are required to gain sponsorship to participate. There is no entry fees.
- Anyone over 16 year old are welcome to participate
- Under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult
- Due to the nature of the event no alcohol will be permitted
Register now by emailing email@example.com with the following information; your full name, email address and phone contact.
We want to make this year's Big Sleepout the biggest we ever had, so please share it with the world! The more, the merrier!
It all started as a joke! Someone shared the event with me on social media and I challenged (jokingly at first) my colleagues to take part. Some of them were up for it straight away, whilst some others needed a bit of persuasion. Nevertheless, after discussion (or constant nagging by me), 9 of us signed up in the beginning of July and the anticipation began!
Each one of us carried on with our daily routine, only to be reminded of the upcoming challenge by sponsorship requests to friends and family. Before I knew it was only a couple of days before the BIG Abseil and as I was passing by the Jurys Inn in the town centre, it really sank in. My mind raced from “What have I done? I am petrified of heights! Why on earth would I do this to myself?! Is it some sort of midlife crisis?” to “I can do this! It isn’t that high…. Just don’t look down!”
This feeling, the fear of the unknown, isn’t very much different from what our services users go through when we support them towards the diverse changes needed. It is so much easier to keep ourselves in our comfort zone, missing out on opportunities because we are scared. So I suppose this is exactly why we did it; to prove to ourselves that we can, that even if we are petrified.
I remember everyone’s faces at the top of the Jurys Inn. All of us, very quiet. The atmosphere was tense. I looked at the scenery, amazed by how far I could see. I didn’t look down though, I couldn’t! The worst part of this experience was going backwards over the scaffolding, feet in the air, being told to let go. I finally made my way down slowly but surely! I stopped a couple of times but got motivated to carry on by the cheering of my colleagues, friends and family, supporting us from the ground.
Did I enjoy it? No but I did it and that’s what matters! We proved to ourselves that even if we were petrified, we can surpass our fear, and that’s the best feeling in the world!
Thank you to everyone that has taken part in this crazy experience, whether you were abseiling down, were cheering or taking pictures, it was a real team effort and it felt fantastic! Thank you to all of you that sponsored us, your money will help us preventing homelessness in Swindon!
P.S.: Thank you for the amazing BBQ afterwards! The food was delicious! The BBQ was built by one very skilled resident!
Written by Cai Larkins – Fundraising Coordinator @ Threshold Housing Link
The New Swindon Half marathon (NSHM) is approaching fast and so we met with 2 more of our NSHM’s runners to give them their running vests! We have asked them what motivated them to take part in the NSHM for Threshold Housing Link.
Meet Elliot, one of our Resettlement Workers:
“Hi my name is Elliot and I work for Threshold Housing Link as a Key Worker, I decided to run the half marathon only two weeks ago when another runner dropped out. I am running to show to anyone who is struggling with substance misuse that change is possible, a happy life is attainable and all you need to do is believe in yourself! Keep putting one foot in front of the other and run towards that brighter future!!”
Meet Gary, Former Hostel Team Leader:
“Hi, I am Gary, I am doing the New Swindon Half Marathon for Threshold Housing Link, because having worked for them, I know how important their services are to the local homeless population”
If you wish to sponsor them, you can by clicking the link below, make sure that you mention that this is for the NSHM.
Threshold Housing Link is proud to organise our first Golf Tournament at Carswell Golf Club, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, England, SN7 8PU.
£45/head - It includes bacon roll & coffee on arrival, 18 holes of golf, followed by a hot meal with a fundraising auction.
For more information, to book your place(s) please contact Threshold Housing Link either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01793 524 661.
Just a quick one today to say that Swindon Orbital Asda has chosen us as one of their nominated charities until the end of December 2016!
If you shop at the Orbital Asda, please think of us and drop your green token in our designated box "Threshold Swindon Outreach Team".
Have you heard of Runvember?
No? Well, be prepared to be amazed!
During the whole of November 2016, people across Swindon will take part in a running challenge, run by Alan Butler.
They will be running every day of the month to raise awareness on our behalf and to collect vital and essential items for our Survival Pack that we give to the Rough Sleepers of Swindon.
So if you spot a Runvember runner on his daily challenge, cheer him/her up for us please or if yourself are interested in taking part, please get in touch with Alan Butler via his website, www.runvember.co.uk
Alternatively, you can sponsor them by either donating money towards the different items needed on our virgin money giving page or you can donate items directly to them.
Good luck to all the runners!
We wanted this year’s Sleepout to be the biggest we’ve had and it was! 55 people took part in this year’s Sleepout solidarity event and raised an amazing total of £14,616.28, which will go towards helping so many people off the street. Thanks to all the volunteers and participants for their amazing work!
Given the feedback we received, all participants gained a better understanding of rough sleeping and how difficult it is to sleep out under the elements.
One participant said: “What an eye opening experience. It really makes you appreciate the comforts we take for granted. One night is all I had, hard to imagine having to endure this night after night.”
Another said: “I would recommend as many people as possible attend something like this to develop some empathy.”
Help us make the Big Sleepout 2018 an even bigger and more enriching event.
Circle Friday 7th December 2018 now in your diaries and let all your friends and family know!
In an effort to widen the conversation around the issue of homelessness in Swindon, we held our first coffee morning, in partnership with Swindon Nightshelter, on the 27th January 2018 at the Gateway Furniture Project. 58 individuals came to meet us throughout the morning, which shows the concerns of Swindonians in the issue and their willingness to help.
We took this opportunity to present our charity, our services, to share the latest facts and figures regarding rough sleeping in England but specifically in our town (see below) but most importantly what we can all do to make a positive change.
Graeme, our CEO, says: “During the last seven years, homelessness in all its forms has risen uncontrollably fuelled by changes to benefits, a flawed housing policy with an over reliance on private landlords, the austerity agenda and the cutting of vital services. This has created a perfect storm where demand is at its highest and resources at their lowest. Nearly 130,000 children spent last Christmas in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs and hostels. In Swindon alone 45 individuals were counted sleeping rough in a snapshot count in November. Over the course of a year this equates to over 150 different people forced to sleep rough.
Neither the government in Westminster nor Swindon Council have a joined up strategy to make best use of resources. Decisions are often made where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. There are some great ideas and initiatives which in isolation are not sustainable. What we need is a plan!
Well we’ve got a plan, to reduce the number of people on our streets, to improve people’s life chances and get them back on the road to recovery. To provide support and housing whilst they develop their confidence, skills and self-esteem and find work, build relationships and hold down successful tenancies. All of this requires time as well as money. You can help in so many ways. Write to your MP or ward councillor, do a sponsored swim to raise money and awareness, talk to friends and colleagues about the true situation, volunteer in one of the many and varied roles and make a practical difference but most of all don’t be silent or complicit. Homelessness is not inevitable!”
Challenge yourself in 2018 with your first Tandem Skydiving and experience an adrenaline rush you’ll never forget as you freefall 12,000ft in aid of Swindon’s homeless!
We have 10 places available so hurry up and reserve your space by contacting us at email@example.com
When? Saturday 12th May 2018
Where? Army Parachute Association, Netheravon, Wiltshire, SP4 9SF
What’s the registration fee and how much do I have to raise?
Option A: £50 non-refundable deposit + £150 entry fee (paid by participant). Minimum sponsorship of £200.00
Option B: £50 non-refundable deposit + £150 entry fee (paid by Threshold Housing Link). Minimum sponsorship of £400.00.
The exhibition features: 49 x AO sized Fine Art quality images, created and captured by service users (homeless individuals) of Threshold Swindon. Each art image is accompanied with individual QR codes so that visitors to the exhibition can scan the QR code on their own mobile device and instantly be connected to the artist, hear their voice and their short personal story of what they describe is the most precious thing they have in their possession. In addition to the prints, there is a small selection of sculpture and poetry, also created by service users.
Some narrations are as short as 8 seconds, others are a little over a minute in length. Each image and narrative is deeply personal, providing a glimpse into the existential and phenomenological realities in the lives of homeless people and the impact that scant but precious objects, or emotionally charged memories, can provide hope and metaphorical, philosophical, or tangible lifelines for these individuals.
What they hold dear to their heart and what they cherish the most.
The exhibition celebrates humanity in its qualitative richness and this beating heart within us all.
Exhibition is Open Daily, staffed by residents of Threshold
Friday 24th Nov through to New Year’s Eve
@ 5, The Plaza, Brunel Shopping Centre, Swindon, SN1 1LF
Sunday 3rd September 2017 was the first edition of the revamped Swindon Half Marathon and it was epic!
We set up our atmosphere station under the very British weather and prepared the scene for a very noisy welcome to all the runners. We were equipped with handmade sets of drums, water bottles and Gumi bears; ready to motivate them all!
We had 8 runners set to race. Unfortunately, one injured himself just a day before the race and couldn’t participate but 7 wore Threshold colours and ran to victory!
From the feedback we received, Claire Hyde, from Swindon Probation service, who represented Threshold said:
"Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Threshold Team at the Swindon Half Marathon on the 3rd September 2017. Having only began training in June i was very nervous and anxious about what i was about to let myself in for however, on the day i didn't let my nerves get the better of me and i 'ran' through them :-). I bumped into Cliff, another runner in the Threshold Team at the Start line and as we were both aiming for the same finishing time, we ran side by side along the course. It was great to see the Threshold Tent on our travels and your encouragement really helped spur us along. Throughout the Course the crowds were amazing and cheered us on and really helped to give us the boast we needed to keep going. However there is one person i would really like to Thank and that is my running partner Cliff. I can not thank Cliff enough for his support and words of encouragement along the course. Whenever i felt like stopping or that I couldn't go on, Cliff was there by my side and with just a few words of encouragement he helped me push through and get to the end :-) I would thoroughly recommended this race to anyone who wanted to challenge themselves and also raise awareness and funds for our local charities like yourselves."
Gareth Nicholas, from NSBRC, who represented Threshold said:
“For me, as someone who doesn’t really run that much, and as someone who found the training as a bit of a chore, I found the actual day really enjoyable (apart from about mile 11!). I certainly found running alongside so many like-minded people, and being shouted and cheered along the route, and seeing familiar faces in the crowd was really helpful and gave me a big boost. And then there was the final section along Commercial Road and near the tented market which gave me extra oomph! The vibe in Old Town (Wood Street) was really really good too! “
Thank you to all that participated to the Swindon Half Marathon, whether you ran or came along to help. We all had a fantastic time and congratulations to all the runners but especially to our THL team that has raised so far £1,254.03 and counting!
This summer has been abuzz with NCS student social action and activity in support of Threshold.
Waves of teams of 15 and 16 year olds have dedicated part of their summer holidays to creating ‘pure good’ in their own communities.
Cai and I met with each wave of student groups at New College to present and share with them the core work that Threshold undertakes in preventing homelessness in Swindon. This ground work resulted in numerous teams selecting Threshold as their charity of choice to raise essential funds and to raise the profile of the work of our charity in our community.
Presentations were made to in excess of 130 College students which then resulted in 67 students becoming Threshold Student Social Action Ambassadors taking on the challenge of working to prevent homelessness in their very own community. They did absolutely brilliantly! Raising in excess of £700 for Threshold in collections and donations – through a range of activities which included:
- · 2 x Radio Interviews 105.5FM Swindon Community Radio which garnered further sponsorship and reached a Swindon wide audience
- · Promoted our “Jar for Change Campaign” to local businesses
- · Undertook Cake sales
- · A Car Wash
- · A Sponsored Walk
- · A Day-time Sleep-out and social action in the Town centre
- · Students created a Social Action Vlog
- · Manufactured Badge making with our partners at the GateShop in Havelock Square, and
- · Badge sales and collections at three of our partner venues. We were supported by Morrison’s Regent Circus, Fillerz Café and Swindon Central Library
- · Renovated and painted our HQ Office Reception and Interview Rooms, as well as
- · Painted a large 2m x 2m Mural for our HQ offices
- · Collected Food Donations and
- · Made and donated sandwiches which were presented to our Outreach Team for distribution to rough sleepers and those that were homeless.
It was wonderful to co-collaborate with such committed and passionate young people driven to improve the lives of others.
Written by Michael Keenan - Business Manager @ Threshold Housing Link - September 2017
So last week, we met with 3 of our New Swindon Half Marathon’s (NSHM) runners to give them their running vests. We took this opportunity to show them around our direct access hostel, met with two of our Front line Staff and discuss the work that is being done with our residents!
Then it was time to ask them what motivated them to take part in the NSHM for Threshold Housing Link and here is what they said:
“My name is Cliff Boddy, I am currently volunteering for Threshold and I was talked into running the half marathon by Cai, so I felt that I had no choice; but no seriously I am looking forward to it as it should be a great event to raise some funds for a really worthwhile charity.”
“My name is Claire Hyde, I am a probation Service officer with the National Probation Service. We work a lot with people who experience homelessness or various issues and Threshold is one of the charities that we sign post people to; so I thought it would be very good to volunteer my services to raise some money for them, so they can help our clients and move them on to better accommodation and life.”
“I am Alan Butler, founder of RunVEMBER. I approached Threshold, last year, with my fundraising. I don’t know what you call it, lunacy, I don’t know, but you know I am running the Swindon Half just to raise vital funds and awareness for their cause, their charity and the great work that they do!”
If you wish to sponsor them, you can by clicking the link below, make sure that you mention that this is for the NSHM.
The end of Runvember was almost a month ago and here at Threshold, we are still blown away by the kindness and generosity of all the Runvembrians and their sponsors! It was so overwhelming to see all this support and so many people prepared to help us in our cause. Not only they have collected 450+ boxes (26 pallets, 1 entire alley of the warehouse at Infinite Group) but they have also contributed enormously in raising our profile within the community!
So, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that took part in this challenge but particularly Alan Butler and his sponsors, without whom, this would clearly not have been possible! Please see below for the entire list and logos of Runvember’s sponsors.
- 113events.com, the organiser of the New Swindon's half marathon
- ASF signs
- Hubert & Woodall Print
- Back 2 fitness injury clinic
- Morgan Tree Surgery
- Pestguard uk, pest control and prevention
- Blood on the tracks
- Box and Seal
- SMRC badges
- T&A building services
- G&D Vehicle services
- Majestic Electrical Contractors
- The Royal Wootton Bassett & Lyneham Advertiser
- Infinite Group
- The Five Bells In
Sleep out for one night, so that the homeless don’t have to!
Winter is fast approaching and once again Threshold Housing Link needs the help of local people.
We require ‘brave’ volunteers who are willing to be sponsored and join us at our SLEEPOUT! taking place on the night of Friday 2nd December 2016 at The Immanuel United Reformed Church, Upham Road, Swindon, SN3 1DH. This annual event helps raise much needed funds to support services for Swindon’s homeless.
Anyone can take part - whether individuals, groups or families and this year we are inviting local churches, community organisations, schools, colleges and businesses to nominate at least one person to participate and represent their organisation.
Everyone can make a meaningful contribution by joining us, to show solidarity with the homeless, to raise funds to support our work and to give you a small insight into what it feels like to sleep rough. However, we are not attempting to recreate the experience of rough sleeping our aim will be to keep you safe and secure.
To register your place, obtain a sponsorship pack or find out more please contact Threshold on (01793) 524661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 8th September 2016, Threshold were invited to attend the New College Fresher's event.
We took this opportunity to challenge their students on their awareness of homelessness by asking them to build their own bed out of cardboard boxes and enter our competition to win a mystery prize.
We met some lovely students that were up for the challenge. 8 teams (up to 5 people per team) in total took part and used their brilliant creativity and skills to create them. Please have a look at their work below.
And the winner is: Jade Tonks. We felt that Jade demonstrated the best skills to build her bed. It was made with ingenuity, practicality and rapidity. Well done Jade, you left us very impressed!