The future of a South London homeless day centre has been secured for at least three years after the charity running it received £412,000 in National Lottery funding.
The 999 Club’s Gateway drop-in centre in Deptford works with around 40 people a day who are homeless or fear they may become homeless, helping them to get and keep accommodation and receive support with issues around homelessness.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will pay for the charity’s homeless prevention and sustainable housing project.
It will cover the direct costs of staffing and running the centre and contribute to other costs of the charity. It will also fund training and expenses for the team of regular volunteers that help keep the day centre open, as well as providing for food and travel costs of people who visit the centre for support.
Tim Fallon, chief executive of the 999 Club, said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has supported the need for preventing homelessness in South-East London. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, our Gateway Centre can remain open until at least summer 2022.
“In that time, we will work with around 3,000 people, giving them the expert help they need to get and keep a safe and secure place to live.”
Each year, the Gateway Centre provides vital services for nearly 1,000 vulnerable people. One-to-one sessions with a named case manager help people to avoid becoming homeless, find sustainable housing and to maximise their income. Gateway staff also work with up to 25 homeless people staying in the charity’s emergency night shelter to assist them into housing as a priority.
The charity’s employability programme empowers people to make the most of existing skills, learn new ones and get qualifications to find work. It also runs workshops to help boost self-esteem and confidence. To improve physical and mental health and well-being, it hosts regular visits from a GP, nurse, mental health nurse and drug/alcohol support worker.
Sacha Rose-Smith, Head of Funding for London at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “National Lottery money continues to change the lives of thousands of people across the capital. We’re delighted to fund The 999 Club, who are focused on providing services to vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. With their ideas, knowledge and passion, this money changes lives.”
Bruno came to the 999 Club this summer after becoming homeless and being forced to spend two nights sleeping in a park when he ran out of money to pay for hostels.
Staff supported him to find new accommodation and after 10 days, he moved into a shared house.
Bruno said: “If I hadn’t come to the 999 Club, I would be in the same situation – homeless. When you are homeless, you get more homeless. You have nothing. But just a little bit of help can help you a lot to get your life back and let you continue forward.
“Everyone at the 999 Club has been five stars – 10 stars. They have been so nice and caring. They see where you have problems and how they can help you most of all. And it worked for me – they helped me a lot. I have been very lucky.”