This August, walk a marathon with your favourite four legged friend and raise vital funds to help us support more people experiencing homelessness.
You can take on this paw-some challenge anywhere, in your own time and at your own pace. Break the 26.2 miles into a short walk every day, or opt for a longer walk every week – you could even take the opportunity to visit somewhere new.
It’s your challenge, so you decide when and where you clock up the miles. You’ll get a St Mungo’s lead and T-shirt when you register, plus a funky dog bandana if you raise over £50.
For the past 22 years, Putting Down Roots has helped hundreds of people to build their confidence through gardening.
At regular sessions in Bristol, Leicester and London, clients can learn the practical skills needed to grow a wide selection of plants, including flowers, fruit and vegetables.
This May, the team had the chance to put those skills to use for an exciting new project – the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Funded by Project Giving Back, and designed by long term partner, Cityscapes, creating the St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots Garden was a real team effort.
It took months of preparation to prepare, with clients busy growing on and looking after over 2,000 plants, and helping move them to the show.
The end result was outstanding, with the garden attracting thousands of visitors throughout the week. It even scooped one of ten Silver medals from the Royal Horticultural Society.
We couldn’t be prouder of everything our Putting Down Roots team have achieved.
How can we combat the cost of living crisis?
We’ve all been feeling the pinch lately as the cost of living increases. Energy bills have risen by as much as 54%, whilst inflation is at a record breaking 30 year high, and still going up.
We know this is going to have a huge impact on all of us, especially our clients. Many of the people we work with rely on benefits, meaning they’ll also be affected by changes to Universal Credit payments and more benefit sanctions.
For those living independently, keeping on top of rent, utility bills, tax and other expenses could be overwhelming without the right support.
That’s why St Mungo’s is working hard to assist clients with things like accessing benefits, applying for grants to reduce bills, and connecting with food banks, plus much more.
In short, we’re doing everything we can to prevent anyone from returning to the streets.
Clare is the Advice Services Manager on our Welfare Rights team, who specialise in supporting clients with benefits. She explains how they’ve been helping:
What does your role at St Mungo’s involve?
“I manage our Welfare Rights team, which is made up of specialists who are here to help anyone with a question about their welfare rights. We run an email advice line which clients, staff and volunteers can use to get in touch, and a one to one service for those who need extra help. We also work closely with the Rents team to try to resolve any problems relating to rent arrears (when someone falls behind on their rent payments) – the list goes on!”
How do you think the cost of living crisis is going to impact St Mungo’s clients?
“People living in services like Real Lettings, where they have a tenancy with bills and council tax – I think they are going to really feel the impact. I recently heard of a young client who is struggling with his tenancy. He’s a care leaver and, because of his age, he receives around £250 a month in Universal Credit. Now, he’s facing a gas bill of about £150 – more than half his monthly income. It’s just not sustainable.”
How giving back led to a new career for Nizar
Nizar became homeless after the death of his friend, who owned the house he lived in. After St Mungo’s Outreach team helped Nizar off the streets and into stable accommodation, he decided to give back by becoming a volunteer.
Fast forward two and a half years, and Nizar has used his volunteering experience to secure a job working as a Care Assistant at one of St Mungo’s care homes for the elderly. He shares his success story.
“I became homeless after my friend passed away. We’d lived together for many years in the house she owned, but when she died, I lost everything. I tried to fight to keep my home and it even went to court, but eventually, I had to leave. I was so stressed out that I even lost my job.
I had no idea what to do, because I’d never had an experience like this before. I spent a few nights sleeping on night buses and benches – it was horrible.
Luckily, it wasn’t long before I met St Mungo’s Outreach team. They approached me whilst I was sleeping rough in Trafalgar Square, and found me a bed for the night.
From then on, St Mungo’s have had my back. They provided me with a safe place to stay and helped me get a place of my own through the Housing First scheme. It’s given me a firm foundation to start getting back on track.”