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Helping Churches Respond To Social Needs

BHF Meeting Notes:
11 May 2006

Homeless Forum and AGM

Candle Community Centre
11 May 2006


Everyone present was welcomed to the meeting.

Those Present

Ailsa McWilliam (Caring at Christmas), Paul Hazelden (Crisis Centre Ministries), Val Moore (Christ Church, Clifton and CTiCC&R), Julie Griffiths (Julian Trust), Steve Griffiths (Julian Trust), Ian Mountford (Salvation Army Candle Community Centre) and Graham Wheeler (Bristol Soup Run Trust)

Apologies Received

Barry Penn (Bristol Methodist Centre), Paul Tipler (Aspire), Anni Davey (Crisis Centre Ministries), Julian Marsh (BCAN), John Atkinson (Bristol City Council) and Dave Perry (Emmaus)

Previous Meeting

Val Moore requested the Domestic Abuse stickers, posters, and leaflets at the January meeting. She has not yet received any yet.

Action: Ailsa to give the info to Val

The Salvation Army has the premises for the new shop (110 Cheltenham Road) but is waiting for the solicitors. There is date for opening yet.

The Julian Trust re-dedication service will take place on Sunday 1 October 10 am at All Saints Church, Grove Road, Fishponds. Their Annual General Meeting is in the Conference Hall of the Council House at 7.30 pm on Thursday 16 November. The business meeting will be very brief followed by a reception. The Julian Trust Annual Carol service will take place at the Night Shelter, Little Bishop Street, St Pauls at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 6 December.

Everyone is welcome, but please let The Julian Trust know if you are planning to attend so they have an idea of numbers.

Action: Julie will talk to Paul about contacting the BHF members

Paul thanked those present at the last meeting for their input on the question of pricing for the CCM Meal Vouchers.

Members of the Homeless Consortium were invited to speak at this meeting but could not attend.

Information Share


After the meeting on 10 March, Olly Alcock did a superb job of publicising FareShare with his contacts, and Paul did the same with his.

Mike McNally did not turn up to the FareShare meeting on 5 May. There is interest from the Pontin Trust but it is not yet clear whether they would be a FareShare franchise, or whether they would set up a separate organisation or co-operative. They do have the money but would need a development worker to undertake the work.

There is a FareShare email list for anyone who would like to be kept up to date. Please contact Paul Hazelden to be included on the list.

Churches Together in Clifton, Cotham & Redland

A service to mark Homelessness Sunday will take place at Christ Church Clifton at 3pm on 14 May. Organisations can have stands and display boards. Pat Reynolds will be talking about the work of C.H.A.S. during the service. Everyone is invited to the service and to stay for tea afterwards.

Christ Church

The Breakfast run has not encountered any more problems.

Bristol Soup Run Trust

All nights are full. The trust is short of money at the moment. They have had a lot of volunteers through the Volunteer Bureau and website. There are high numbers using the soup run by Pip’n’Jay church, often around 45 people. These now include numerous Poles and Lithuanians. Several new Trustees have joined, including a new treasurer.

Julian Trust

It is still very busy. A lot of people are using the shelter, a small percentage of which are multi-ethnic. Invites are going out to volunteers, supporters, and organisations for the events recognising the work of the Julian Trust over the last 20 years. There will also be an ‘Open Doors’ day on Saturday 23 September, 12 – 4 pm at the Shelter on Little Bishop Street.

Crisis Centre Ministries

Lucy, the new admin worker is doing 15 hours a week and is doing a wonderful job. This has enabled Trudie to spend more time working with the clients, which is going very well. Unfortunately, all this work with the clients has created yet more work and put the team under more pressure. They are struggling for volunteers during the daytime. The LITE course is going well.

Candle Community Centre

The centre has been open on a Tuesday and Thursday from 2 – 4.30 pm. They are struggling with finances since the Magpie shop closed last year. Once the new shop is open they plan to employ a manager for the Community Centre.

The address for Logos House (formerly the Little George Street Hostel) is 1 Wade Street, not Little George Street. There is a dedication Service on Thursday 25 May at 2 pm. The Bridge programme (based at Logos House) has spaces for females on the detox unit: for more information please phone them on 0117 955 2821.

Caring at Christmas

The new edition of the Survival Handbook should be out by the beginning of June.

John Atkinson has raised about £700 for Nightstop by his sponsored surf, and hopes to bring the total to £1,000 through some quiz nights.

Nightstop is going well. It had been quiet for two weeks but has picked up again. They now have 7 hosts, and hope to increase this to 14 in a few months. It is hoped to develop more of the morning after work with young people, and to expand their work into South Gloucestershire.

Caring at Christmas is looking to put on some training in Drugs, the Law and Good Practice. The course, provided by Homeless Link, looks at drugs, drugs legislation and drugs work from a worker or an organisational perspective. The aim is to ensure that workers are clear about their own legal responsibilities relating to drugs, on premises, during visits and in street settings. They would make some spaces available to other agencies at a reasonable rate to cover some of the costs.

Action: Ailsa will circulate training details to BHF mailing list

Street Count

There was a lengthy discussion of the official count of homeless people. The last street count recorded one rough sleeper in Bristol. This count has to be carried out in a certain way, which means that most of the people sleeping rough on that night are not counted. The ‘rules’ of the street count are dictated by central government. If the numbers of rough sleepers in Bristol are above a certain number the funding the council receives from the central government will be cut, even if the higher numbers mean that more services are needed. So Bristol benefits from a low official count.

It also seems clear that many homeless people do not want to be counted, and many do not want to engage with the authorities for a wide variety of reasons: some may be escaping from failed relationships, others may be wanted by the Police or people they owe money to.

However, while the Council and individual homeless people may benefit from a low official count, it makes the work of voluntary groups much more difficult: why should people volunteer to help or give to support homeless charities if there is only one homeless person in Bristol? Publicity about the low official count makes it much harder to communicate the facts about the real needs.

It was agreed to look at the possibility of undertaking an unofficial street count to help us get a better idea of the true number of homeless people in Bristol. This would not only help the voluntary groups, it would also help the people in the council and other statutory groups who are seeking to get improved resources allocated to this area.

There are several approaches that could be tried: ask if people from the Homeless Forum could accompany the official count and note how many homeless people are not counted; we could look for homeless people in the places the official count does not look; send teams out to look in the surrounding areas; and ask the hostels how many people they turned away that night.

Action: Everyone think about what can be done and report back to next meeting


The Steering Group consists of Paul Hazelden (Crisis Centre), Ailsa McWilliam (Caring at Christmas), Dave Perry (Emmaus), Paul Tipler (Aspire) and Julian Marsh (BCAN). The aim was to meet every month, in between meetings, but at the moment it is meeting every two months. The main aims of the steering group are to gather information, liaise with the statutory sector and consider what questions and issues the Homeless Forum needs to consider. It was agreed that no changes are to be made to the steering group, who will give reports back to each Homeless Forum meeting.

Paul circulated an income and expenditure summary for 2005-2006. Membership fees for the Homeless Forum are now due: £40 for full members and £5 for associate members.


Paul asked for feedback, as this is the first AGM of the Homeless Forum. A request was made that minutes are sent out in advance with the agenda. There has been a problem with admin for the meeting over the last year as the person taking the minutes left.

It was agreed that any items for the agenda should be submitted to Ailsa (ailsa@caringatchristmas.org.uk or 0117 9244444) up to, two weeks before the meeting. Anyone who wants to is encouraged to include items for the agenda. The deadline for the next agenda is Thursday 29th June.

It was suggested for future meetings to invite someone from Safer Bristol to give a presentation on what they do.

Steering Group Report

Paul and Ailsa met before the meeting with Olly Alcock and Martin Painter. The council wants to have more partnership work and closer ties with the voluntary sector. It would seem beneficial for us to engage with the council since they are open to voluntary sector involvement. Although the council can have a different agenda to the voluntary sector, it would be advantageous for us to help them meet their targets if there is a way of doing this that is not to the detriment of our own work or our own way of helping people.

Places are available on the council’s induction training that covers services and funds available to homeless people.



People were encourage to read Stuart: a life backwards, by Alexander Masters (Harper Perennial, 2006, ISBN 0 00 720037 4), a very readable account of the life of a homeless person, and the author’s frustrating but engaging relationship with him.

Usual Documents

The usual documents were made available for people to look at and pick up. These are listed on the Homeless Forum Documents page of the BCAN web site: you can navigate from the BCAN home page (http://www.bcan.org.uk), or go directly to the page at http://www.bcan.org.uk/bhf/l2_homeless_docs.html; they are also available from the Crisis Centre Ministries office at 12 City Road.


It was agreed to include details of some of the key web sites in the meeting motes.

Future Meetings

Details of the next three meeting are as follows. All meetings will start at 7:30 pm and aim to finish by 9:30.

13 July at the Caring at Christmas Offices, Julian House, Little Bishop Street, St Pauls.

14 September at Christ Church, Clifton (to be confirmed).

9 November at The Candle Community Centre, Ashley Road (entrance on corner of Brigstocke Road).


This page last updated: 9 June 2006
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