£150k grant helps bring homeless east Londoners back from the brink

A ‘life-saving’ service which helps homeless people in east London rebuild their lives has received a six-figure funding boost.

Caritas Anchor House provides a safe place to stay and a range of support for people in Newham.

The Canning Town-based charity has been awarded a £150,000 grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The money will pay for the role of a mental health lead, co-ordinating efforts to support the almost half of service users who report mental health issues affecting their daily lives.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“It’s clear from the testimony from people who’ve been helped by Caritas Anchor House that it provides a vital, and in some cases life-saving, role in helping people to turn their lives around.

“This funding will enable people who in many cases have complex issues to receive the support they need to build their resilience and self-esteem, and make the transition into independent living.”

Last year, 365 individuals were referred to Caritas Anchor House – more than twice the capacity it can accommodate – and it was able to help 278 people, of whom 137 have moved on – 95 into homes of their own, and 42 into short-term accommodation or support services.

The charity provides mental health support and a peer-led recovery programme with group sessions covering topics such as stress management, coping with anxiety, building healthy relationships and mindfulness.

Caritas Anchor House Trust Manager James McNicholas said:

“We work with people who face a lot of barriers in accessing services, who often have low self-esteem, high levels of isolation and lack the soft skills and the confidence to achieve their goals.

“We offer support so that those we are here to help can take the lead in their own recovery and to develop the skills that mean they can sustain their tenancy in a new home and leave homelessness behind for good.”

More information about Caritas Anchor House is at www.caritasanchorhouse.org.uk

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: ‘It was like the weight was lifted off my shoulders”

Former cabbie Richard, from Newham, found himself living on the streets after losing his partner to cancer, and suffers from PTSD as a result of trauma from the abuse he suffered in childhood.

After being offered a place at Caritas Anchor House, he received his first mental health assessment and received in-house counselling. He now lives independently in his own flat in West Ham.

He said: “Slowly but surely, I started to reconstruct my life. The sessions gave me a new focus and it was like the weight was lifted off my shoulders. My outlook on life has changed completely and it has saved my life, without a shadow of doubt. I feel like there is hope; a chance that I can rebuild my position in society.

“My key worker has helped me so much and kept going the extra mile for me. During lockdown, she was working from home but rang me at last twice a week so you don’t feel you're missing out. There’s always someone who’s got time to help you if you’ve got a problem that needs sorting.

“Every opportunity you get at Caritas Anchor House, you take it, because it prepares you in some way. I feel positive and am genuinely grateful for the support of Anchor House, as I really was a lost soul before.”

Picture captions

- Former cab driver Richard was able to turn his life around with the support of Caritas Anchor House

- Caritas Anchor House, in Canning Town

- City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile, dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its charity funding arm City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £25 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk