The idea of The Real World Trust came about in 1988 when the possibilities of a half way house for people leaving Whitecroft was discussed and RWT started out with the aim of supporting vulnerable people with drug and alcohol problems by providing a clean, safe home environment in which to tackle their addictions.
A meeting was finally arranged between Health, Probation and Social Services and a successful application for funding was made to TVS Charitable Trust which enabled RWT to be formed. The Trust was incorporated on the 1st November 1990 and granted charitable status later in the same year. The Trust went on to open a care home in Newport in 1992. Although successful in its aims, running costs forced the premature closure of this facility.
Undeterred, in 1996 the Trust opened a “Drop-In” in Ryde (with a grant from Social Services and the Department of Health). During its 6 year life, the drop-in became a valuable asset to vulnerable people and several thousand visits were made to seek out advice, support and guidance. However, the main goal for RWT remained the provision of a hostel.
This became a reality in 1994 when South Wight Housing were successful in acquiring funding for the Housing Corporation for a 10 bedroom Hostel. A site was found in Shanklin and after negotiations with IW Council, construction was started in 1998. The completed hostel was handed over on 13th October 1999 opening on 1st November that year. It continues to run successfully today.
The hostel is completely ‘dry’ and is subject to stringent assessment procedures. In addition to other qualifying criteria, individuals offered resident accommodation are those that have demonstrated a motivation to change their lives. The ethos is on rehabilitating residents through education, training and voluntary work, thereby helping them prepare for a full return to society.
In the community the Real World Trust has a team providing housing related support to service users within their own homes. This team helps clients’ access suitable accommodation and offers varying levels of support, tailored to individual needs. The principle aim is to ensure stability of tenancy and life-skills training to help service users live independent lives in the community.
Further growth of the Trust came in January 2001 with the development of the Positive Engagement Team (PET), a community based project offering general counseling and support. This was initially a project to support residents, who were leaving the Hostel, but advantage was taken of changes in Government funding that enabled other referrals to be accepted and by April 2003 PET supported some 50 vulnerable clients in their own homes.
The Philosophy Underpinning the Real World Trust Housing Service Includes: –
A commitment to meeting the housing needs of people with substance misuse problems by providing good quality, appropriate housing.
The creation of an environment within housing schemes which has at its heart a commitment to promoting the independence of the individual and to enable people with substance misuse problems to live as normal and satisfying a life as possible within their own homes.
A recognition that the people of any community have a responsibility to promote their own welfare and that of their family and neighbours; the service provided by the sheltered housing service builds on this and complements it, but does not supersede it.
By encouraging independence and choice, residents are exposed to the same physical and emotional risks as any other people and therefore cannot be protected from every risk.
A commitment to ensuring that our housing is outward not inward looking and is a resource to the local community whenever possible.
The provision of services should take into account the social cultural and ethnic values, together with the religious beliefs of all people with substance misuse problems.
To provide an effective service for people with substance misuse problems the Trust needs to work closely with statutory and other voluntary sector agencies.
Services will be provided in conjunction and in co-operation with other agencies, statutory, voluntary and private.
Actively encouraging people to make personal choices and to enable them to do so by the provision of information about the services available.
Ensuring that the services provided for people with substance misuse problems will be based NOT on stereotypes, but on the individual physical, mental, emotional or social needs of the person.
A commitment to quality, which ensures that residents always receive the services they have been promised, and for which they have paid.
Managing and respecting the delicate balance between observance of individuals’ rights, with the rights and welfare of other residents.
Ensuring that staff in schemes provide residents with a service that is accountable and professional.
STOREROOM ARRIVES . . .
A feasibility study was undertaken at the end of 2002 to identify if the public would respond to requests for furniture etc. and RWT were inundated with offers. So, on 1st April 2004, the Storeroom Project was launched to tackle the problems that the Positive Engagement Team encountered, as clients with few personal belongings moved into new accommodation.
The project assembled a stock of furniture and household items for use by clients, provided through requests for donations of unwanted household goods placed in the local weekly paper and also donations from local businesses.
Furniture and other donated items were distributed to those referred by statutory and voluntary agencies; generally individuals who were recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, or a period of chaos in their lives, or who were otherwise disadvantaged.
THE STOREROOM PROJECT FOLLOWED . . .
RWT were committed to increasing the ability of individuals and families who wanted to work, or volunteer within their capacity to find gainful employment. This enabled individuals to gain confidence, improved their social contact and therefore dignity, quality of life and a sense of community.
During these processes RWT endeavoured to increase community awareness to the problems of waste management and improving the environment by providing educational information indicating how the individual may help.
Storeroom was also committed to reducing landfill and waste in general by recycling timber and other elements of unusable donations.
STOREROOM CHANGES . . .
Initially Storeroom had a small shop in Shanklin then opened the warehouse in Cowes during August 2006 with funding until June 2010.
Storeroom is still committed to recycling and reducing landfill waste, sourced from household waste. In these processes we will endeavour to increase community awareness to the problems of household waste management, thereby improving the environment. To date we are therefore making a significant reduction of potential household waste by recycling furniture and other items that have been donated through our shop and warehouse.
Currently this project operates island wide, both in terms of collection and deliveries to purchasers of recycled goods. Partner organisations have included Social Services, Island Women’s Refuge, Law Centre, various Housing Provision agencies including Housing Associations and other landlords, various community support providers and community referrals.
In addition to recycling initiatives and in the provision of our service, we are also in a position to give opportunities to those seeking a road back to employment; ultimately enabling confidence and capacity building, in a framework of support to reach gainful employment.
The Storeroom project is now running at full capacity as a result of public giving and awareness.
The Storeroom project was funded until December 2006 by the Community Recycling and Economic Development Programme (CRED), together with small grants from Lloyds TSB Foundation, the Law Centre, various Housing Associations and internal funding. Currently there is no funding whatsoever and we look to our Island community for support to keep this valuable service going.
STOREROOM2010 NOW . . .
The Storeroom Project began as an initiative of the Real World Trust – a proactive charity operating on the Isle of Wight, recycling furniture within the community to help vulnerable people.
The project also offers Island residents the opportunity to really help their community and environment by donating furniture, household items and white goods, which may otherwise have been taken to the landfill site, thereby providing a low cost service to members of the community who are not able to furnish their own homes. The local environment is helped along with our Island residents.
Storeroom originally came into existence following a feasibility study undertaken at the end of 2002 to identify if the public would respond to requests for furniture etc.
Furniture or other donated items are available to all, but at a discounted price to those referred by statutory and voluntary agencies, those generally being individuals who are recovering from mental health, alcohol/drug addiction, a period of chaos in their lives or who are otherwise disadvantaged.
In October 2008 the Storeroom project was one of the winners of the Community Action Awards, sponsored by the County press, the Isle of Wight Rural Community Council (RCC) and the Isle of Wight Charitable Trust.
Storeroom2010 is committed to increasing the ability of individuals and families who want to work or volunteer within their capacity to find gainful employment or give them the opportunity to volunteer. In addition, this enables the individual to gain confidence, improves social contact and therefore dignity, quality of life and a sense of community.
Do you have time to spare? Would you like to help others? The staff at Storeroom2010 can always use an extra pair of hands. You could help in a variety of ways. Please call Nick Miller on (01983) 298679 to discuss.