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Celebrating homelessness services: Winners of Excellence Awards 2024

We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s Excellence Awards! Five services have been honoured for their innovative and impactful contributions to supporting people experiencing homelessness. An additional six organisations have been highly commended for their outstanding work.

Category winners

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council
  • Greater Manchester Better Outcomes Partnerships
  • Hope into Action
  • Nadiya
  • StreetVet

Thanks to the generous support of St-Martin-in-the-Fields Charity, each of these organisations will receive £3,000 to invest in staff wellbeing and professional development.

This year’s competition was particularly fierce, with 149 entries and a highly competitive shortlist of 30. Our brilliant panel of sector experts had the tough task of selecting the winners. Our judging panel included: Dr. Lígia Teixeira, Chief Executive, Centre for Homelessness Impact; Kathy Mohan, Former Chief Executive, Housing Justice; Sally Daghlian OBE, Former Chief Executive, Praxis; Natalie King, Head of Development, St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity; and Rick Henderson, Chief Executive, Homeless Link.

Celebrating excellence

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, comments:

"From a long-term housing programme for refugees to veterinary care and an accredited hostel scheme for pets experiencing homelessness, Homeless Link’s annual Excellence Awards highlight the innovative, impactful and dedicated work happening across the country to ensure that people have a place to call home and the support they need to keep it.
With homelessness organisations still under huge pressure from ballooning demand amidst cuts to their funding, it’s important to recognise the exceptional efforts of our winners and commended organisations – and vitally, the outcomes for people experiencing homelessness."
 The sector has a crucial role to play in preventing and ending homelessness, and we hope that the new Government will be willing to work with us to bring about the change we need. 

Natalie King. Head of Development, St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity:

"It is inspiring to see such innovative practices and responses being developed to support people experiencing homelessness especially when it is against a backdrop of increased need and fewer resources. These services highlight the dedication of teams across the country to identifying gaps in provision, developing different ways of working and responding with person-centred approaches to ending homelessness."

Award categories and winners

Demonstrating Impact

Recognising organisations that can clearly demonstrate their effectiveness in supporting people facing homelessness, and their ability to learn from what works.

Winner: Greater Manchester Better Outcomes Partnerships

Highly Commended: Greater ChangeGreater Manchester Housing First

The Greater Manchester Better Outcomes Partnership was awarded for their Pathfinder Project, which aims to prevent youth homelessness through early intervention and tailored support. Employing a data-driven approach to track and analyse participants' journeys, the project has led to innovative solutions such as a private landlord engagement scheme and additional support for single-parent families. This initiative has achieved a 70% success rate in preventing homelessness, positively impacting over 1,500 young people in Manchester.

“Receiving the award is a true honour for the GMBOP Pathfinder project. This recognition is a wonderful testament to our whole team's dedication and hard work in creating meaningful change for those at risk of homelessness. It also highlights the critical role that data plays in driving our innovative solutions, enabling us to better understand and address the needs of participants. Thank you, Homeless Link, for believing in our vision and supporting our mission.”

Rachel O'Connor, Programme Director, Greater Manchester Better Outcomes Partnerships 

Excellent Support

Celebrating the heart of homelessness delivery; those core support services that make a real difference in peoples’ lives.

Winner: StreetVet

Highly Commended: Groundswell UK

StreetVet provides free veterinary care to pets of people experiencing homelessness across the UK. Despite being a small volunteer-led team, they have treated over 2,500 pets and performed 10,000 consultations since their founding in 2016. The judges were particularly impressed with their collaboration with hostels to create pet-friendly environments through their accredited hostel scheme, significantly improving the lives of both pets and their owners.

"StreetVet is honoured to be selected as the winner of the Homeless Link Excellent Support Excellence Award. As a charity dedicated to supporting individuals experiencing homelessness with their pets, we are proud to be recognised within the homeless sector, transcending the boundaries of the veterinary and animal welfare sectors. This award will enable us to invest in staff well-being and development, which we currently cannot justify due to our focus on being able to deliver our essential veterinary services to as many pets and owners experiencing homelessness as possible."

Collette Sheaff, Head of Marketing, StreetVet

Innovative Housing

Recognising organisations that are creative in increasing access to appropriate housing for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Winner: Nadiya

Highly Commended: Colchester Borough Homes

Founded in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, Nadiya supports refugees and vulnerable social groups by providing long-term housing solutions. Their flagship Long-term Housing Programme addresses systemic obstacles that hinder refugees from accessing sustainable accommodation in the private rented sector by offering interest-and-fee-free loans for rent, deposits, and furniture, and acting as a guarantor. Since August 2023, Nadiya has supported 184 Ukrainian families into homes.

"It’s a tremendous honour for Nadiya to win the Innovative Housing award from Homeless Link. This recognition validates our Long-term Housing Programme's innovative approach to refugee settlement. Our team has worked tirelessly to create sustainable housing solutions that empower refugees to rebuild their lives with dignity and security. This award not only celebrates our efforts, but the resilience of the refugees we serve, and also shows the critical importance of providing stable accommodation. There were many ups and downs, like in any other sector and sometimes it feels like you're getting nowhere, yet every time we get down something like comes along to re-motivate the team. This is why we're deeply grateful for this acknowledgment and remain committed to expanding our impact in refugee resettlement. And, in the words of Keir Starmer: 'We did it!'."

Anna Merchuk FRSA, Co-Founder, Nadiya

Successful Partnerships

Celebrating organisations that can demonstrate exceptional collaboration and partnership initiatives to address homelessness.

Winner: Hope into Action

Highly Commended: London Borough of LambethNew Horizon Youth Centre

Hope into Action enables churches to house people affected by homelessness. By building partnerships between investors, churches, professionals, and local communities, they have developed 114 houses across 35 towns, supporting over 350 individuals nightly. The judges highlighted the impact and scalability of this model, which has resulted in sustained tenancies, reduced dependency on emergency services, and improved tenant outcomes.

“Winning this award is a great encouragement to Hope into Action’s 100+ partner churches who provide love and community to our tenants, as well as our investors who havecollectively invested over £28m in houses that we have turned into homes. It is fantastic for this to be acknowledged by Homeless Link as this will help us grow further.  We will use the prize money to cover the costs of the retreat days that we offer all of our staff as part of their personal well-being plans”

Jon Kuhrt, CEO, Hope into Action UK

Workforce Development

Recognising homelessness sector organisations that prioritise the professional growth and wellbeing of their staff.

Winner: BCP Council

BCP Council won for their innovative apprenticeship programme, which equips participants with comprehensive skills in homelessness services. Through rotations across housing options teams, rigorous training, and advanced placements tailored to career aspirations, apprentices gain holistic and practical experience. By integrating lived experiences and ongoing research, their approach empowers apprentices and enriches service delivery, better meeting community needs. The judges were impressed by this initiative’s ability to attract new talent into the sector, providing positive career opportunities and helping to address recruitment challenges.

“We are delighted to receive this prestigious award recognising that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council is providing opportunities for people to access apprenticeships in our housing service, while enabling us to develop and support their careers as part of our ongoing commitment to prevent and resolve homelessness in all its forms. We hope this will encourage further future applicants and continue driving us forward in our journey to be an employer of choice.”

Fraser Nicholson, Homelessness Partnerships Coordinator, BCP Council

Congratulations to all the winners and highly commended organisations for their exceptional work and dedication to supporting people experiencing homelessness!

Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

Original article link: https://homeless.org.uk/news/celebrating-homelessness-services-winners-of-excellence-awards-2024/

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