Charity profile: A day in the life of Horsham Matters
Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors recently learned about the services provided by Horsham Matters – read on to find out more about what they do
Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors first began trading in Horsham, West Sussex in 1855. The company has been dedicated to supporting the community for many years, and with the employment of Community Co-Ordinator, Becky, almost two years ago, things have stepped up further in the communities around their offices in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint, plus the original Horsham office.
As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to community matters, today sees a guest blog courtesy of Paula Daly, Community Fundraiser at Horsham Matters. Here, Paula tells us what it’s like working at a local charity which provides services to those in the area who are in need of support…
‘Horsham Matters is a small charity making a big impact on the local community that it serves. Formed in 2006 by Horsham Churches Together to serve the Horsham District Area, Horsham Matters works to relieve hardship through the provision of essential services (food, fuel and shelter) in order to make a positive, long-lasting impact on people’s lives.
Having recently joined the team, my job involves letting more people know about our services, and raising vital funds so that we can keep helping people! I wrote this post following the August Bank Holiday break, read on to find out more about what my day was like!
It’s a Tuesday in late summer. Our office in Blatchford Road has been closed for the long weekend and when we open at 9.30am, the phones are already ringing. We are very lucky that we have so much support locally with donations of household items for our Charity Superstore in Redkiln Close and food for the Horsham District Foodbank.
Due to the extended weekend, the Foodbank Volunteers who usually come in on a Monday are in today. Once they have sorted, weighed and recorded the donations of tinned food, milk, cereal, coffee, tea, pet food and toiletries, supply boxes for the Foodbanks will be put together and delivered to each of them so that they are restocked for the coming week.
The Horsham District Foodbank has regular sessions at:
St Andrews Church, Roffey – Tuesdays 10am-12 noon
Christian Life Centre – Wednesdays 4-6pm
Trinity Methodist Church, Storrington – Thursdays 10am-12 noon
Quaker Meeting House, Horsham – Fridays 1-3pm
There is also a rural delivery scheme in Henfield, run in partnership with Henfield Lions Club, to support people in need in that area with food.
This morning a number of people come into the office asking for Foodbank support. They vary from people who are on benefits looking for work, to a mum who is a trainee dental nurse, and a self-employed man who has been injured and temporarily unable to work full-time. The Foodbanks provide individuals and families with a three-day emergency package of food, and is sometimes supplemented by bread donated by Tesco Esso Express and Tesco Horsham Silver Wok Express. To get food from the Foodbank you have to obtain a voucher first and you can get them from Horsham Matters, one of the Housing Associations and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau alongside Horsham Library.
As it’s the school holidays we have also supplied food boxes to families that have children who normally receive free school meals. In July, 88 Foodbank vouchers were redeemed for food packages (there were 68 in June) and these consisted of 111 adults, 61 children, feeding a total of 172 people.
Late morning I take a call from an agency who is supporting a man who has been homeless and is moving into accommodation for the first time. As he has no possessions the client will be needing a ‘starter pack’ of furniture, including a bed to sleep on, to get him going. Paperwork is completed and the items he needs are selected and put by in the warehouse for us to deliver to him later in the week, along with a Foodbank parcel so that he can prepare his first meals.
Today’s client has been homeless for some time some and used our Night Shelter last winter. The Horsham Night Shelter is run between December and March with the help of over 250 volunteers and last winter provided 24 local homeless guests with shelter and meals, plus access to showers and a washing machine. The volunteers work in shifts during the evening and night to set up the beds, cook a hot meal for the guests and provide evening activities including a TV. This so something so basic that we don’t think about it – that homeless people miss out on the simple pleasure of watching TV! During the time that they stay with us, individuals are supported by an outreach worker towards gaining accommodation and long term independence.
Horsham Matters is recruiting volunteers for the winter 2019 Night Shelter. If you think that you could donate a regular weekly evening, night or morning shift to one of the shelters or would like to cook for them, please contact our General Manager, Emma Elnaugh for details of how to apply. Full training is provided and every Shelter has a dedicated co-ordinator.
We are also raising funds for our 2019 Night Shelter with our first ever event; the Horsham Matters Big Sleep Out. The event takes place on Saturday 7 September. Hosted by New Barn School, Guildford Road, Broadbridge Heath and commencing at 7.30pm, participants will arrive with their sleeping bags, camp-beds and cardboard (as they choose) and settle in under the stars for the night. There will be activities during the evening and provision of breakfast and hot drinks served from 7am before leaving at around 7.30am.
Event registration fee is £10 for adults, £2.50 for children and £35 for groups plus booking fee and can be obtained here. Alternatively, if sleeping out isn’t your cup of tea, all donations to our night shelter fund are gratefully received via this website.
Before I go home tonight I begin preparations for helping on the Horsham Matters market stall on Thursday. The stall is a bi-weekly regular at the Saturday Horsham Market in the Carfax and run by some of our hard-working volunteers. This week we are also running a Thursday stall. Beautiful vintage items are sold on the market and we have a big crowd of regulars who drop by to see what we have brought to tempt them with this time. As well as helping out with sales I will be talking to people about Horsham Matters’ work and our upcoming Sleep Out.
Tomorrow will also be a busy day in Blatchford Road because in addition to our ongoing provision of support for people experiencing hardship, we will be open for donations from the public between 9.30am and 12 noon, and our group of warehouse volunteers will be out the back receiving donations and sorting them on our massive sorting table. Much like in Harry Potter, magic happens here!’
As part of our community programme, we are keen to feature other local charities and community organisations via our blog. If you would like to submit a guest blog, or if you know of another way in which we could support a group you are connected with, please contact Becky via email and she will be happy to help.
Tel: 01403 254590
If you have an urgent query, please call 01403 254590. This number is answered by one our staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is the quickest way to reach us.
Tel: 01403 785133
25 & 27 Brighton Road
Tel: 01293 540000
126 High Street
Tel: 01273 831497