The UK ‘From Street-to-Home’ Country Seminar was held on Wednesday 14th May at the Midland Heart offices in Birmingham UK. The event was designed to present project progress to date, in particular the findings of the Midland Heart/Anawin evaluation. Click here to download the ‘Breaking the Cycle’ Summary report.
The event featured a range of speakers including project coordinator Morag MacDonald, who provided project background information to an invited audience comprising representatives from a range of housing and social care professions. Guest speaker was Vicky Pryce who generously agreed to deliver a keynote address in her capacity as the author of ‘Prisonomics’ and patron of Working Chance, a charity that finds quality jobs for ex-offenders. Vicky drew on her own experiences of imprisonment, which raised her awareness of the unfairness and inefficiency of the system and also the stigma surrounding offenders that can prevent them from gaining work on release and ultimately risk driving them back to offending. Vicky also recounted how she felt luckier than many of the women she met in prison as many did not have a home to return to and risked becoming homeless as a result.
After Vicky’s address, Joy Doal and Gail Walters gave a joint presentation relating to the genesis of the partnership between Anawim and Midland Heart and how they saw their initiative progressing to benefit women in need of safe and secure housing with accompanying social support. This was followed by a further joint presentation from Stephen Russell and Katherine Haynes from Midland Heart, who presented findings from the Cost Benefit Analysis conducted as part of the evaluation of the partnership. Stephen and Katherine demonstrated how the housing provision provided by Midland Heart together with the social support provided by Anawim can have a positive effect both in terms of social and economic value.
The event concluded with an opportunity for questions from the audience and networking. This proved to be a lively session with the majority of delegates eager to find out more about the project and forge collaborative links.