Stepping Stone Projects 40th Anniversary – A Time for Us to Reflect and Re-Commit to Ending Homelessness

Posted: 4 January 2024 11:37 am.

As Stepping Stone Projects (SSP) enters our 40th year of operating, we as Chair and Vice-Chair, along with our other Trustees, are proud of what we do and what we have achieved. Since we were formed in Rochdale in 1984 as a very small charity with just 2 properties, the charity has grown and now provides nearly 800 homes and offers support to c1,000 homeless and other vulnerable people and we are now operating across much of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and the North-West.

We also employ about 180 caring, committed and excellent colleagues, who live and breathe our PRIDE values each and every day and who are currently delivering 98% customer satisfaction with their services.

As trustees, we are currently reflecting on where we are now, what we want to achieve next and how we deliver this. We are all committed to continuing to give our own time and efforts freely to help SSP deliver our mission to prevent homelessness, support independence and transform lives for those who need it most.

However, whilst as a “business” we have grown and been very successful in so many ways, as a charity we are now re-committing SSP to help to deliver our founding purpose to end homelessness. Yet this probably seems further away than ever. The need and demand for our homes and support services seemingly gets ever greater as:

  • rough sleeping and homelessness continues to skyrocket across the UK and in our region,
  • the national housing crisis grows ever more acute as the amount of social housing available to let continues to reduce, house prices and private rented sector rents continue to increase and they are unaffordable for many households, especially those reliant on housing benefit (where local housing allowances have been repeatedly frozen),
  • the private rented sector emergency grows ever rents continue to rise well above the rate of inflation, property conditions are often very poor and where there is little security of tenure for many, with no fault evictions still rife, and;
  • certain groups, especially young people and other disadvantaged groups, face discrimination in the housing market and welfare systems

These continuing and mounting pressures on our failing housing system, coupled with the continuing growing need for accommodation and support services from other vulnerable people such as care leavers and other young people at risk, survivors of abuse and exploitation, ex-offenders, those with mental health issues and complex needs, new refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children means we still have an awful long way to go to realise our vision.

We at SSP now have a huge amount to offer with our excellent understanding, expertise and experience of homelessness. We know and firmly believe that by everyone committing and working together in national and local Government, registered housing providers and private landlords, charities and the third/voluntary sector, funders and lenders and private business we can and will end homelessness, and as our future King has pledged sooner rather than later.

We are determined Stepping Stone Projects will play our full part and do all we can to help ensure that we prevent homelessness, support independence and transform lives.

Kind Regards

Sue Ashby (SSP Chair) &

Nic Cox (SSP Vice-Chair)

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