Helping families in Portsmouth to build a brighter future

The Roberts Centre, which worked with more than 1000 families experiencing homelessness in Portsmouth in 2017-18, has received a £2,500 grant from Allchurches Trust to buy new tablets, enabling keyworkers to assist service users with looking for jobs and training opportunities.

Two new projectors will also mean that staff can deliver their ‘Made of Money’ and ‘Incredible Years’ baby and toddler courses at two sites.

Carole Damper, from the Roberts Centre, said: “We have always focused all of our available resources and donations on providing direct assistance to the people and families we support but we are in desperate need of new equipment.

“In 20 years, we have only bought three office chairs and all our office furniture for all our staff has been kindly supplied by Gunwharf Quays, The University of Portsmouth and local businesses. This funding from Allchurches Trust will enable our keyworkers to enhance the support they offer and help our clients to build a better future.”

The Roberts Centre began over 32 years ago because a small group of caring people in Portsmouth recognised the needs of the large number of homeless families in Portsmouth. They did not stop to ask if the people were to blame for being homeless, their first and abiding response was “what can we do to help” and concern for the children who were suffering from their families’ plight.

The charity’s commitment is to provide services with targeted interventions for families tackling complex issues which include debt, homelessness, parenting difficulties, co-parenting, managing money, lifestyle changes, mental health and learning difficulties and low educational attainment.

One Roberts Centre service user said: “It was a bit embarrassing at first having to admit I needed help but as I got to know my keyworker, I learned to trust him and it all worked well.”

Another said: “Supported Housing is great. They encourage you to do stuff for yourself. They were a great support for me because my mum passed away before my daughter was born. They even helped me with my daughter’s confidence levels.”

Allchurches Trust is one of the UK's largest grant-making charities and gave £16.9 million to churches, charities and communities in 2018. Its funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

Paul Playford, a grants officer with Allchurches Trust, said: “The Roberts Centre is fulfilling a very real need in Portsmouth, working in partnership with families to help them out of crisis, but also to find a way to a better future. We’re delighted to have been able to fund vital equipment for the centre’s keyworkers, which will enable them to step up the support they provide to service users.”

The Roberts Centre is always on the look-out for volunteers, who are vital to the services they provide, particularly the ‘Child Contact’ service. The centre provides three two-hour child contacts for up to eight families in each session.

Volunteers can also help out in the nursery and the Roberts Centre is particularly keen to hear from people who have teaching experience or can play a musical instrument. If you are interested, please contact hr@robertscentre.org.uk

You could also become one of the Roberts Centre’s Family Friends, providing bespoke gifts and the makings of a Christmas dinner to a family in need. To register your interest, please contact carole.damper@robertscentre.org.uk

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