We started life in a building in Whitechapel, hence the name. The day centre provided meals and washing facilities for the homeless population. It was usual to have more than 100 people in the centre every day. We were meeting their immediate needs but it soon became clear that we could provide more support to help people get back into society.
We started providing daily workshops and training sessions. In the mid 80’s we introduced the Moving On scheme, the forerunner to our current Resettlement Service. This scheme involved assessing individual client needs, preparing for the move into new accommodation and supporting the move itself. We developed partnerships with local housing providers and focused on individual packages of support. In the late 1980’s we employed an outreach worker to engage with the entrenched rough sleepers.
In 1990 our original home was no longer suitable and we were offered the use of an old school in Langsdale Street. We have remained there ever since and we also have additional offices nearby.
During the 1990s we developed the innovative GAPS project, which worked to prevent homelessness amongst vulnerable young people. This was one of the first floating support services in the country; a real trail blazer for Liverpool. We also improved access to health services for all our clients, developing relationships with GPs and the PCT. We recognised that fixed term support packages weren’t always appropriate so developed a pilot project of floating support. Our teams became even more specialised, some dealing with substance misuse and others with mental health issues.
And in the 2000s we focused on improving access to employment, education and training. We developed a volunteer programme for our clients, providing work experience within the centre and with local employers.
In 2010 we changed our main building into an Enablement Centre. It went from being a large room, with the kitchen as the focal point, to a multi-functional space, with a reception area, smaller meeting rooms to provide privacy and training rooms.