In my first few months as HOMELINK Chair, I have been struck by the incredible level of support shown to us by the local community in and around Lewes. I’m constantly astonished by the wide range of groups that come forward offering to donate or raise money for us, from the congregation of St Mary’s Church Barcombe who recently donated £600, to the Inner Wheel ladies in Seaford and then in Lewes who chose us as their charity of the year, and the men’s Catholic group the Catenians who raised a large amount for us in 2022-23.
That’s in addition to the army of energetic volunteers who are always ready to roll up their sleeves to help make events like our recent Artwave exhibition and Open Garden day such a success. It’s clear that HOMELINK is very much rooted in the community here, and that connection is hugely important to us.
It’s thanks to your strong support that during 2022 we helped more than 120 people put a roof over their heads. Those who come to us are the hidden homeless – they might be living in a caravan like the people featured in our 2023 report, or crashing on their best friend’s sofa, or sleeping in a car.
Often, they are people who are working and can afford to pay rent, yet cannot find a tenancy because of the insurmountable barrier of paying a deposit and first month’s rent upfront. Often, they are people who have already been rejected by multiple agencies because they fall outside the criteria to qualify for help. That’s where HOMELINK steps in.
It doesn’t matter who needs our help – we look past people’s circumstances and treat every single person as a human being. Time and again, what our clients tell us is that alongside the practical support HOMELINK provides, the most important thing to them is the way they are treated by us: with kindness, compassion and dignity.
My best wishes,
Ros Kellaway, HOMELINK Chair