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The Dean of Westminster visits The Passage, to announce support of our No Night Out scheme

Westminster Abbey has made a donation to The Passage, to support our homelessness prevention scheme: No Night Out.

The donation has been made possible thanks to the Abbey’s recovering visitor numbers following the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing it to more substantially support us as one of its longest-standing charity partners.

The No Night Out scheme was developed following the pandemic when we identified an effective working model – moving people into emergency accommodation, during the ‘Everyone In’ initiative. For those who are at risk of spending their first night on the streets, The Passage offers temporary accommodation whilst our Resettlement Teams work to provide tailored, one-to-one support to move them into safe and sustainable housing.

No Night Out has proven to be highly successful since launching in 2022, with 196 people prevented from spending their first night out on the streets. Of that number, 13 people needed further intervention to stay in accommodation, only 5 of which remain on the street.

With official figures revealing that 4,118 people slept rough on the streets of London recently, and over 2,000 individuals doing so for the very first time, the funding from Westminster Abbey has come at a crucial time.

The Passage is working closely with the Mayor of London’s office, local authorities, and charitable organisations to encourage others to adopt the No Night Out approach. Outcomes and learnings from the project will also be shared with Prince William and the Royal Foundation’s Homewards programme – to which we are a sector partner – with training and advice provided to each of the Homewards locations across the UK.  

Visiting The Passage’s Resource Centre, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said: ‘It is a privilege to be able to support the focussed and dedicated work that is done by The Passage. Homelessness plunges too many people into crisis and anxiety too often. Here is a project that will make the difference that is needed’.

Westminster Abbey is committed to an active programme of social engagement, working with marginalised communities locally, nationally and internationally.

We are tremendously grateful to the Abbey for their commitment to The Passage. Their staff have volunteered at our Resource Centre, and our service users are regularly welcomed on visits to the Abbey. Our summer Garden Party and carol service are also held at the Abbey each year.

My name is Jenny Travassos and I joined The Passage in early January. I started working in the sector in 2004 as a volunteer for homelessness charity Broadway, going on to hold various frontline and management roles. In 2014 I joined Westminster City Council where I became Head of Rough Sleeping. During my time with the council, I made substantial changes to enable more specialist accommodation services, developed high level partnerships with health colleagues and introduced two strategies.

I joined The Passage because it is an organisation that is led by its values while also having a strong voice for change; whether that be with central and local government or with our partners across the sector and beyond.

Over the last few months, I’ve spent time listening and learning from colleagues and the people who use our services. The overwhelming message is that we have an opportunity to reflect on what we have learned from working throughout the pandemic and the remarkable outcomes achieved by our teams.

We also have a golden opportunity to review each element of our work to ensure that we do not lose the momentum achieved with the ‘Everyone In’ initiative, which has seen the numbers of people on the streets reduce significantly.

Looking ahead, one of my priorities is further developing our services to meet the future needs of individuals who we are likely to see. For example, rolling out additional preventative services to help stop people from ending up on the streets in the first place. I am also reviewing our employment programmes to ensure that we can respond quickly and help people who have fallen out of work during the pandemic. We will be working closely with our corporate partners and business leaders to increase the number of training and work opportunities available to our clients.

In the coming months, we plan to share more information about the outcomes we achieve, enabling our supporters to better understand the impact of our work. One particular outcome has stood out for me so far; in the past 9 months, we have supported 95 people into longterm sustainable accommodation!

No one organisation can solve homelessness on its own, so I will also be focusing on developing partnerships that build on the great work we do. Our voice and our services will be needed more than ever in the months and years ahead; The Passage has a key role to play in shaping and influencing the policies that affect our work and representing the voices of those who use our services. I look forward to sharing more about these important developments with you.