Celebrity visit to hostel's 10-year anniversary
Published by Porchlight for Porchlight in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
Fern Court Manager Bev Russell (centre) with her team.
A supported accommodation project in Dover run by homelessness charity Porchlight has celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Fern Court is home to 12 adults and is staffed 24 hours a day by a team of professional support and resettlement workers. Originally owned by the YMCA, the building was converted into 10 flats in 2003 to help the homeless turn their lives around.
Bev Russell manages the project, “I am so proud of the team here. The work they do really is helping people to change their lives. On average people stay at Fern Court for a year; they come to us with high support needs and almost half leave to go to their own private accommodation. That’s what Porchlight is all about - supporting people to get back into society and live independently.”
The celebration brought together neighbours, partner agencies, charity staff, residents and key local figures including Clair Hawkins the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Dover & Deal.
Charity ambassador and former drummer with 70’s punk rock band The Clash, Nick ‘Topper’ Headon, also made an appearance to show his support. Nick said: “Having been homeless myself I have huge respect for the work that Porchlight does in the local community. Places like Fern Court are vital to helping people back on their feet. If people had to stay on the street they would never move forward with their life or beat addictions.”
Current resident Carrie, 33, explained how the charity has helped her, “I came to Fern Court back in July. I was sofa surfing, struggling with drug addiction and self-harming. The staff here have been brilliant and the support means that I have now beat heroin, stopped harming myself and gained access to my two children.”
Carrie has recently become a house rep helping other residents with their issues, “It’s changed my whole life,” she explained, “Without Porchlight I would still be on drugs and probably in prison. The charity has turned it all around for me in such a short space of time. I can’t thank them enough.”