Anybody Everybody Tottenham

Loneliness, Respite and Second Chances - Grace, All People All Places

September 21, 2023 Jamila Season 3 Episode 44
Anybody Everybody Tottenham
Loneliness, Respite and Second Chances - Grace, All People All Places
Show Notes Transcript

Putting the spotlight on another great organisation active in our area - All People All Places, a charity set up to tackle homelessness and preventing homelessness in Haringey and later Enfield. Such an important topic at the moment. I talk to Grace about the history of the organisation, the challenges and successes especially over recent years and how you can get involved as volunteers.

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Article on Hunger March:

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Jamila  0:10  
Hi I'm Jamila and anybody everybody Tottenham is a bimonthly podcast, introducing the good people of Tottenham to you. Hello, everyone. Before we start with the podcast, a slightly different introduction because it's a bit timely. We are currently in the Right to Food Week. And it culminates with some marches that are happening on Saturday. There are three marches happening one in Belfast, one in Liverpool, and one in London - in Tottenham. So in London in Tottenham, the march is happening from noon, Tottenham Hotspurs, then marching towards Tottenham green. And then from 2pm onwards, there are workshops and other activities there. So this Saturday, the 23rd of September, right to food March, and I will link an article about it in the show notes. In today's conversation, I'm talking to Grace about a related topic. And we will actually talk about hunger as well. I'll let her introduce the project. Okay. So I hope you enjoy it. So today on the pod. I've got grace from all people or places or APAP, thank you very much for joining me today. 

Grace  1:30  
Thank you very much for having me. 

Jamila  1:31  
So APAP, their registered address is in Hornsey, and they're on the edges of Tottenham and Edmonton. So they're serving both Haringey and, Enfield. Can you tell us a little bit about the organization because I haven't said what it is about yet and how it came about, et cetera.

Grace  1:50  
So yeah, that charity is called all people all places or APAP as we are, like commonly known because all people all places is quite a mouthful, but apap, basically, the charity started in 2010, because it was like a local response to homelessness basically. So the charity supports people in Haringey and Enfield, and in 2010, local communities, which tended to be churches, then it was about 16 churches and maybe one synagogue, they noticed that there was a lot of homelessness in the area, on their doorstep and they wanted to do something about it. So they basically started roving night shelters, winter night shelters, which basically provided emergency accommodation for rough sleepers, people experiencing homelessness,

Jamila  2:38  
when you say roving night shelters - is it that one day of the week, it's in one church and then somewhere else?

Grace  2:44  
Exactly, yes. So it's not ideal. It's an emergency response. It doesn't obviously solve the problem. But it does provide people with a, like a stay every night and it provides them with warmth, and they get food. And then apap was created to be the charity, the service that provided casework for those clients. So they would provide advice and advocacy. So there would be a caseworker that would work with those, with the people that were you know, staying in these churches. So yeah, as you said, so say for example, on a Monday night, maybe someone would sleep in a church in Tottenham, then on a Tuesday they might sleep in a church in Muswell Hill. That's sort of how it came about. And those have been happening every single year in Haringey, and then from 2014, in Enfield, until recently, to be honest, until probably the pandemic when stuff like that just couldn't continue anymore because well, for obvious reasons, you know, people were staying in one place and moving about it just it's not - it's not sustainable. So that's sort of how it started apap Yeah.

Jamila  3:47  
And so are you still offering emergency accommodation or you moved away from that?

Grace  3:54  
So we've moved away from roving night shelters that happened for a long time but there was always the you know, it was always clear that it was not a sustainable like response to homelessness because you know, people are moving every single day or sleeping somewhere different every single night, you know, they have to leave in the daytime and then come back in the nighttime and they have to move around and it's just - it's not ideal for people and it doesn't really get to the bottom of people's homelessness. So for many years, you know they wanted to change that but obviously, you know, with charities you need funding and you need people who like to do the casework. So then APAP got funding through Haringey they worked closely with Haringey Council, and there was some funding for a sort of like static day shelter - it was for emergency accommodation again, but it was static and I think it accommodates 24 People that was in Muswell Hill called cramwood and it was it was an amazing project. And again, though it was still people, I think people could come from 7pm, it was sort of dormitory style accommodation People would come from 7pm. And then they would leave at 8am. And there was caseworkers there, you know, providing advice, advocacy. And it was the first sort of place in Haringey, which supported people that - so a lot of people experiencing homelessness, there's sort of two cohorts, and the group that we tend to support are people that are no recourse to public funds. And for people that don't know what that means, it basically just means people that don't have access to public funds, because they are subject to immigration controls. And Brexit was a huge sort of issue with that, because people suddenly, you know, didn't have the rights that they once had. So it provided support for that group of people. And yeah, it was amazing. And then march 2020, obviously, the pandemic hit, which impacted that a lot, because obviously, it was dormitory style accommodation. And people weren't allowed to stay there. You know, people were out in the streets still in the daytime,

Jamila  5:58  
but didn't during   the pandemic, for the first time, the government, house all the unhoused people in hotel rooms? Isn't that something that happened?

Grace  6:07  
So there was like a thing called "everyone in" which meant, you know, obviously, people couldn't be on the street. So that project at that time, Graham would very quickly within a matter of weeks, I think, created self contained rooms for those people. So it wasn't dormitory style anymore. People were in individual rooms, and people could stay there 24/7. So no one had to leave in the morning, people could stay there the whole time to try and keep everyone in. That's the government phrase I think. So. You know, that was incredible. And you have, we have to say, you know, props to the frontline workers that were there, you know, supporting people the whole time, very quickly changed the project to be able to support that. So and then again, yeah, lots of people did go into hotels. So shelters, we've also done this, as well , we have funding for winter night accommodation, but maybe not necessarily the space or the accommodation, or, you know, the properties for people to go in. And we would place people into hotels. And that was obviously something that happened over COVID as well, just because it meant it was much more safe than having big spaces of dormitory style beds.

Jamila  7:21  
Can I ask about the kind of numbers we're talking that you've seen over the years, and that you dealt with how many people are we talking that in the past you had and you're trying to either advise or accommodate? And how many is it in at the moment? And do you see trends?

Grace  7:39  
Yeah, so I guess it varies at the moment. So those projects historically tended to be a bit larger with so the cramwood was I think it was about 24 people at that time, at the moment. So we are our main project at the moment is our day center, because the government sort of with homelessness, now their focus is more on reducing homelessness, preventing homelessness, rather than providing like emergency accommodation. And so the way that we're trying to do that is within our day center. So that's sort of one group of people that we support, which is increasing massively, as you're probably aware, the housing crisis is just, it's insane. So we're seeing a lot more people that are going, you know, are being evicted, or are just in really precarious housing situations, in temporary accommodation, in emergency accommodation, and are very fearful. And then on the other side of that we have a rough sleeper cohort who are people that are actually rough sleeping. Normally in the winter night shelter so we have six beds, and that's for our clients who we're trying, we want to prevent them from rough sleeping, and they tend to be also people without recourse. And then within that process of them being in our winternight shelter, we will do extensive case work to try and overcome, you know, if they don't have recourse we work closely with immigration solicitors to try and fix their immigration status, which means they're then able to get what's so with the six beds, it depends on how quickly we can casework people, some people will stay in the beds for the whole of the winter. If it's very complex, because obviously people have very complex needs. It's not just the homelessness. And then some people we can overcome it quite quickly and then we can give that bed space to someone else. So it varies but yeah, six beds.

Jamila  9:25  
That's not enough for Haringey and Enfield is it?

Grace  9:32  
So we are really one of the only charities in the local area that are providing support like local support to people that are experiencing homelessness. We work quite closely with both Haringey and Enfield Council, you know, we're always trying to get more funding for bed spaces and things like that. But yeah, as I said, our focus is on the day center at the moment and to provide a space for people. So we're open three days a week. We open at 8 am and we close at 2pm. And we're just providing a space really for people to come - some respite. And in there we have caseworkers who, you know, provide advice, advocacy around homelessness and housing, people can come and get food, we have a shower, people can use washing facilities. So it's a really amazing space for people to come. And it's a hub sort of a bit of a hub as well with like, multi agency working, where people can have direct, you know, correspondence with the council, and people can access support for the immigration, as I said, people can access support for substance misuse.

Jamila  10:41  
So when you first started to work for the charity, and meeting unhoused people, what were your surprises? Like? Was it different to who you thought what kind of people would be homeless? Or what did you notice?

Grace  10:56  
I guess there's a lot of myths around homelessness. And I think there's a lot of people probably think the types of people that are homeless, maybe some of them are, and maybe some of them aren't, you know, I think the thing that I've found the most shocking is probably is people that are rough sleeping, and how much of a toll that has on your body physically and your mental state. And I think homelessness is quite hidden. I think a lot of people maybe think, or if you can't see someone sleeping on the streets, maybe it's not there. But it is. And I think, you know, there's a lot of people that are sofa surfing, there's a lot of people that are not in permanent accommodation, and in really precarious situations where they're not sure whether they will, whether they'll be evicted at any point, or whether they will not be able to afford their rent and things like that. So I guess it's the like, vast like how huge it is. It's like, it's not just people that sleeping on the streets, it's like people that are struggling to pay their rent, and could be homeless next month, and things like that. So I guess it's just seeing that it could be you or I or our parents or people like that, you know, especially now in this housing crisis, if people don't own properties of people who are in privately rented, you know, it's just the fear of how your rent could be increased like that. Or you could be given a section 21 

Jamila  12:13  
And do you have links to other charities, like shelter and things like that?

Grace  12:19  
not like hugely, because we are so local, a lot of homelessness is very borough specific. So you know, a lot of people can't go to their, to the council unless they have a local connection to that council. So obviously, that means you know, if that if it's where you're from, you know, if you've, if you were born in that area, or you grew up in that area, went to school in that area worked in that area. And so a lot of other homeless charities are either also borough specific, or they are a bit more, you know, like Central, and therefore, people that are attending to come to our charity tend to be local, so they tend to have a connection to Haringey or Enfield. And so it wouldn't necessarily benefit us hugely to refer people elsewhere, because they probably wouldn't be able to get the support that they would in their local area. We are just we're quite small charity as well. So we have connections to obviously local areas. So I don't know if you've heard of mulberry junction but they are a homeless charity in Tottenham 

Jamila  12:19  
They are from the Council aren't  they? 

Grace  13:16  
They are a day center like ours. But yeah, it's more connected to the council. And they obviously have you know, washing facilities, shower and casework similar to us, we're a charity and they're more Council based, but we work closely with them and we have shared clients

Jamila  13:38  
Have you had like maybe a little success story from someone who used to attend and turned things around maybe comes back as a volunteer - something like that? 

Grace  13:48  
So we have had a lot of positive outcomes actually within our service you know, with our shelter as well for example, so someone will turn up to our service and this has happened for a few people turn up to our service maybe rough sleeping and without the correct immigration status because of Brexit for example. And then we'll go into our shelter will work closely with immigration solicitors will then be able to, you know, get back - you know, a lot of people if they're rough sleeping, things get stolen, they lose important identification which we probably take for granted you know, having like passport, driving license all those types of things which make accessing things really easy, without it it is difficult. So, you know, getting people back identity documents, getting people status, and then you know, throughout that period are then able to go into to find privately rented accommodation. And then alongside that, you know, connected, do referrals for floating support. So you know a lot of people that move into accommodation, maybe don't have the skill set or the experience of being able to sustain tenancies - that's also a really important part of it, you know, it's all well and good, you know getting people out of homelessness and in properties but if people can't sustain those, then the cycle continues, you know, getting people floating support to continue that support for a while until people are able to get back on their feet a little bit. So that has happened with our clients. Yeah, for sure. And also, not just that, but the other side of things where people have been, you know, maybe in precarious housing situations, and we've advocated for them to be moved to, to a property that is more suitable for their needs, or for their child's needs, for example, all of that sort of stuff we do. And we have, and we have done. And so what's great about our being a local small charity is we see, you know, you really see those people and you see their lives change, and, you know, we bump into them in the streets. And it's, it's amazing.

Jamila  15:46  
Have you got some future plans, some projects that you're hoping to expand or start?

Grace  15:51  
Yeah, so  this year is sort of been really trying to get funding for different, you know, just to sort of keep us going, because that's the, that's the most important thing, I think having a bit of security with small charities is really important. So we applied for delup the department for leveling up funding. And we were really fortunate to be able to get funding for three years. So we have funding now till the end of 2025, which is incredible. And it gives us a lot of security, it gives staff security. And, you know, it means that people in the local area know that our day center will be there for two years, which is great. And then we also so at the moment, we're in our day center, whereby there's other local groups working from there, which is really great, because it means that we can connect. But I think what we would really like is to have our own building and our own space. So we are in the process of finding that space, and getting funding to develop it so we can have our own day center. That's just for us. We can develop it and we can, you know, have much more provision for people, potentially even beds. So yeah, we have got things on the horizon, which are all obviously funding dependent, but it's looking good for us,

Jamila  17:05  
Are there certain groups of people, because I imagine is it more men who are homeless? Because also, the other thing I was gonna ask was that you were running a women's shelter for a while in crouch end. But was that just a short term project? Or?

Grace  17:22  
Yes, so that was the annex. That's what we called it, it was the annex, it was the annex that was connected to the Holy Innocents Church, which is in Crouch End it was an amazing project. So it was really really great. And it was women only six beds, I think it ran for about a year, clients came, we had like a sort of 28 Days stay. And within that there would be there was a woman caseworker who would, you know, provide intensive casework with those clients to try and create a move on plan for them, whether that be into other accommodation, or maybe into another service. And but it was really nice, because it was like, only six beds, and it had like a kitchen. And their rooms were all like sort of staggered around and it had a nice community feel like every night, people would cook for each other. It was very volunteer run as well, you know, amazing volunteers that would come, they would do sort of like time slots like early evening, and then we would always have a volunteer who would sleep there. And they would help with cooking and play games and things like that. And yeah, you're right. It's not, it's not necessarily that there's more men experiencing homelessness, but it tends to be men, more men rough sleeping, and more men that are obviously because it's much more dangerous. The risks are different for women rough sleeping than they are for men. And I think women will do will try and find any other option than to rough sleep because of that. And that might mean you know, staying in dangerous situations, in dangerous housing situations, staying in maybe dangerous relationships, sofa surfing, doing things that maybe is a bit more hidden homelessness, but it's obviously there. But yeah, in our day center is predominantly, the rough sleeping side of it is predominantly males. And then the other cohort of group that is that is like vulnerably housed is very mixed, you know, a lot of women as well, families. But yeah, this sort of rough sleeping homelessness is what is more men from our, from what I see anyway.

What about ages?

It tends to be older, like I would say our client group is probably mostly males, between like 30 to 50 but again, that's there's also like there's specific charities for young people. I would think that if there was and we do have younger people don't get me wrong, but I would tend to refer to like young person specific charities or organizations because there is specific help for that, for that type of group of people.

Jamila  19:55  
I think you are always looking for volunteers I've seen on Instagram and on your website as well, there you were looking for trustees as well. It looks like every charity is looking for trustees. How can people get involved if they want to support you?

Grace  20:11  
Yeah, obviously, we love people getting involved, follow us on Instagram, check out our website as well. And you can see what we're up to. I also try to do a newsletter, so I shouldn't be doing one soon. So obviously, if you want to subscribe to that, just let me know you can email or you can just drop a message on Instagram. We're in the process actually, of working with a company to sort of create packs that we can give out to organizations and people and groups of fundraising ideas. Because sometimes, you know, people want to support their local, like organizations, but don't know how or what to do, you know, to think of ideas. So this pack will be created soon and it will sort of, you know, it will give people ideas of like, small things they can do, slightly bigger, and then like large, large things that they can do to fundraise for us. But yeah, as you said, volunteers as well, we are always looking for volunteers,

Jamila  21:06  
what would they be doing the volunteers?

Grace  21:09  
Yeah, so we, at the moment, one of our amazing volunteers is leaving, unfortunately, but he's been incredible and making sandwiches, doing foods, maybe like hot food once a week for people sort of like kitchen volunteers are always really useful to keep on top of the day center and to provide food because there's lots of people coming in constantly getting food and having tea and coffee and things like that. So sort of that sort of kitchen side of things is really useful. And then someone to manage. So if people do donate clothes and things like that, someone to manage that and to think, okay, well what do we need at the moment, if it's winter, do we need like coats, so we need sleeping bags, and be able to sort of manage that and reach out to people and say, "this is what we need", and organize it, give it out to people sort our care packages out - things like that. And then with the showers, our facilities our showers and our washing machines, sort of manage that as well. You know, if people need to do washing, do that for them, hang it up, like create lists, you know, who's next for their washing and things like that. So sort of yeah, and again, just you know, coming and seeing what we're all about and just supporting their local local charities is really useful because you know, people live in the area. 

Jamila  22:27  
So have you noticed that more people are coming for food because I see a lot of food banks springing up all over Tottenham and, but I know that some like the Selby center, they said that they stopped supporting certain charities and they seem to be running out of food. Have you noticed things?

Grace  22:27  
I do, we have noticed a rise in people coming for Food Bank vouchers, we provide food bank vouchers. So we can create those for Haringey and Enfield. So we, you know, I provide my clients with vouchers to go to Tottenham, and to go to Enfield.

Jamila  23:04  
I think one of the issues is - I'm interested in the idea of third spaces, you know, it's been around social media a little bit, like, where can people actually meet, without having to pay something,

Grace  23:17  
Something free to do, you're right. Everything is so expensive. And you know, like 12 years of austerity is showing like, community spaces, communal spaces for people to go, for elderly people, for homeless people, for young people, free spaces is just, there's just not many of them anymore. And that really shows like loneliness and isolation. You know, I notice with a lot of my clients, it's not just their homelessness, it's that they're really, really lonely. And I think our day center is a space for people to come and like, even just have a chat, you know, yeah, we're providing casework. But we're also just giving people the time of day because of organizations like Citizens Advice, for example, like they do incredible work, they are so inundated, you know, it's impossible to get appointments, and it's not their fault, it's just, you know, they're busy, and they're actually a charity. And I think we - so people can drop in to our service and see someone and book an appointment. And that is so valuable, you know, like, people need to be able to see someone and speak to someone like for that person, their issue is their most important thing for them at that time, and to just maybe calm and like, share that load a little bit and like, bring a piece of paperwork that they maybe don't necessarily understand or they can't advocate for themselves or they don't have printers, you know, just all of those issues. They don't have data on their phone, or they don't have credit on their phone, you know, just being able to, for us to call someone for them or like, do those things. It's really important for people and their emotional well being. And like you said before, you know, with a lot of people that are experiencing homelessness, like a lot of our male clients that are it's not just the homelessness that they're experiencing, right? Obviously, they are going to have mental health problems. Either their homelessness is because of that or the other way around, you know that it's unlikely that you will meet someone that is homeless that does not have some sort of mental health problem, because it's awful. And so that's really interconnected. And then sometimes substance misuse is interconnected. And then it's just really complex. And you have to do multi agency work. And you have to gain that trust with people, many people don't have trust in the system, many people don't have trust, because of the situation that they're in, right? Lots of people have gone through trauma. So it's really important that there's spaces where people are able to recognize that and work with people to do that. And it's difficult, you know, everywhere is stretched, we're stretched, you know, NHS is stretched - everywhere is stretched. And people are really understaffed, and it's really difficult work. But it's really, really important.

Jamila  25:53  
Did we talk about that you started to offer hot food, that I noticed that that you ...

Grace  25:58  
We did provide hot foods one day a week, a Wednesday throughout the winter months. And it was really successful, we sort of pulled that in for summer, just because hot food was needed a little bit less. And again, it's important that we can provide casework. And I think those days got quite busy with food. So I think going forward, we need to, we're thinking about whether we just have one afternoon, as you know, we start with casework and that's a place for people to come and get some hot food. But again, it's about - we can't necessarily do it ourselves. Because we just don't have the capacity. So it's about being able to maybe partner up with with an organization or group of people who are reliable, and can come and sort of do it off their own accord really, and sort of provide some hot food once a week, because that is a really great thing that we provide. And so you know, the winter months are coming. It's something that we we need to start thinking about. If people are interested, then obviously, yeah, let me know

Jamila  26:55  
what I was gonna say as well, probably your fundraising and the focus on homelessness comes over winter, isn't it? But with the climate change - I mean, what we've just experienced with the heatwave must be horrendous as a homeless person as well. You know, you've got all your stuff with you, you probably wear several layers to keep things with you. And then you have the heat

Grace  27:18  
I think that's the other - so we are applying for funding to not just have our beds for the winter to have all year round beds. Because yeah, like you said, you know, it's not, it doesn't solve anything, just giving someone a bed for three months of the year when it's really, really cold. It's obviously it's amazing, and it provides some respite. But it's important that provision is there all year round. And like you're right, recently, you know, what was it like, almost 40 degrees. And that's just as dangerous and just as awful for people as being in like, minus 10. So I think yeah, provision all year around is really important. And it's something that we're trying to move towards for sure. And also with that, you know, if you're doing case work with people, and they're in beds for three months, because of how complex some people's needs are, and sometimes it's not a quick fix to solve it or move people on, having a way around, you know, it gives also caseworkers time to work with people. It's better I believe it's better to really support a few people than you know, have a huge bed spaces where people are coming and going and going in and not maybe getting to the root cause or like being able to successfully move people on. So I think that's our aim really is to like closely work with people throughout the year to try and figure out if we can break the cycle of them going back to the streets.

Jamila  28:41  
Okay, then. Have you thought about some top tips, Grace?

Grace  28:45  
Well, yeah, I don't think mine will be that innovative, because you've had lots of people come on and talk about Tottenham. One of my favorite things about Tottenham is the marshes, I just think they're incredible. They're amazing to walk around. And I think just after the pandemic as well, when there was like, not much was open, and people were like, really wanting green spaces is such a nice space to go and you can ride your bike there and there's the canal. So obviously, that's somewhere that I love. I think just green spaces in general. There's quite a few parks that you just mentioned Downhills Park, Bruce Grove, which is really great for people in London, obviously just a bit of respite from the hustle and bustle. I was going to mention Mulberry junction but I already have because obviously they are a local homeless charity doing amazing work, I think on the high road Tottenham High road. And then my partner, he's actually a chef, and I've not been here but he has highly recommended I think it's called pasero 

Jamila  29:38  
on West Green Road.

Grace  29:41  
Yeah, West Green Road. Yeah. They have different residents chefs come in and cook. So I've heard that's really good. So yeah, I would recommend people go there.

Jamila  29:51  
He went without you. 

Grace  29:53  
I know. I was fuming. Yeah, 

Jamila  29:58  
thank you very much for this interview

Grace  30:00  
thank you so much for having me.

Jamila  30:04  
So in the shownotes, I will link in their Instagram and their website. I will also sign up to the newsletter. I have to say I'm quite tempted as well to do some volunteering in some capacity. Remember as well, there was this wish for somebody to do hot food. I don't know - if you have any idea what collaboration that could be. If there is something out there that could work so maybe get in touch as well. So I hope you feel inspired. I can see some link ups in Haringey with London renters union with Haringey welcome. And I'm always about bringing people together. So let's make this work. And remember, we've got the hunger march on Saturday. Okay, and I hope you're all well. Let's speak to you soon. Bye. I hope you enjoyed today's episode, learned something new. And let that Tottenham love grow. Take care. And until next time, bye

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