Charity interests come together to help the homeless of Hertfordshire

There is a common misconception that homelessness is a problem associated only with the major metropolitan conurbations, but the sad fact is that many people including a large number of young and vulnerable adults across the shires often face a night without safe and secure accommodation.

Herts Young Homeless (hyh) is a charity founded with a mission to prevent homelessness in Hertfordshire by empowering individuals to make positive informed choices and to support young people and their families, those in crisis and individuals at risk of becoming homeless.

The charity helps over 2,000 vulnerable people a year across Hertfordshire who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, providing a range of services from education sessions in schools and family mediation through to helping young people in their first homes or supporting those with mental health needs.

hyh have also recently been chosen as one of 10 organisations to participate in the Building Effectiveness programme, an initiative developed by the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, the driving force for directing philanthropy and grant making to those most in need across the county, supported by this year’s High Sheriff, Will Hobhouse, and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The programme is designed to boost the local voluntary sector’s effectiveness through an innovative nine month tailored improvement and development programme.

hyh received a further boost today as it was presented with a cheque for £9,500 by Richard Rowlandson OBE, Chairman of the RO, an entrepreneurial family company based in Hertfordshire, and Will Hobhouse.  The money was raised at the RO’s 16th Annual Charity Quiz Night held at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar.

Steve White, Director at leading accountancy firm Grant Thornton, who is mentoring hyh as part of the Building Effectiveness programme and who nominated the charity to be the recipient of the proceeds of the Quiz said:

The Building Effectiveness programme is an excellent initiative that will help promote and develop charity within the county of Hertfordshire. I am delighted that Herts Young Homeless are one of the participating organisations and I look forward to offering whatever assistance I can in my role as a mentor.

Richard Rowlandson OBE, Chairman of the RO commented:

We have been running our annual quiz for 16 years now and in that time have raised in excess of £50,000 for various good causes.  We are proud to have added yet another record breaking year for our beneficiary, Herts Young Homeless, a very worthy recipient. I extend our grateful thanks to all those who participated in making the event such a success.

Alison Wildey, Community and Events Fundraiser, from hyh added:

The money raised will go towards funding our vital Nightstop service providing emergency, short-term accommodation for a young person in the home of an approved Herts Young Homeless volunteer.  Nightstop can provide a safety net at a time of great vulnerability to those forced to leave their home. The aim is to prevent young people from sleeping rough, "sofa surfing" or staying in unsuitable accommodation where they could be at risk.  The use of spare rooms in a positive environment makes a huge difference to young people in crisis.  At a cost of just £25 a night the scheme offers young people a safe, warm place to stay, a listening ear and ‘breathing space' to work through their options. It also gives Herts Young Homeless time to work with the young person, helping them access services such as mediation and other vital support.

Will Hobhouse, The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, was on hand to oversee the presentation of the cheque by the RO to hyh, commented:

Giving to your local community can be a hugely rewarding experience and as the RO Quiz Night shows, it can also be fun. However much you give, it is vital to make the right choices, to ensure that your money achieves maximum impact, in the areas that matter to you most. If it’s important to you not just to give, but to give effectively to those most in need, the Hertfordshire Community Foundation is there to help you in this regard.