An invaluable drop-in centre for the homeless and vulnerable is celebrating its 30th birthday.
Founded in 1985, the Barons Court Project offers a range of practical services, including showers and a laundry, a clothing bank, phone-charging facilities, a safe postal address and hot meals. There is also a programme of activities, including a popular breakfast club.
The centre is supported by H&F council, the NHS and charitable trusts.
It has helped thousands over the years. For example, Tony Hilton, 54, was suffering from drug addiction, mental health issues and social isolation before he was referred to the project by the rehabilitation charity Druglink. He took a computer course as part of a life-skills programme which he credits with making a real difference to his life.
Tony says: “Before I started the computer class I was frightened to use a PC and thought I would make mistakes, but now I am now confident in using technology. I am on Facebook and able to keep in contact with my family via Skype as they live abroad. This means I am able to see my sister, the first time
I burst into tears, but I am now connected to them and am very happy.”
For the last two months, volunteer Henry Breslin, 23, from Hammersmith, has volunteered his time for the project where he helps with computer classes and teaching IT skills.
He said: “I really enjoy being part of the friendly team that make a difference to so many lives.
“I enjoy meeting with service users, as I get on with people and like hearing their stories and helping them.”
For those needing a more personalised service, the project also offers one-to-one sessions providing help and guidance on any issues residents may be facing, from trying to find housing to problems with their health.
Sue Fennimore, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion at H&F, said “The Barons Court Project has a lot to celebrate. It is a shining example of the vibrant voluntary sector in our borough that we are delighted to support. It reaches many lives that the council or Government would struggle to contact and help, and I am deeply proud that it is based here in H&F.”
To find out more about the project, visit www.baronscourtproject.org.