Off the Fence
A talk from Wendy Young about working with the Homeless people of Brighton
It was a pleasure to meet and hear from Wendy Young from Off the Fence. Wendy gave us an informative and passionate talk on how Off the Fence help homeless people to get back on their feet.
Wendy and her Husband Paul wanted to do something but didn’t know what that something was. In the early 1990’s they started working with homeless one day a week talking to young people on the street, helping to meet their needs with drinks sandwiches and second hand sleeping bags. Homelessness was a big problem even then. They advertised for volunteers to help over the Christmas period and over 40 people came forward.
Homeless people are not statistics, they are very complex people. Not having a home is the biggest problem. At the centre they are treated as individuals and given practical and emotional support. The centre aims to empower people to enable them to move forward.
Off the Fence have been a charity for 20 years. AntiFreeze project 3 years before that.
They also have Schools and Youth Team – lunchtime clubs, mentoring, prayer spaces, reflective spaces – enabling young people to get in touch with their emotions and process them. Cardinal Newman – Safe space for students to come and unwind.
Wendy also started Gateway Women’s Centre 2010 after working with women in a hostel.
Whilst they have received a huge response to appeals for clothing and supplies over Christmas, we were reminded that homelessness is not just there at Christmas – it is all year round. Wendy encouraged us to continue to support all year.
We were able to donate £250 to Off the Fence Antifreeze Project from money raised from raffles at our Christmas Lunch and on the evening.