Today saw an interesting visit by the Community Matters Partnership to the new Step by Step building in Aldershot. Step by Step is a charity providing support in Rushmoor for young people facing homelessness and adversity. They support around 850 young people each year, helping them move from simply surviving to thriving. With just £250k turnover per year, they have a 75% success rate for the young people they support.
The support they provide ranges from the most basic - a safe place to get a shower - through to providing support to make a fundamental change to young vulnerable peoples lives, by providing accommodation co-located with training, health, counselling and drug and alcohol services.
As I mentioned earlier, Step By Step has recently opened a new building near Aldershot Town Football Club. To me the space they have opened is a massive achievement - for the first time in many years - it brings the organisation's staff together with the client accommodation. The building is fantastic, providing great facilities with a modern feel (very much like my student accommodation in Swansea a few years ago). It also had some good environmental credentials - avoiding the use of Air Con favouring fresh air ventilation.
We also had the opportunity to meet one of Step by Step's client's, lets call him A. A had difficult home life, having issues with his Mum's new partner. After leaving home he spent some time sofa surfing with friends, but when that was no longer possible he was signposted to Step by Step. Rather than ending up on the street, Step by Step provides a safe place for him live and rebuild his life. A was like any of the 17 or 18 year old kids that I've met, he holds down two part time jobs which he travels around 5 miles for. He plans on returning to education in September and to head to University in a couple of years. A had a difficult story, but aspiration and a wish for a better future.
That Step by Step provides A with a safe, clean place to better his life, for a fraction of the cost involved in youth justice, health and social care should he have fallen through the net is justification enough of the value of the work they do. Quite apart from the moral imperative we all have to help our fellow man. This is a great story of a job well done by a charity facing a difficult economic climate, where they struggle to raise funds to cover the running costs of all their programmes.
The fundamental purpose of Community Matters is for companies to work together to make a real difference to our community. Collaborative Corporate Social Responsibility is a way for us to demonstrate that we can achieve more together than we can individually.
So given that Tracy, myself and the guys from FlightSafety International know so much more about Step by Step, what can we do? From my point of view there are plenty of opportunities for Orcare to volunteer our time to support the fundraising team. Beyond that, there appears to be much that the Partnership can do to help, but thats going to take some time to agree.