It’s been a positive year for the team at Rush House.
Not only have they been celebrating their 40th anniversary, but they have also secured over £350,000 in lottery funding to help them enhance their wraparound support for years to come.
Rush House was started in 1982 in response to the growing number of young people sleeping rough in Rotherham. They began with bed space for six people and since then have provided accommodation for almost 5,000 homeless and vulnerable young people.
But putting a roof over a homeless young person’s head is just the start. Rush House endeavour to make sure that those young people have the tools, skills and confidence to live independently in stable long-term housing.
Providing support for a brighter future
One key part of the support they provide is to encourage young people to stay in or return to education, employment and training. In 2017 they launched their Brighter Futures project which covered interview skills, CV writing, job applications, access to training, and in-work support for people under 30. Since its inception, the Brighter Futures project has helped 200 young people gain employment and 250 into education or training
However, the recently awarded lottery funding will mean Rush House can develop and grow the project even further to raise the aspirations of more people across the town.
The new look Brighter Future project will enable Rush House to work with anyone over 16, with no upper age limit. Participants don’t have to be homeless, but the team will be particularly invested in helping those furthest from the labour market, such as ex-offenders, people with limited or no qualifications, or those struggling to gain employment due to lack of experience.
The project will also support people who are currently employed but looking to advance or change their careers and need help to do so.
Mentors will look at a person’s long-term goals and set out an action plan for how they’ll reach what they want to achieve. A big focus will be on motivating people to turn their mindsets around, while also helping them overcome any barriers they might have to employment, education or training.
Rush House and the Bright Futures project will also be part of the Skills City initiative that will be based at Gulliver’s Valley, working to inspire and inform the youngest in our society about the world of work.
Future proofing Rush House for the next 40 years and beyond
Rush House has done some amazing work in its 40 years, much of which was highlighted at their big anniversary event in June attended by many past service users who have gone on to improve their lives thanks to the support they received in young adulthood.
However, like many charities, a turbulent few years has made the Rush House management team look at how they can diversify and justify their place in the community.
One aspect has been to create a sustainable income stream to subsidise the core funding and grants they receive. Thanks to leadership training and business coaching supported by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) resilience fund, Rush House has been able to develop their pre-tenancy programme as a payable service.
A Place of Your Own was initially designed and delivered for care leavers and vulnerable young people in Rotherham, helping them prepare for all aspects of living independently such as budgeting, tenancy rights and responsibilities, and health and hygiene. They have since created an online portal for the course that means other councils and organisations can pay to access it, bringing in a new income for Rush House.
How can you support Rush House?
The team are always grateful to the public and businesses for their ongoing support. This season, they are appealing for donations to help service users move in or move on. A donation of £15 funds a basic welcome pack containing food and toiletries, £30 buys new bedding, and £100 can buy a ‘help to move on’ pack for those leaving Rush House including gas, electricity and soft furnishings.
Any support is welcome. You might be able to plan a fundraising day at work, do a sponsored event for Rush House, volunteer your time at Lindum Terrace to decorate or do some gardening, or share knowledge and skills with service users such as budgeting advice, interview techniques, work placements or wellbeing treatments.
If you would like to help, please email email@example.com or visit their website to donate or find the A-Z of fundraising ideas