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Horsham Matters 

 

Horsham Matters Ltd is a social enterprise set up by Horsham Churches Together whose aim is to help those in need in the local area. We are committed to helping those who are unable for whatever reason to help themselves. We do not make any judgement on why someone is in the situation they are but aim first to meet their practical needs and then working with partner organisations to help them wider issues such as debt advice, pregnancy counselling or addiction.

Our first venture was the Community Charity Centre in the old Tanfield Garage that continues to offer good quality second hand furniture, white goods and household items at reasonable prices, with a range of discounts available to those with lower incomes. We work with partners such as the HDC Housing Department, WSCC Adult and Youth Services and the Y Centre to take referrals for those in desperate need, aiming to provide them whoever they need at a price they can afford, however little that may be. The Centre also provides an opportunity to reuse furniture and goods that are no longer required thereby reducing the need for items to go to waste.

Following the decision by our landlord to split the Tanfield site into two we acquired warehouse premises at Micah House (Unit 2) in Blatchford Road. The Tanfield site is now principally our retail location, but also offers a town centre location to meet with clients on lower incomes needing our support. The property in Blatchford Road is principally storage and offices.

At both locations we offer work experience, training and short term paid employment for younger people within the centre, with a view to helping them, through regular mentoring, to secure full time employment before their contract with us has finished. We are currently working with Sussex Central YMCA and Sussex Central College with a view to setting up a more formal apprenticeship programme that will allow young people working with us to achieve recognised qualifications.

We use the money we raise from the Charity Centre to provide new services for local residents. We currently operate an Advocacy Service for young people working with the HDC Community Development team, WSCC Youth Services, Connexions. We run Horsham Children Can Do on behalf of HDC and WSCVYS providing opportunities for children aged 5 to 13 to engage in their local community. We also help manage the Horsham District Youth Support Team, which is a detached project, operating on summer weekends, providing a team of people to support young people in Horsham Parks and we are working with the HDC Community Services team as well as Sussex Police to expand this in to other areas in the District.

We are working with Sussex Central YMCA to help deliver an Alcohol Intervention Initiative on behalf of HDC Community Development. In conjunction with the Environmental Coordinator at HDC we are currently developing a loft clearance service for older people wanting to take advantage of government grants for free loft insulation.

We also provide support to other local initiatives through grants and donations. In the last year we have supported the Salvation Army’s Hope In project, Oasis Crisis Pregnancy Centre, Billingshurst Children and Family Centre, Phoenix Stroke Club, the WI (for a cooking course for young mums), Streetlight (working with those trafficked into the sex industry), Southwater Youth Project and 4Sight. In addition we have made donations of goods to a number of other groups including Amber, Oasis Crisis Pregnancy, Faith in Action, St Catherine’s Hospice, British Heart Foundation, Relate and the YMCA.

During the coming year we plan to develop projects around homelessness and the provision of food to those in need. We are working with Housing team and others at HDC to investigate how best we can address the needs of those without appropriate accommodation and are considering a night shelter as well as the provision of more permanent accommodation.