Yesterday was a flurry of activity at CENS. Our staff worked hard to get the shelter ready for the open day, including a bake-off amongst the residents which provided some delicious cakes. There were lots left over for the residents to enjoy that evening!
We invited all the local agencies who work in the same sector to re-affirm our links and get to know each other better. We’re all working towards improving the lives of people without secure accommodation so it’s paramount that we have these close networks in place. It was great to put faces to names and learn a bit more about the other services that are on offer in Colchester.
Saying thank you
The local businesses and members of the community who have supported us over the years were also invited. CENS wouldn’t have been able to grow and develop without their donations and fundraising, so it was a lovely way for us to show our appreciation. And, to showcase the improvements made since we re-opened in 2021.
Following a National Lottery Community Grant, we were able to convert all rooms into single occupancy with ensuite bathrooms. Not only does this provide the service users with privacy, but it also means we’re pandemic-proof, which means we can stay open and keep residents safe if there is another lockdown. We had one bedroom unoccupied so everyone could have a snoop! It’s important that all the agencies can see what facilities we have. That way, they can reassure potential service users that CENS is a clean, calm and welcoming environment.
Sharing our vision
The new Wellbeing room was also available for people to view. We have lots of exciting developments in the pipeline for this space, including in-house counselling. Of course, this is all down to funding again which is why it’s important to share the vision we have for CENS’ future.
Ex-resident Adam paid a visit and spoke with Mayor Tim Young about his experience of being at CENS and how his life is set on a better trajectory because of the support he had here. We invited residents to come along to explain how homelessness can affect anyone at any time in their lives.
Manager Marina said, ‘We are all facing hard times ahead and our services are under a huge strain with a growing need and rising costs. Without the help of our supporters, we just could not survive, so this is our way of showing that we appreciate every penny raised, every volunteer and every donation. We have some great fundraising plans coming up and are always happy to support anyone who want to get involved with the work we do.”