NEW NAME! WLCHC is now ‘Glass Door’!
In the past St Mary’s has supported men and women who are homeless through WLCHC, a local charity that partners with local churches to provide the space for their homeless shelters and day centres. We have donated our harvest gifts – food, warm clothing and toiletries. Here, they report on their change of name and the record number of homeless guests who have been supported back into work in the past year.
The name ‘West London Churches Homeless Concern’ served the charity well but even after 16 years it remained a cumbersome name for many people to say and remember. The trustees had long known that change was needed and this year, after much discussion and research, they and the member churches agreed a new name: ‘Glass Door’. Since May the charity has operated using the Glass Door name, logo and website.
Why ‘Glass Door’? During the search for a new name that was clear, distinctive, memorable and evocative of the charity’s church roots, it came to light that some of our homeless guests already have their own name for us. ‘Glass Door’ is our guests’ shorthand for the daytime location of our services, Chelsea Methodist Church on the King’s Road. A glass ceiling may be unbreakable, but a glass door can open – and through the glass door under the arched entrance of the Methodist Church (and through the glass doors of so many of our venue churches), homeless men and women find a warm welcome and support to help them move their lives forward.
Record Number of Homeless Supported into Work
John arrived at a homeless shelter on a freezing night in February after being homeless for seven months. He had worked previously as a labourer but started sleeping rough after construction work dried up following the economic downturn. He was exhausted and desperate for a safe, dry place to stay.
After one week of sleeping in the church halls that offer the winter night shelters of Glass Door, John approached Boguslaw, a caseworker from the charity, to see if he could help chase up missing payments from his previous employer.
Boguslaw helped John access email so he could track down the missing pay cheque and then helped John register with an employment agency and secure Job Seeker’s Allowance. John got a temporary job at Cheltenham Festival and then was hired as a full-time bus driver. When the winter shelters closed in early April, John was a pay-cheque away from the deposit on a rental flat.
With his calm, polite demeanour, John just needed a bit of help to get back on his feet. Other guests need more on-going assistance, but the charity has found that many homeless people can put their lives back on track if given the right support.
This year, the charity helped John and a record 120 other homeless men and women find a job.
“That’s twice as many as we helped into employment compared to last year,” notes Steven Platts, Glass Door COO.
Glass Door is our nearest centre for helping people who are homeless – 155A Kings Road – 020 7351 4948 – a useful resource for when we come across any needing their help.