We recently celebrated our first birthday. Yes, that’s right, whilst we’ve been doing what we do best for the past seven years, it’s been a whole 12 months since we became a registered charity. How exciting!

To celebrate, we thought we’d reflect on our proudest achievements and milestones and how you’ve helped to make them happen.

A growing team

This time last year, we had about six volunteers working with us. Now, we have an incredible 25 people who donate their time, including several that help us full-time as companions.

We’re proud to say that over the past year HHCP has been able to continue helping families, care leavers, prison leavers and veterans threatened with homelessness. This work has helped us to look closely at the causes of homelessness and develop stronger strategies to prevent it happening in the first place. We truly believe that prevention is more effective than waiting for people to hit crisis point before intervening.

In the meantime, we’ve helped 30-40 rough sleepers since January, signposting them to useful services and moving them into appropriate accommodation.

We slept out to raise awareness...

We hosted our first ever Big Sleep Out in June last year and we’re already in the process of organising this year's extravaganza. The evening event took place in Queen’s Gardens and our aim was to raise much-needed funds and awareness for the rough sleepers in our city.

We kept it light and fun with a party atmosphere, bunting, a comedy corner, stilt walkers and even street food vendors. We also had a whole host of representatives from local charities to talk with people about homelessness. Several volunteers collected sponsor money to spend the night on the streets. The true community spirit was shown when five incredible young men from one of the shelters offered to watch over our sponsored sleepers.

We partnered with some amazing charities…

Here at HHCP, we believe that it’s important to work together with other charities to improve services across the UK. In 2016 we teamed up with Hull-based charity Breathe for Cameron, which works tirelessly to raise the public profile of asthma and provide a frontline defence for children that suffer from the condition. With your help we raised £600, which allowed us to gift 35 asthma first aid kits to local shelters, hostels and community centres. The money also meant that homeless support staff could receive sufficient training in the event of an attack.

We’ve won some awards…

On top of all this, we’ve attended some excellent awareness-raising events and received invaluable recognition. CEO and Founder Andrew Smith was delighted when he won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Viking FM Awards.

We ended the year on another high by attending A Service of Celebration and Hope at Westminster Abbey. The incredible service hosted by DrugFAM was attended by 2,000 guests and inspired national conversations that challenge the prejudice and stigma of addiction. This is something that ties in very closely with what we do at HHCP.

In short, we’ve had a blast but there’s still a lot of work to do to tackle homelessness in Hull. If you’d like to get involved, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@hullhomless.co.uk.