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Christmas Message from The Passage

Dear Friends, Christmas is nearly upon us! It seems to start earlier every year, with decorations in shops going up early autumn and advertisers encouraging us to purchase that special gift for loved ones at Christmas. I do hope that, despite all the hype and constant adverts, you and those close to you manage to find some space and time to enjoy the true message of Christmas; the amazing gift of the baby Jesus, given freely to us all. Special Gifts This Christmas, as you exchange gifts with loved ones, please know of the special gifts that your support has given to so many people at The Passage. A warm, safe and secure home, the opportunity to spend Christmas day with their own family and loved ones after relationships have been rebuilt, and the gifts we all crave most; to feel loved and to feel that we belong. St. Vincent’s Centre Refurbishment Work is now well underway on our refurbishment of St. Vincent’s Centre that accommodates so many of our critical projects. I am pleased to say that every project that was located in St. Vincent’s is able to continue throughout the refurbishment. This includes our day services which remain on site throughout the works having recently been relocated to a temporary space in the building whilst the main works are carried out. Please keep everyone at The Passage in your thoughts and prayers throughout this transition period. Important as the bricks and mortar are, it is our clients that are the true foundations of The Passage; clients like Jamie, Anthony and Toby. At the age of 22, Jamie had an alcohol addiction and was rough sleeping in Westminster. When he moved into Passage House, he was by far the youngest resident. Reaching the point when he was facing some serious health problems as a consequence of his drinking, Jamie was motivated to make real changes to his life. With the support of staff at Passage House, he attended regular substance misuse support groups and earned a place at detox, followed by rehab. Upon successfully completing his rehab programme, Jamie decided he didn’t want to return to London. His Passage worker assisted him in finding his own privaterented flat in Plymouth. Now, at the age of 25, Jamie has been living in his flat for over a year and works full-time as a carpet-fitter. He recently emailed his Passage support worker with the fantastic news that he is engaged! Anthony is in his late twenties. He had a long history of rough sleeping in both Ireland and London. He was using crack cocaine, drinking regularly, and getting into trouble with the police. When he first arrived at Passage House, he was reluctant to accept help and often appeared moody and quiet, not willing to chat with anyone. However, over time and with the encouragement of the staff at Passage House, particularly his keyworker, Anthony started to turn his life around. He stopped drinking and using drugs, and attended support sessions. He became involved in a fitness group and attended a gardening group. He seemed a lot calmer and happier. After nine months, Anthony had made so much progress that he got his own flat. From there he engaged with employment services and was offered a job in demolition and labouring. He now works full-time, is licensed to operate specialist machinery, is happy in his flat, and occasionally comes back to say hello to his worker. The transformation, in such a relatively short space of time, is remarkable. Toby had a long history of rough sleeping, dating back to 2000. His main support need was around alcohol use. Over the years he had had numerous stays in hostels and rehabs. The Passage never gives up on people, and we continued working with him throughout this time. In 2012, we managed to get Toby to accept a hostel place and Toby worked incredibly hard to make changes. He moved into detox and rehab, and then into semiindependent accommodation. For years, he had harboured a dream of becoming an outreach worker. Now that he had stopped drinking and was living in stable accommodation, Toby was able to pursue this dream, joining two trainee outreach worker schemes and completing both placements to such a high standard that he followed it with being offered a full-time job as a project worker. We are immensely proud of everything he has achieved. This Christmas, just like every other day of the year, The Passage will be there for those who need us most; we simply couldn’t do this without your support and on behalf of all those we have helped in 2014, and those we will help in 2015, thank you so much. I wish a joyous Christmas and a peaceful New Year to you and your family.

Mick Clarke, Chief Executive

Life goes on

The Passage, St Vincent’s Centre, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1NL

HELP NOW By calling us on 0845 880 0689

Some people walk on. Others look away. At The Passage we just get on with doing all we can to help vulnerable and marginalised people who are homeless. To that end, our Resource Centre opens its doors to up to 200 people everyday, whilst our hostel, Passage House, has beds for 40 people and is open every night of the year. In addition, Montfort House provides 16 studio flats preparing people for independent living. Our aim is to support individuals back into a settled way of life, as well as meeting basic needs. If you’re interested in being a volunteer, would like to make a donation or would simply like more information, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0845 880 0689, email or visit

Reg. Charity No. 1079764

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