50th Anniversary: Simon's Story
Changes over time
“A lot of the changes that have come about have been to do with the external environment of funding. Up until 2009, there was ring-fenced funding for councils to support vulnerable people who didn’t necessarily have a statutory duty owed to them like a care leaver. That ring-fence was removed not long before council funding started to be cut anyway. That led to a lot of reductions in funding for homelessness services and in some cases, councils chose to renegotiate with providers and reduce contract values, to make it more efficient.
“In other cases, they weren’t able to do that and they had to close provision down. One example of this was a Centrepoint service I worked in in South London; working with young people with really pronounced needs. They were all former rough sleepers, many with drug and alcohol addiction and some with serious mental health issues. It was a really valuable service and made a difference to a lot of young people’s lives and got them off the street permanently. That service was a victim of that funding reduction and it was decommissioned entirely in 2011. This was just devastating to everyone that worked there and everyone who had lived there. It was just really awful."
"All Centrepoint services have value and there are so many people who need support to get on their feet. However, working in really high need services like that is just so rewarding because you can really see the effect of your work. A lot of the time when you work with young people, it’s a long term effort and you might plant a seed or get them onto a pathway that allows them to go somewhere that they might have not have otherwise walked down. However, with those high support services, you can really see the impact immediately and the effects of what you’re doing so it was a tragedy when it closed.”
Working for Centrepoint
“I’ve been here a while and it’s been worth it. No organisation is perfect, but in the main part we’re quite far ahead. The income generated by fundraising means that we can provide so much more than the basics; interventions that can make a big difference to young people at a difficult time in their lives. It makes working here more satisfying than it would be otherwise.
“Centrepoint has also given me lots of opportunities; I started off in an entry level position and I’m now somewhere that allows me to influence the organisation at a more strategic level. Working directly with young people was very rewarding, but so is this role in a different way; and I get to use my experience of working in services to do my current job better.”