Yesterday I wrote to all members of staff at BHT to thank them all for everything they have done during 2015 to assist our clients to combat homelessness and to bring about change. It has been a good year for BHT, even though we have faced huge challenges. When I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I couldn’t quite get the words right. Then I received an email from one of our colleagues who wishes to remain anonymous, but their words capture my thoughts and feelings about my colleagues in BHT:-
“My colleagues at First Base are on the front line, they provide a safe space for people to be, they listen, they provide warmth and shelter, food, they encourage and support. They do so much more, they are angels walking and working amongst us.
“My colleagues in our detox and recovery projects give people the opportunity to totally turn their lives around with the amazing work that they do.
“My colleagues in our support projects give the most care, support and encouragement for people who have been homeless, who have mental health problems, complex needs or other challenges, to set their own goals and achieve them.
“My colleagues in ILS who are not Team of the Year for nothing. They listen to the most unimaginable accounts (I don’t call them stories as they are not stories, they are actual events that happen to men, women and children) of torture, fear, abuse, and their journeys to escape. Children who have been trafficked here to be used in the sex trade, then discarded when they become pregnant. They battle with the Home Office to request the very basic care, a female interpreter, an understanding that their client is 8 & half months pregnant. They face astonishing lack of human decency and caring when a male interpreter is provided and the child interviewed by the Home Office in a small, uncomfortable hot room. The UK has specialist police officers and rape suites when someone reports a rape, but none of this for a trafficked minor. Their profession face barristers acting for the Home Office thinking that there is a DNA test to prove sexuality when someone is fleeing being executed because of their sexuality. My colleagues, listen, spend hours taking statements, having to set emotions aside and then they battle and fight for the rights of that person.
“My colleagues on our work and learning projects help people who have lost all confidence not only gain qualifications but rebuild their confidence, and they do this in such imaginative ways.
“My colleagues in our PRS projects give people the skills and tools to not only find accommodation which is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge but to maintain the accommodation, making sustainable tenancies, and also my colleagues in Housing Services who provide what most clients aspire to – a home that they can call their own.
“My colleagues in the Advice Services save homes every day, they hold statutory agencies to account, they face battles every day and like many of our projects work with some of the most vulnerable and challenging clients. Our solicitors (past and present) are the very best at what they do. I am in awe of the work that they do. I heard that they are recognised by Barristers as “having the tidiest Briefs” which always brings a smile and a raised eyebrow to those of us with childish sense of humour!!
“So many projects and I am ashamed that I have not mentioned them all. It is an honour and a privilege to work with and for so many amazing, inspirational people.”
I would also add our colleagues in central services, members of the senior management team, members of our Board of Management, and those who don’t sit in any of the above, all of whom do great work to support and back up the front line services of this amazing organisation.