Excitement builds for that big day in June. Have you decided yet which way you will go?

The starting gun has been fired, and we are focusing on that big day in June. Such days are when the people can make the difference.

I refer, of course, to the BHT Around the World Cycle Challenge, our epic mass-participation challenge to cycle ‘around the world’ in just 12 hours!

On Sunday 25th June adults and children will take to their bikes at Preston Park Velodrome to cycle laps towards a collective distance of 40,075km.

With cyclists setting their own pace and completing as few or as many laps as they wish, this is an exciting, family-friendly challenge for all abilities.

It is hoped that this unique event will raise £25,000, to enable First Base Day Centre to continue to help people to move away from the streets, and on to independent and healthy lives.

Every penny raised will go towards providing food, health services, showers and laundry facilities, and most importantly person-centred advice to help find accommodation and employment. Last year First Base Day Centre helped 306 people to move off the streets.

We are appealing to the whole community to come along and get pedalling! We need as many cyclists to participate as possible if we are to reach 40,075km in just 12 hours. Why not form a team with your family, friends or colleagues, and have a really great time getting fit whilst also supporting an important local cause?

There is even an option to take part from afar. My colleague, Sara Peskett, BHT’s Fundraising Officer, said: “If you’re not able to join us at the velodrome on the day you can take part on an exercise bike at home or at a gym, or even hop on your bike elsewhere. All you need to do is register to take part and then email or tweet us your distance on the day to be added to the overall total. Be a part of this never-before-attempted challenge!”

To register for Around the World Cycle 2017 please visit www.bht.org.uk. Alternatively, donations can be made through Brighton Housing Trust’s JustGiving page.

This event has been made possible with sponsorship from socially and ethically-aware businesses, including Kemp Town Flooring Co., Robert Heath Heating and Groundscapes. If you own a business and would like to support the challenge please see our website.

BHT is recruiting for a Director of Finance and Resources

One of the most important colleagues for any chief executive is that of the Director of Finance. For me it has to be someone who I can rely on and who has great judgement.  As with any charity, we have our challenges, and the Director of Finance must have a calm head on their shoulders.  Fortunately, crises in BHT are few and far between, but there are challenges regarding the furture direction of BHT to 2022 and beyond.

At BHT the post is called the Director of Finance and Resources and is one of four in the executive management team, working as a close team with Nikki Homewood (our Director of Advice and Support Services), David Chaffey (Director of Housing and Property Services) and me.

The role is currently filled on an interim basis by Les Warren and we are looking to recruit a Director who will take a lead on financial strategy, risk management, operational and financial performance. The Director is responsible for optimising the organisations financial position, value for money and providing constructive challenge and advice to income generation and sustainable growth strategies. They oversee and direct the effective implementation of the Trust’s IT strategy, act as company secretary and be responsible for much of the organisations central resources.

I am looking for someone with vision and an ability to deliver services of excellence, and I will give them support and space to influence the future of the organisation.

This is an exciting post. If you have the passion, are self-motivated, collaborative and a team player, and if you are as ambitious as we are, we want to hear from you. Further information is available here. You must hurry.  The closing date for applications is next Monday (24th April).

Please support the Fabulous Four running the Brighton Marathon for BHT

There are four amazing people running the Brighton Marathon for First Base Day Centre this Sunday:  Melanie Atkinson, Tony Felstead, Benny Coxhill and Andrew Westhead Please click here, here, here and here for their JustGiving pages.

Our thanks to Creative Benefits who are sponsoring our running vests.

Please support these amazing Marathon Runners raising money for First Base Day Centre

Brighton Housing Trust has a number of people running marathons for us over thee nxt month.  Please have a look at their JustGiving pages and PLEASE support them

Running the Brighton Marathon for First Base Day Centre on 9th April are Melanie Atkinson, Tony Felstead (from FUGU PR, which regularly supports First Base), and Benny Coxhill and Andrew Westhead (employees from ROCC Computers who, again, are regular supporter of First Base).  Please click here, here, here and here for their JustGiving pages.

Joshua Spearpoint is running the London Marathon on 23rd April for First Base Day Centre.  Please click here to support Joshua and Frist Base.

And finally, we have our Round the World Cycle Challenge on 25th June. There are three things you can do to help:

  • Sign up to ride yourself – you don’t have to do great distances, every little helps, as the advert says. It costs £10 to participate, £5 concessions and £5 for children under 16. Register via https://www.bht.org.uk/support-us/around-the-world-cycle-challenge-2017/ (Please make sure you do register)
  • Help on the day. Please email my colleague Sara Peskett, and she can let you know how and when you can help.
  • Sponsor me. You can do so here or you can send me a cheque made payable to ‘Brighton Housing Trust’ c/o BHT, 144 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4PH

According to Margaret Thatcher I am a failure ….

Margaret Thatcher once said: “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus, can count himself as a failure”. I have to plead guilty as charged. I have never learned to drive, not through any inadequacy (although my long legs makes it awkward to get behind the wheel) but through an absence of need or inclination.

I can’t think that it has hindered me much in my life. I might have gone more into the countryside and it might have come in handy when on holiday, but I haven’t really noticed. Not driving has saved me a small fortune. Instead I walk and use buses, as well as the occasional taxi.

I freely confess I am now over the age of 26, so I think a lot of Margaret Thatcher when on a bus (like the time I caught the bus when I was about to have lunch with the Queen….). I am not alone. According to census data from 2011, over a third of households across the city don’t own a car – failures each and everyone of them!.

Cycling to work across Brighton and Hove has doubled between 2001 and 2011. Just under 5% of the population cycle to work. 14% of residents take the bus to work, and over 20% walk to work. Almost 10% of adults cycle at least once a week.  Even the Mayor of the City, Cllr Pete West, cycles to engagements.

In recent weeks I have become a bit obsessed about cycling. I used to cycle everywhere but stopped over 20 years ago when my daughter was an infant when I narrowly missed being killed by a bus turning from Ditchling Road into Oxford Street in Brighton.

My bike has been rusting in the back yard for too long. Yesterday I got it out, pumped up the tires and the thing practically collapsed under me. I need a bicycle because I have accepted a challenge from colleagues to ride 100km on Sunday 25th June as part of BHT’s Around the World Cycling Challenge.

In 12 hours we need as many of you as possible to ride round and round the Preston Park Velodrome so that we clock up 40,075km – equivalent to circumnavigating the earth at the Equator.

Why are we doing this? To raise £25,000 for First Base Day Centre. On days like today, with wind and cold, street homeless people need shelter, and First Base provides that and so much more – showers, clean and dry clothes, hot food, medical care, and much more. Staff at First Base also help people to look at why they are on the street and help them to move into accommodation.

There are three things you can do to help:

  • Sign up to ride yourself – you don’t have to do great distances, every little helps, as the advert says. It costs £10 to participate, £5 concessions and £5 for children under 16. Register via https://www.bht.org.uk/support-us/around-the-world-cycle-challenge-2017/ (Please make sure you do register)
  • Help on the day. Please email my colleague Sara Peskett, and she can let you know how and when you can help.
  • Sponsor me. You can do so here or you can send me a cheque made payable to ‘Brighton Housing Trust’ c/o BHT, 144 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4PH

The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Cllr Pete West, launching the BHT Around the World Cycle Challenge

Fancy a modest challenge to help BHT?

For a while we have been thinking about a mass participation event to raise funds for BHT.  Many of the best ideas have gone – the Brighton Marathon, the Half Marathon, the Midnight Walk, and so on.

We didn’t want people to undertake superhuman feats of endurance, like running up Mount Kilimanjaro with a grand piano strapped to your back or jumping out of an aeroplane wearing nothing but water wings!

We wanted something that people of all abilities could participate in so we came up with the modest idea of cycling around the world …. in just 12 hours.  Hmmm.

around-the-world-cycle-challenge-logo-rgb-web_w300Today (Friday 10th February 2017) we have launched BHT’s Around the World Cycle Challenge 2017 which will take place on Sunday 25th June at Preston Park Velodrome.

We are calling on the community to get on their bikes and cycle as many laps of the track as possible towards a collective target of 40,075km.

The clock will start at 7am. Throughout the day there will be various slots for club cyclists, hand cyclists, children, and adults, enabling everyone to set themselves, their family or friends a personal challenge. There will also be various activities, entertainment and catering stands.

We are hoping that the event will raise £25,000 for BHT.

Please help us by:

  • Taking part – Come along for a leisurely Sunday afternoon cycle or a hundred kilometre dash at 7am in the morning. Register via https://www.bht.org.uk/support-us/around-the-world-cycle-challenge-2017/ (Please make sure you register)
  • Team Challenge – Why not organise a team and challenge others to a contest to see who can clock the most laps!
  • Spreading the word on social media  – Please retweet @BHT_Sussex tweets about the event and invite your friends to the BHT Around the World Cycle Challenge event on Facebook
  • Spreading the word amongst your friends – If you have any friends or contacts with businesses who may be interested in sponsoring the event, or would be happy to display an A3 poster, please let my colleague, Sara Peskett, know.
  • Volunteering – We will need lots of marshals and stewards across the day! If you’re able to volunteer two hours (or more) of your time, from 7am until 7pm, please contact Sara.

It’s going to be a fantastic day, and we hope it will raise a good amount for BHT.

Remembering Bruno Crosby, 15 years on

bruno-crosbyIt is more than 15 years since Bruno Crosby passed the way.

For those who don’t remember Bruno, he was known as “King of the Squatters”. It is worth remembering that squatting has a noble history in our city with leaders like Bruno, Harry Crowley, and even Lord Steve Bassam.

In the 1970s there were many empty and derelict properties around the city. The squatters movement took them over, did them up, and provided much-needed housing.

It is worth remembering that the housing crisis we are facing today although on unprecedented scale and severity, has been with us for many decades.

Bruno, along with friends, took over a long abandoned house in Argyll Road near Preston Circus, a stones throw away from our container homes development, Richardson’s Yard. They installed electricity and plumbing, and undertook essential works to make it watertight.

Over the years, Bruno was able to establish legal ownership of his home as no owner could be traced.

But he was not interested in it as an investment opportunity. When he died at the age of just 51, he left the proceeds of the sale of his home to two organisations, one being Brighton Housing Trust. He was one of our Board members for several years.

As the Argus reminds us today (10th February 2017): “Bruno coordinated squatting activities in Brighton during the Seventies when the movement was at its height. At one stage, hundreds of squatters were housed across the town in squats he had organised.”

I remember fondly, a man of great passion, great drive, and unswerving principle.