A Big Move Forward | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

A Big Move Forward

By Ollie Wilson - 22 March 2017

 

This week is a huge one for Depaul UK. Our Central Office has relocated from Borough High Street to Sherborne House, 34 Decima Street, central London – thanks to the support of Sherborne in the Community – and it’s been far more than an office move.

As a homelessness charity with a focus on young people, we have long desired that our head office should be more than a place where the London-based staff and leadership team work, and where finance, fundraising, human resources, I.T., and all the other functions that make an organisation tick, operate.

With the move to Sherborne House, we have achieved that, because it has also become home to Alone in London, which joined Depaul UK last year and provides a morning drop-in service for young people aged 16 to 25, and our emergency accommodation service Nightstop London, which finds beds for the night for young people at risk of homelessness.

Downstairs there is a large communal/cafe area downstairs where young people, staff and volunteers can meet and mix. This means that all Depaul UK staff working in the building are far closer to the young people for whom we provide services.

Depaul UK is currently engaged in the “Endeavour Programme” for which our entire staff is being trained in a way of working that places clients central to all that we do. Creating Endeavour Centres is a crucial part of this, and Sherborne House is our first in southern England. It is a place where young people affected by homelessness can be in the same place as the infrastructure that is helping them. It’s really exciting to be able to combine a service centre for young people and our head office, while also making significant savings in on the rental costs of our central office. 

The change has been achieved in little over a year – and it has been a remarkable journey. From learning that Sherborne House was available, to seeing the high level of rebuilding and refurbishment it would require, to tendering and winning the long-term lease, finding the best contractors and overseeing every aspect of the project to completion and finally moving in, it’s been a rollercoaster ride.

The building has been truly transformed, while retaining its original features and architectural beauty. Every part has been superbly refurbished and redecorated. There are more meeting rooms than in our old offices and Skype facilities are readily available to communicate with our colleagues in other parts of the country. Our hot-desking policy means that the centrally based staff are talking more to each other than when they sat in departmental groups.

On the afternoon of our first full day (Monday, 20 March 2017) at Sherborne House, you could feel the buzz in the air as Depaul UK Chief Executive Martin Houghton-Brown addressed visiting young people, staff and volunteers in the packed communal area and thanked everyone who has made the move to Sherborne House happen.

It is an exciting new chapter in the history of Depaul and a big move forward.

* Ollie Wilson leads on Communication & External Affairs for Depaul

   

 

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