What we have achieved
Since Fledge started its operations in 2014, much has been achieved, though much remains to do, as the demand for our Services of Accommodation and Support remains high.
Here is a brief timeline of our progress:
In their work as youth leaders within their local Church, and within formal education, Mark Cheshire (a teacher) and his wife Lauren (a youth worker) identify a surprising number of young people who are homeless and “sofa surfing” with friends and distant relatives. They formulate a vision of providing homely and supportive accommodation for these vulnerable young people.
After considerable planning and gathering together a number of willing volunteers to help launch it, Fledge Youth Support (Fledge) is born and is registered with the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
These volunteers – now the Board of Trustees, start work on building the infrastructure for the Charity: Policies, procedures, finance, administration … and scoping what Fledge will provide to homeless and vulnerable young adults.
A project manager is appointed, based at All Saints’ Church, Eastleigh, to explore models for providing supported accommodation (lodgings) for homeless and vulnerable young adults – initially in the 18 – 24 age-range.
Unexpectedly Fledge Trustees are offered the lease of a residential property in Eastleigh with a view to accommodating up to five young people. The vision is that the house will give each resident a permanent address six months or so of time, space and support to stablise their lives, engage with statutory and more formal providers and move towards sustainable independent living in long-term accommodation.
Fledge takes on the lease of this property during the spring and relocates its office to a room in the house. A second staff member – Support Worker is employed, and the first resident moves in during May.
Later in 2016 a third part-time support worker is engaged, and a number of volunteers are invited to become long-term mentors to individual residents.
Aided by a grant from the HCC “Awards for All” scheme, Fledge launches a year-long project to recruit and train additional volunteer Mentors and to implement a mentor management and co-ordination structure.
In early Autumn, Fledge’s landlord offers the use of a second house, capable of housing five residents. The lease is taken on in December and the first residents move in ready for Christmas. Fledge now has four staff, and a team of seven trustees.
Mark Cheshire, a founding trustee stands down from the Board and is appointed Company Secretary. Phil Watts becomes Chair of Trustees. A further trustee is recruited to replace Mark.
Fledge’s second house is extended with two additional residential units added. Fledge has grown to number five staff, and in June 2018 takes on the lease of Office premises in Pirelli Way, Eastleigh, releasing a further room in each of Fledge’s two houses. Up to 14 otherwise homeless and vulnerable young adults can now be accommodated.
Two further houses are offered to Fledge elsewhere in Eastleigh, and leases on these are taken on in May. Fledge’s capacity is now 21, with one house designated for those who are at college and need a quieter environment for study, and another for longer-stay residents, whose progress towards sustainable independent living will be slower.
Further staff are employed and Fledge now has a complement of seven staff – several working full time.
With a growing workforce supporting over twenty residents, Fledge relocates its head office to larger premises in Leigh Road, Eastleigh, moving out of the Pirelli Way office in late April as the on that property lease expires.
The Covid-19 crisis brings new challenges for Fledge residents, staff and Trustees.
A fifth residential property is leased in the autumn, comprising five self-contained flats suitable as first-stage move-on accommodation for those ready to begin independent living or for whom shared housing is less than ideal. As a consequence, an eighth staff member is recruited. Fledge is now able to accommodate up to twenty-six residents, as well as providing support and life-skills development sessions for current and former residents.
The year ends with safe operating measures still firmly in place as the Covid pandemic continues.
To find more about our achievements over the past few years, look at our Annual Reports: