About the Organisation
Operating since 1997, Off The Fence has provided wrap-around support across Brighon and Hove to those currently or at risk of experiencing impoverished living through our three projects:
The Antifreeze project provides support to rough sleepers across Brighton and Hove. We host general drop-ins at our Day-Centre where clients can access a range of free-to-use services. In 2023, we have provided 291 showers, 1,196 items of clothing, 385 sleeping bags, 162 housing advice sessions and 87 benefit support sessions.
Our Gateway Women’s Centre, re-opened in 2022, to provide a safe place for women across Brighton and Hove to receive support for mental-health needs and traumatic life experiences. Our Centre supports 120 women through 1-2-1 support, specialised workshops, peer support sessions and drop-in opportunities.
The Schools Project prevents and protects school children from falling into deprivation in adult life. We offer 1-to-1 mentoring, group activity sessions, 3-week school holiday clubs, and an 8-part syllabus entitled ‘Where’s Your Head At’. This course covers themes including educational advancement, bereavement, and healthy relationships. We aid academic performance as children become less disruptive and reclusive through dedicated mentoring. Between 2022-2023, we mentored 75 students, offered support in 13 schools and had over 19,000 student contacts.
Brighton is already in the top five UK cities for homelessness – with 1 in 78 people without the security of a home and 3,067 currently in temporary accommodation. Last year, we saw a 38% increase in homeless deaths – 43 unidentified individuals. Since the Pandemic, there has been an 84% increase in households depending on Universal Credit who are unemployed, an increase between 9%-25% in household rent and Child poverty figures rose to 24% in Hove and Pavilion and at 32% in Kemptown (Citizens Advice, 2022). This makes it clear that the demand for Off The Fence’s services will continue to increase as more individuals and families are forced to make life-changing housing decisions. We want to be there for them as they face these decisions and support them to a place where they are able to find secure accommodation and employment to enable them to re-enter the community.
Off The Fence are working to broaden their support services to help bridge the gap between life on the streets and obtaining permanent accommodation. To achieve this they are looking to develop interim housing for clients to adjust to independent living in a bedsit, while receiving support from their team and a wellness hub to provide specific need-related services.
They have a potential property in mind and would be grateful for any initial advice on acquiring the premises and their funding options, followed by guidance on how to approach the remodel of the property to help them plan the different stages of the project and the services they will need to engage.
Off The Fence would therefore be very grateful for offers of Pro Bono support with identifying the most realistic route to obtaining the property and to help to establish clear steps and benchmarks through which they can identify progress.