Homeless hostel team to climb mountain for charity

Four members of staff from the Herring Housing Trust are preparing to climb Snowdon in the summer.(

Four members of staff from the Herring Housing Trust are preparing to climb Snowdon in the summer.( L to R) Lorraine Roberts, Caroline Glibbery, Joanna Bartlett and Nikki Edwards.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A team of four women who work at a homeless hostel are preparing to climb their first mountain to fundraise for the charity they work for.

The staff based at the Herring Housing Trust in St Nicholas Road, have the summit of Mount Snowdon in Wales in their sights.

The organisation help single people, aged over 18 with emergency accommodation in a 31 bed hostel for up to two years.

There are also move-on shared houses around the town, where people can stay for another two years and then there is a resettlement team to support individuals moving into their own homes.

Joanna Bartlett, 39; Nikki Edwards, 44; Caroline Glibbery, 40; and Lorraine Roberts, 51 have worked at for a combined total of over 30 years at the trust, and are now planning to raise as much money and publicity for it as they can.

Nikki Edwards, a hostel support worker who lives in Yarmouth, said: “It will be brilliant team work and will definitely be a lot of fun and we hope to have a massive sense of achievement at the end.

“Our managers are really behind it, they are very supportive of us.”

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Caroline, a pathway worker from Norwich, explained that the four of them had been planning a challenge while.

“We thought if we were going to do something as grand as climb a mountain we though we might as well do it for charity.

“We have never climbed a mountain before so it is quite a new challenge for all of us. We all have completely different levels of fitness.”

Lorraine, a community support scheme worker, said: “We have all joined the gym and are doing lot of training.

“We plan to raid the hills in Norwich like Gas Hill and Mousehold Heath to get some practise in.”

She said they were now going to start writing letters to sports and camping shops in the area asking for contributions to help with their trek, as well as approaching local businesses for sponsorship.

The four team members all work across different aspects of the charity to help people tackle the problems that may have caused their homelessness.

Nikki explained their roles: “Caroline brings people in from the street, I take them into the hostel and Lorraine works to resettle them along with Jo.”

Caroline works on the organisation’s pathway project, alongside national-charity Street Link, to deal with any reports of rough sleeping that come in from the public.

“I go out and find them, and if they are suitable then we can arrange for them to come in to the hostel.

“We have to build up trust. We don’t want people to think we’ll be another agency that that will let them down. A lot of people are quite sceptical of services to begin with.”

She explained that the charity was not just about providing a bed – every aspect of life was covered from housing to mental health, education and training.

“Behind nearly every person who is homeless there is something that has got them there.

“Some people can be afraid of a hostel but it is not a scary place. It is a good place to start if you are looking for help. We never really turn anyone away.”

Nikki, who supports people inside the hostel, said: “A counsellor is funded by the trust and there is often a lot less of a waiting time than local services.”

She explained that the hostel operates 24-hour a day and three meals a day are provided. There are also laundry facilities and a space to socialise.

All the rooms are en-suite and external agencies come in and give training, English and maths, music and cookery in specialist classrooms.

She added: “It is all there for clients if they want it.”

Lorraine, who works on the resettlement programme, added: “We start people on a path to independent living, if they are prepared to work with us. We will work with them however long it takes.

“There are four community houses in the area where the residents live and look after things as if it were their own home and we go round each day to check everything is ok.

“We then look at getting them into a flat or other type of accommodation and hopefully they will be able to stay their forever.”

If you would like to donate to the charity, then contact the Herring House Trust on 01493 331 524.