Route 18 Winter Shelter Report 2012-13 

July 2013

The Route 18 Winter Shelter is a project run by local faith organisations in conjunction with CHC. Each night a different church or mosque opens their door to those who have been found rough sleeping by the Brent Outreach Street Service (BOSS) team. The ‘guests’ stay overnight in the shelter and during the day would come to CHC to access our services. We would then support them into accommodation, training and employment, as well as offering practical support such as showers/laundry and lunch.

Private Rented Sector Survey 

25th June 2013 – 19th July 2013

You can help shape the future of the Private rented Sector in Brent.
The Housing Quality Network have been commissioned by Brent Council to survey the private rented sector in Brent. The purpose of the research is to examine the potential for licensing the Private Rented Sector in the Borough and also for creating an ethical lettings agency. Complete the survey HERE 

Research Now UK – Supporting CHC Customers

25th June 2013

“This was a really good experience for me. I was previously frightened about interview panels as I have not had an interview for such a long time. They gave me a better understanding and encouraged me, letting me know how I could improve on my answers. I felt comfortable and confident ”        Linda (CHC Customer)

As part of their ‘Research Now Gives Back’ programme, Amy, Fiona, Jane, Charles, Dominic and Will from Research Now UK came to CHC to volunteer for the day. The event was organised by our Senior Vocational Advisor Shirley and Ricardo from HandsOnLondon.

15 Customers we are supporting into work sat before mock ‘interview panels’ (the volunteers) so they could practice their interview skills. The team then gave feedback on those interviews to build interviewees’ skills and confidence.

Fiona from Research Now Uk said “The clients did not necessarily come across as being nervous and we met many people that are definitely employable”

Homeless Link Publish Report on Youth Homelessness 

24th June 2013 

‘No excuses – Preventing Homelessnes in the next generation’  is a comprehensive report on youth homelessness by Homeless Link. This policy paper examines the underlying issues facing young people who become homeless, access and quality of advice given and suggestions for moving forward with youth homeless services.

CHC proactively works with young people. In addition to housing advice and practical support, our youth team engage young people through activities such as the media group and football club. Our  training and employment team offer support into training/employment and apprenticeships, helping them to reach their goals.

Champions League Spotlight by CHC media Group

CHC becomes the chosen charity of the Mayor of Brent

15th May 2013

On 15th May 2013, Brent welcomed its new mayor into office, Cllr. Bobby Thomas. We are very pleased to announce that Mayor Thomas has selected CHC for his Charity appeal. Our CEO Danny Maher attended the Making Ceremony at Paul Daisley Hall, and says of the nomination “We are very grateful to Mayor Thomas for this honour and see it as further evidence of our good name in the Borough. As well as raising funds, we will take the opportunity to promote our services to as many people as possible across the borough”

Who needs Timbaland? We´re doing our own beats!

29th April 2013

On Monday 29th April we started a new and exciting course providing skills in music producing. Why not become the new Timbaland? Or a DJ and produce your own remixes of your favorite tracks?

With the help of professionals like Max, we discovered the secrets of “Logic Pro” and within two hours we were able to do our own beats, just as Ron did, who used the music programme for the first time. Listen what we set up in only the first taster session:

Cultural Exchange Programme Berlin

7th-20th April 2013

Five members of our Media Group had the chance to take part in a cultural exchange programme to the German capital Berlin thanks to Embrace Cooperation and Kids & Co. Not only were they able to improve their, independent living skills including budgeting, nutrition and language, they explored the City´s historical ambiance and culture. The media group worked on developing their media skills in another country, they completed a couple of self-initiated projects, recorded interviews, attended workshops in graffiti spraying and tours documenting the “Street Art” scene in Berlin. 

Press Coverage – Irish Post 

March 2013

Route 18 Newsletter

March 2013

Customer First Quality Standard – Press Release 

March 2013

Cricklewood Homeless Concern has become the latest organisation of its kind to achieve recognition for its customer service through the external verification of ‘Putting the Customer First’ – The National Standard for Customer Service.

Adopted by over 20 different sectors, the Standard has been cited as a “must have” by a number of voluntary and community organisations using the framework as a way to build sustainable levels of customer service and secure new business. The robust framework explores organisational approaches to building customer relationships; cultivating market awareness; and developing people and sets out to support and drive continuous improvement across all levels of an organisation.

Cricklewood Homeless Concern, which facilitates individuals and communities through a range of specialist welfare and social programmes, is the first homeless agency to achieve putting the Customer First status by awarding body, Customer First UK. The assessment included 19 members of the core team and 8 volunteers and took two days to verify.

Anne Hames, Assessor, reflects: “Cricklewood Homeless Concern is undoubtedly a beacon for innovation and is highly regarded by its wide range of customer groups, partners, referral agencies, staff and volunteer workforce. Underpinning its work is a consistency of approach, transparent and regularly updated policies and procedures which ensures that all customers receive a structured yet customer focused service that makes a real difference to people’s lives”

As Funding cuts continue to make headlines within the Voluntary sector, organisations are encouraged to find creative and sustainable ways to develop and grow stability in an increasingly unstable environment. Often the only key differentiator will be the level of service provided; by measuring the effectiveness of internal (staff) and external (customer) relationships, Putting the Customer First allows an organisation to verify its service against a government initiated Standard, something which appealed to CEO Danny Maher:

“We wanted to achieve a quality standard because we promote ourselves as a customer centric organisation but needed a recognised, external body to prove this, and they have!. We want to do all we can to make sure that the way we work and relate to our customers ensures they feel valued and treated as an equal. As Putting the Customer First is all about an organisation’s focus on its customers, the standard was in line with our aspirations.

As a result of our Customer First experience, our staff and volunteers now feel more positive and happy as the standard is evidence that they are top class people. The framework for achieving the standard was very useful and allowed us to make practical changes as a result to grow our service.”

Customer First UK Chief Executive, Ted Stone says “Organisations who are achieving the Customer First Standard are sending clear messages to their customers that they put them at the heart of everything they do. We are proud to award Cricklewood Homeless Concern with the ‘Putting the Customer First’ Standard and encourage any other organisation looking for a tool to drive their business forward and to establish a distinction in their service to contact us.”

We’ve Got Quality!

January 2013 

Our Capacity Building Department have been awarded the ‘Matrix’ quality standard. The Assessor was very impressed with the training and employment services at CHC. Key strengths raised by interviews with CHC Customers, Partners and the Team were:

· The way we work and our impact 

… all have a story to tell, how they were when they came and how CHC changed their lives. Amazing  individual stories and journeys told with full praise to the workers and volunteers. These stories/journeys proved beyond doubt the wonderful services you provide to disadvantaged people”Matrix Assessor June

· The skills and experience of staff and volunteers 

Consistent delivery and approach were evident. Customers felt their wishes and skills were used and supported. The work of our fantastic volunteers adds value to the service and makes good use of community resources.

· Impressive partnership working 

The range of partnerships CHC has work well and benefit our customers enormously.

The CHC Capacity Building Team offer a wide range of support services for those looking for training or employment.

Weekly News from CHC– Week ending 25.01.2013

Weekly News from CHC – Week ending 18.01.2013

Weekly News from CHC – Week ending 11.01.2013

Weekly News from CHC –  Week ending 06.01.2013

Christmas at CHC

Friday 14th December 2012 

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported our Customer Christmas party this year. Some wonderful staff from HandsonLondon and ArcelorMittal volunteered at the event, and with 120 of our customers attending, they were kept very busy serving drinks, food and washing up. Alistair Lambert from Creative Cricklewood very kindly ran a fabulous workshop for making Christmas decorations. Everyone really got into the spirit of the event and contributed to a fabulous atmosphere. Our catering team provided a fantastic array of food and treats. Customers each received a present thanks to the generosity of local people including John Lewis Brent Cross and Carlow Association London. St Agnes RC Primary School brought presents and treated us by singing carols. This was followed by a musical interlude by CHC’s own singers and musicians. It was a brilliant event, and we are very grateful to everyone who was involved and made it such a success.

Weekly News from CHC – Week ending 21.12.2012

 TB Screening at CHC

Monday 17th December 2012

Did you know that in 2011 Brent had the highest rate of TB Western Europe?

An October article in the Brent and Kilburn Times highlighted the issue that TB on the increase. On Monday 17th December 2012 from 2pm until 3.30pm the London Mobile X-ray Unit (MXU) visited CHC as part of the ‘find and treat’ initiative. Targeting hard to reach groups, the MXU scans for the signs of TB and supports those accessing the service to obtain treatment.

For further information on TB, it’s symptoms and treatment see

Weekly News from CHC – Week ending 07.12.2012

Weekly News from CHC – Week ending 14.12.2012

 Goodman Masson Volunteering Event 

Thursday 6th December 2012 

On Thursday 6th December, 21 staff members from financial recruitment company Goodman Masson volunteered their time and energies at CHC.

CHC customers benefited from their experience with one-to-one interview coaching and C.V. workshops.

Weekly News from CHC – Week ending 23.11.2012

Route 18 Winter Shelter Update

Friday 23rd November 2012

The 5th Annual  Route 18 Winter Shelter opened on Monday 12th November and is currently supporting 11 people off the streets. This year 13 venues are providing urgently needed emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in the cold winter months. This is extremely beneficial not only for the customers but also for taxpayers, as without the shelter our only option of emergency accommodation for these clients would a B&B placement funded by housing benefit. Customers who are in the Winter Shelter come to CHC during the day. Here we support them into accommodation and they can access practical support such as showers, clothing, lunch and laundry.

The current group of  customers come from a variety of places including England, Poland, Germany, Iraq and Kuwait. Seven of the 11 are new to the streets. In the coming weeks CHC will be working with customers to ensure that they have a comprehensive support plan and leave the shelter with the skills required to sustain long term accommodation, obtain gainful employment and address underlying issues, meaning that they never have to return to this situation again.

As always the successes to date are down to a brilliant band of volunteers across all venues, staff at CHC and of course Brent Council and other funders who make the project possible. It has never been more crucial that all of us work together in an integrated way to both respond to and prevent further homelessness in our borough. Route 18 are still looking for one more venue which would allow them to operate two venues per night, at present it is one per night. With two venues per night more people can be supported and off the streets.

For further information on the Route 18 project or if you are interested in supporting the project, please see

Work Shadowing at BIS

22nd November 2012

CHC Capacity Building Director Carmen Llorente was working at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) on 22nd November 2012. This was part of the ‘a day in the life’ shadowing scheme organised by NCVO. The purpose of the scheme is to foster better working relationships between public and voluntary sector organisations.

Carmen says of her experience:

“ I shadowed Robert Sejjengo a Civil Servant at BIS within the Legal Team where he work on the Criminal Enforcement Unit. He is responsible –among other things – to collect evidence, handle witnesses and prepare the case for trial in the Crown court (if applicable for those firms/companies who have been reported/found to commit fraud or illegal business activities.

While at BIS I met with different senior officers of the Legal Team who presented, explained and discuss with me the different areas of work of the Legal Services. For example did you know that in 2011/12 the UK lost £73 billion in Fraud? In addition to the legal team I was given an opportunity to talk to Trade and Investment who just have a workforce of over 2000, the majority of which work abroad. They have large targets to meet, for example they have to help 32,000 UK companies find markets so they can make exports to other countries and bring 750 foreign companies to invest in the UK. These figures are only for this year, next year targets are much higher. I also met someone responsible for Social Enterprise Development when I had a nice chat about the future of Social Enterprise, something CHC is involved in fostering. I was glad to hear the government and BIS commitment to strengthen SE.

I would like to thanks all staff at BIS who I met and made my experience an interesting. In particular I would like to thank Ash Rashid, Chief Law Clerk; John Coan. Deputy Head of Training, People and Legal Profession; Ann Hughes Head, Online Communications Team from UK Trade and Investment; Mike Talbot, Prosecution Lawyer from Prosecutions/Enforcement; Saeed Khan Senior Policy Adviser, BE Infrastructure: BE Wider Business Environment & Social Enterprise. My special thanks to Robert Sejjengo for organising the day and for giving me such a wonderful welcome”

 “A Servant and Two Masters” 

Thursday 15th – Saturday 17th November

Well, we didn’t go to the west end, we went to the fantastic Dollis Hill Players production of “A Servant and Two Masters”. Performed from Thursday 15th November until Saturday 17th November, the play was held in Our Lady of Grace Junior School, Dollis Hill Lane. All profits from the performances were donated to CHC. A phenomenal amount of work went into the play from actors and behind the scenes. A huge CHC ‘Thank You’ to all those involved.

Missed it? Click HERE to see a YouTube clip of the final scene.


November 2012

Many Thanks to all those who told  us what you think about the possibility of CHC rebranding. The results are in and are currently being analysed. We’ll post the results once they’ve been collated.

 Sunday 18th November 2012 – Mitzvah Day

Mitzvah Day UK is a registered Charity based on the Jewish Values of ‘repairing the world’, ‘righteousness’ and ‘acts of loving kindness’. ‘Mitzvah’ is Hebrew for ‘Good Deed’, and this annual Jewish day of social action is an international event. The purpose is to encourage everyone to do a practical good deed and build stronger communities.

We’re pleased to say that for the past few years CHC has been the recipient of ‘Mitzvah Day’ activities. This year the Met Group and Solicitors Manuel Swaden gave up their lunch. Yeshurun Synagogue in Edgware cooked Shepherd’s pie for lunch for Customers. Members of Golders Green Synagogue and Shomrei Hadath Synagogue spent the day collecting food for us. Click HERE to see further  press coverage on Golders Green Synagogue’s Mitzvah Day activities and HERE to see pictures of their activities on their website.

The food we receive from events such as Mitzvah Day goes towards providing lunch for those who are accessing our support services, as well as providing take-away parcels for those on low income. It makes a real difference to the lives of our customers and we are very grateful to all those who took part in the event this year.

Weekly News from CHC – Week Ending 16.11.2012

27th September 2012 – CHC JobFair

Highlights of the day:

240 jobseekers attended (up 27% on last year)

Employers who attended; Asda, Avon, Barclays, Beacon Bingo, Denne, Durkan, Fenwicks, John Lewis, McDonalds, Marriott, Metropolitan Police Service, Travelodge

Notting Hill Housing attended with  details of training for those interested in working in Construction.

BACP were on hand to provide information on volunteering opportunities.

Volunteers from Hands on London provided CV workshops and supported customers who wanted to make their CV stand out.

15th September 2012 – Cricklewood Silk Road Festival 

Cricklewood’s first festival took place on 15th September 2012. The Broadway was busy with stalls and entertainment. Beacon Bingo was turned into ‘Casbah Corner’, Oaklands Road was ‘Not Hollywood’, The Crown became ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ and B&Q was turned into ‘Green Isle’. Stalls from local businesses and community organisations were at each site, along with performers.

The Festival was possible thanks to funding obtained by Cricklewood Improvement Programme (CIP) from the Outer London Fund. CIP is a CHC led project with the aim of  bringing the three borough councils who serve Cricklewood together with local businesses, residents, police and other interests in order to co-ordinate efforts for improvement.

If you have any feedback on the festival or are interested in finding out more about CIP please email or see the CIP facebook page

1st September 2012 – Cricklewood Wanderers Tournament

Saturday 1st September saw the 2nd Annual Cricklewood Wanderers Tournament. This CHC Team, part of our Youth Engagement Project, hosted the tournament at Powerleague in Wembley. 20 teams teams turned out to play and it was a fantastic day. The football was fast and furious, with winners ‘Northern Stage’ taking the cup in a thrilling final. The Youth Team wish to express their thanks to all who took part and supported the Tournament.

July 2012 – Get ready to Zumba!

Donna Sheehan and her fantastic Zumba Class raised £320 for the CHC Irish Elders Group. Assertive Irish Outreach Worker Olive Melvin, along with some of her group, gratefully accepted the cheque from Donna on 20th July.

July 2012 – Ethio-Italy Tournament

A team of 12 CHC football players, along with our football Coach Murad and our Youth Inclusion Worker Daniel,  took to the skies (again!) this month. The team were participating in the 10th Annual Ethiopian Sport and Culture Festival from 25th-28th July, which this year was hosted by Ethio-Italy in Rome.

There were teams from Germany, Sweden, Italy, Malta, Norway, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and of course England.Our players come back triumphant after winning the Ethio-European Cup. In addition individual awards were received by our team for: The Best Player, Best Goalkeeper, Best Coach and Best Team of the Tournament. Well Done to all!