You may have come across the House of St Barnabas (HOSB) during a documentary on television about Crossrail called The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway.
Grout had to be injected through tubes under Soho Square to lift the earth back to its original position. HOSB is situated in a beautiful Grade 1 listed building and contains rare rococo plasterwork dating from about 1679 when Soho Square was being developed.
Alternatively you may have heard of HOSB as the charity that helps people in homelessness and social exclusion to get back into lasting paid work and onto the path of independence (it was in 1846 that Dr Henry Monro founded the House of Charity and it has been helping homeless people in London since 1861).
Nowadays a private members club is situated in the building with the majority of the profits from catering services being distributed back to the charity.
Here at Capital, we decided to support the charity over the last year because the work they do reflect some of our own core values around making a positive difference to people’s lives, albeit in entirely different circumstances.
capital pic 2One of our Directors, Don Fraser (pictured right with James Moody the COO) recently visited the HOSB to present our donation in person and was given a guided tour of the property and the beautiful chapel in the garden. Don learned that the HOSB partnered with Benugo the café brand in 2013 and via the Employment Academy, take people through the Benugo Learning Centre, working in conjunction with City & Guilds to offer accredited training.
The day of Don’s visit followed the annual Employment Preparation Programme Graduation Day held in the chapel. This is the end of a 12-week programme and in August 2015 17 people graduated and nine already have positions with the likes of Marks & Spencer, Foyles, Benugo, Premier Inn and Ceviche.
Since these programmes began in 2013, 77% of all graduates secured jobs within four weeks of graduating. It costs the Government about £26,000 per year to ‘support’ a homeless person whereas the EPP costs only £3,000 for 12 weeks. Whilst most of the work roles are in hospitality, other roles have been gained in banking, ambulance services and cleaning.
Here is what a recent graduate had to say…
“I was apprehensive about joining the Employment Preparation Programme at The House of St Barnabas. Our group was large and I was quickly put at ease by the team. Peer support became invaluable throughout the programme. The course focused on self-esteem, confidence building and self-belief, all of which I was in need of. We had many fabulous speakers who did motivational mini seminars, as well as “buddies” who supported us through our live work shifts at the House. We were given instruction in food safety and hygiene as well as barista training by Benugo. It was a well-rounded course in hospitality and self-awareness.”
There is one other alumni that you may have heard or seen on the television, John Smallshaw who came through serious addiction problems and homelessness and with the help of HoSB has turned his life around and is now a successful published poet and performer. Don and Alan recently saw John perform at a social investing event near Temple where he was both passionate and word perfect. The support provided to John by this charity has undoubtedly all made a positive difference to him and we are happy to play a very small part in the on-going success of HoSB.