The Regional Manager for the East of England is Christine Spooner. Chris's role is to help build the capacity of the homeless sector by sharing best practice and providing practical advice and support to local services.
The East of England is a diverse region encompassing 47 local authorities, 10 Supporting People teams and 7 sub regional housing partnerships.
Homeless Link has over 45 member organisations in the East of England.
Homeless Link research in 2007/8 found that in the East of England:
Homeless Link's Local Homelessness Statistics Tables and National Summary Table show a wide variety of the latest local figures on statutory and non-statutory homelessness, planned moves and numbers of services.
Chris will be helping to support the adoption of the Places of Change approach in the region.
The Places of Change section is currently being updated.
In March 2009 Wintercomfort was announced as one of the 15 organisations to be given SPARK funding for one year.
SPARK is a pioneering development and investment programme, it aims to inspire organisations to build social enterprises that will prevent and tackle homelessness. SPARK's partners include a number of successful social enterprises (including the Big Issue), Communities and Local Government and national/international businesses, including BT and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Since the announcement, Wintercomfort have been receiving practical support in refining their business plan before a “Dragons Dens” style pitch. On the 10th June 2009 they successfully received £100,000 toward the start up of Winterwillow, a company designing, marketing and retailing willow craft products including garden sculpture and eco-coffins.
Chris has a background in the delivery and development of frontline services for people at risk of social exclusion, service-user involvement and multi-agency approaches to meeting complex needs.
After many years in adult, community and further education Chris has spent the last eight in settings which were partnerships between Local Government, Health and the Voluntary Sector. For six years she managed an adult and community advice and learning centre, together with outreach provision, attached to a Sure Start Programme but open to all. Whilst there, she worked closely with service-users to develop a programme which would support them in moving towards inclusion and employability. She then moved on to the Refugee Council where she was a Project Manager for the Gateway Protection Programme, the UK Government's Refugee Resettlement programme, part of a wider initiative by the United Nations HIgh Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This role included management of both case-work and tenancy support services.
If you would like to know more about the work of Homeless Link in the East of England, please contact Chris on 077997 06563 or by email Christine Spooner.