Today we are thrilled to announce the winners of our annual Excellence Awards for 2023.
The awards recognise the innovative and impactful work happening across the homelessness sector to support people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping in England.
This year we received 127 entries across the five categories, 43 of which were shortlisted for an award. The winners and highly commended entries, listed below, demonstrated exceptional person-centred and trauma-informed approaches to support. They represent frontline homelessness services of all types and sizes from across the country.
The expert independent judges included Suzannah Young, National Housing Federation; Sarah Faber, Big Issue Invest; Ross Watkins, Emmaus SLC; and Steve Benson, independent consultant formerly of Two Saints. They were joined by four Homeless Link staff to name the stand-out category winners.
Winners and Highly Commended
Excellence in supported housing
This award recognises high-quality, safe accommodation options for individuals or couples experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness.
- Winner: The Marylebone Project, London
The Marylebone Project provides a life-changing service for vulnerable women in crisis and is the largest and longest-running centre of its kind in the UK. In 2020/21 it successfully settled 95 women into independent accommodation.
The organisation was commended for the sense of safety that it provides as a women-only space and trauma-informed practice, its high-quality modern accommodation provision and its strong values and inclusive practice.
- Highly commended: Great Places Housing Group - Docherty House, Manchester
- Highly commended: Your Place, London
Excellence in support and navigation
This category celebrates inclusive and compassionate projects or services providing the right support to meet individuals’ specific, diverse needs and aspirations.
- Winner: Exeter Navigator Team, Exeter
The Navigators are a multi-disciplinary team that provide a person-centred, trauma-informed service offer to individuals experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage. Support is non-conditional and long term and aligned with the individual`s’ own recovery journey.
The organisation was commended for its trauma-informed and inclusive approach, its preparedness to offer flexible support pathways and its strong multiagency working.
- Highly commended: Cranstoun, South East
- Highly commended: Rochdale Rough Sleeper Partnership, Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Best health and wellbeing initiative
This award celebrates health initiatives that are inclusive and accessible to everyone reducing health inequalities, and that are leading to improved physical and mental health outcomes enabling people to recover and remain well.
- Winner: Providence Row, London
Providence Row works with homeless and vulnerably housed people in East London. Its Tower Hamlets Health and Wellness Fairs project is an innovative, holistic way of supporting clients who would not normally access mainstream health provision. It delivered four Health Fairs (June ‘22 - March ‘23) attended by 285 people, with 72% accessing health provision on the day.
The judges commended the service for its inclusivity - considering marginalised members of the community such as non-binary people, who would be less likely to access a mainstream service. They were also praised for punching above their weight as a small organisation.
- Highly commended: Harbour Housing, Cornwall
- Highly commended: Homeless Health CIC, London
Outstanding achievement in outreach and rough sleeper provision
This award recognises approaches that either prevent rough sleeping from happening in the first place, or tailored, rapid responses that intervene and help someone recover and build an independent life off the streets where it does happen.
- Winner: Porchlight, Kent
Porchlight is Kent’s leading homelessness charity with 50 years’ experience providing innovative and inclusive support. It is building capacity locally and nationally to identify and support rough sleepers who are victims of modern slavery and transform existing approaches. Frontline staff also receive specialist women’s needs training to support specific gendered experiences.
Porchlight was recognised for its deep understanding of the need to outreach differently for different individuals and for meeting the specific need of support for victims of modern slavery.
- Highly commended: St Basils, Birmingham
- Highly commended: The Spires Centre, London
Social enterprise of the year
This award recognises social enterprises that can demonstrate a clear mission and strategic direction alongside a social impact that is creating better outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness.
- Winner: Emmaus Hertfordshire, St Albans, Hertfordshire
Emmaus Hertfordshire supports up to 36 people experiencing homelessness by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives. Its residents help to run ‘Out of the Emmaus Workshop’, which restores, upscales and sells furniture.
The organisation was commended for its focus on meaningful employment and skilled trade, which has the potential to lead to people securing jobs in many industries.
- Highly commended: Crescent Cleaning Services (Arc), Somerset
Congratulations to all the winners and highly commended entries
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, congratulated the winners on their success:
“From supporting women in crisis to empowering people with new skills that can lead to meaningful employment, Homeless Link’s annual Excellence Awards highlight the innovative, impactful and tireless work happening across the country to ensure that people have a place to call home and the support they need to keep it.
“This year, as homelessness organisations tackle soaring demand and navigate cuts to funding, it feels more important than ever to recognise these efforts. Our winners and commended organisations are providing exceptional services, and it has been fantastic to see the difference our members are making to people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.
“The sector has a crucial role to play in preventing and ending homelessness, and we hope in turn that government will recognise this and grant a funding uplift for homelessness support – in line with inflation – to ensure that services can continue to provide vital support.”