Homes for Cathy member Hightown has recently expanded its homelessness services to Buckinghamshire, working with Buckinghamshire Council to co-produce a new move-on service that is proving a lifeline for single people
Opened in 2021, Ardenham House is Hightown’s first specialist homelessness service in Buckinghamshire. Located in the centre of Aylesbury, the RSAP (Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme) funded service was co-produced with Buckinghamshire Council to provide a vital stepping stone between emergency accommodation and independent living.
Service users at Ardenham House live in their own self-contained studio flats and are supported by our on-site team for up to two years as they prepare to secure and maintain their own tenancy, receiving help with health issues, substance use, budgeting and housing applications.
Stuart moved into Ardenham House in October 2021 after he became homeless through alcohol addiction. He says:
“I fell into a bit of a dark place really. I was living in a rented bedroom and was drinking a lot. The drink became a problem and that’s why I lost the tenancy and became homeless. I got put into temporary accommodation and was put in touch with AHAG – Aylesbury Homeless Action Group – who helped me. I was also in hospital for five weeks due to the alcoholism and was referred to One Recovery Bucks, which specialises in supporting people with alcohol addiction.”
Whilst in temporary accommodation, Stuart was assessed for his suitability for a tenancy at Ardenham House. Since moving in, he’s made great progress.
He adds: “I get all the support I need here. They help me with letters, bills, monitoring my alcoholism – they’re just fantastic. They are there 24/7, day and night. If I need to go and knock on the door, there’s always someone there on the other side.
“I’ve recently gone back to work, back to the job I used to do before. They took me back on and my colleagues there have stood alongside me. At the moment I’m just taking it day by day with the help and support of the staff here, AHAG and One Recovery Bucks. Having my colleagues at work also makes all the difference.
“At the moment I’m taking it week by week at work; it has been a struggle because I was off for 15 months and I’ve gone straight back into it. I’ve achieved a lot because 15 months ago this was never possible. It just goes to show that there is help out there but people need to work towards it, help themselves. Being here has changed my life – life is finally getting back to normal.”