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Alms Grants: Homely Hostel

BEFORE: Kean Street, 2nd Floor
AFTER: Kean Street, 2nd Floor

Single Homeless Project – Kean Street received a grant of £3,000 in October 2020 to refurbish three communal spaces in the building – the reception area, communal kitchen and canteen area.

After some other funding to improve the reception area, the residents suggested the second-floor lounge as an alternative space with potential for improving life in the building.  This space is featured in the photos above.  It had been unused for some time and was in a state of disrepair.  Now, it’s a welcoming and well-furnished space used for group work, meetings and relaxing, with 6 sessions per week and ideas for new groups.

Staff and residents contributed to planning, decision-making, and decorating in all the rooms. The residents made design choices as the lounge developed and chose features to have an ongoing impact – magnetic blackboard, shelving and plant pots.  The communal kitchen was re-decorated and a new table and chairs added.  The canteen is a really important space used by the residents three times a day, but it felt very institutional – so changing the colour scheme and adding modern, comfortable seating and tablecloths plus pictures and plants has really enlivened the space.  Lots of positive comments were received from residents including ‘It’s certainly an improvement isn’t it(!)’ and ‘it adds a better shape and flow to the room [the canteen]’.

Overall, the developments created intrigue and optimism from residents as an example of change and investment in the service.  It led to numerous opportunities for conversation and joint working between residents and staff, helping to promote co-production in other areas too.

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