Homelessness campaigner Amy Varle from Bury has been awarded a grant from the Winston Churchill Trust’s new Activate Fund to set up a ‘mastermind group’ of cross-sector practitioners, to come together and deliver best practice models for reducing homelessness across the country.
She is one of only 7 people nationwide to receive this award.
In the UK today an estimated 320,000 people are homeless and this number is steadily rising. Many services exist for the homeless, but they often lack resources of all kinds – especially funding. Amy plans to use the Activate Fund to explore collaborative working between different services.
Once the current lock-down restrictions permit, Amy will support a minimum of 15 organisations to participate in the project. She will develop this through networking events, workshops and mastermind sessions, each focusing on best practice techniques for homelessness resolution. She will gather the data and develop a technology-based assistance toolkit for services, providing up-to-date practical advice and support .
Amy said, “I am delighted to receive an Activate award from the Winston Churchill Trust. It is my hope that by driving a community of action forward, we can make meaningful and lasting impact together – and hopefully, positively alter the outcome for those who may face homelessness in the future.”
Amy is a housing consultant and homelessness campaigner who experienced homelessness herself as a teenager. She was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2016, supported by the National Housing Federation, to investigate pioneering strategies in the USA for homelessness prevention and response. As a result of her Fellowship, she became an advocate for the Housing First model, a scheme which gives people who are chronically homeless a home without any conditions.
She has been hugely instrumental in implementing the model in the UK and in 2017 was tasked with leading the creation of a flagship centre for homeless people in Manchester. These plans have been expanded and she is now working with her network to create a number of these centres across the country. These centres will benefit from the mastermind group of expertise, guidance and support which Amy will set up as well as the global tech gathering of practitioners which Amy will develop.
Amy is one of seven recipients of a grant from the Activate Fund. This is a new programme from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which supports Churchill Fellows’ projects during the key period when they first return from their overseas research and start to make change happen in the UK. This year the Fund is providing £101,000 in grants to seven Fellows, as part of a dedicated support package encompassing funds and non-financial assistance. The Activate Fund is a three-year pilot project, making its first grants in 2020.