Sheriff pops in for a CHAT
DEVON'S new High Sheriff, who has backed an organisation which has donated millions of pounds to social welfare projects, saw first-hand the work of a homelessness charity during a visit to Tiverton.
Robin Barlow is supporting the Devon Community Foundation, which pays £1m a year to frontline groups which carry out life-changing work within communities.
This includes the Churches Housing Action Team (CHAT), based on Gold Street, which is one of six causes supported by the foundation Mr Barlow will be visiting this year.
Robin Barlow said: "I am hugely impressed by the work of CHAT. It offers a much-needed service to those who are vulnerable and in need and address a growing issue, one that is so often hidden but which is nonetheless very real in Mid Devon."
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The foundation supports hundreds of voluntary and community groups and aims to create more inclusive communities.
CHAT offers free, impartial and confidential housing advice as well as free tenancy support to vulnerable people in housing need and in March 2012, it received £5,000 from the foundation.
In the last eight years, the foundation has distributed nearly £8m to over 2,700 projects across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.
CHAT was founded as a result of the large number of people experiencing housing difficulty in Mid Devon. Its principle aim is to help vulnerable people in need of housing gain access to decent, secure and affordable accommodation. The charity believes everyone has the right to live their life free from fear, violence and abuse and enables people to live independently and promote positive change through their continuing support.
Sharon Bradshaw, from CHAT said: "We continue to see an ever increasing number in our Mid Devon community who have housing difficulties. Some are homeless and need help finding accommodation and others are struggling to retain their homes. This can be for a wide variety of reasons particularly in the current climate with so much uncertainty and change in both the workplace and with finances in general.
"We are so grateful for the help and support we receive from the foundation. It is great to have the support of those in our local community as without it we would be unable to continue to support those in need of help."
Martha Wilkinson, the foundation's chief executive, said: "CHAT is a fantastic community group. The dedication and compassion of their staff is extraordinary and we are delighted to be able to help. Projects like this have a dramatic impact in their own communities are an essential part of the fabric of our society and need all the support they can get – that's what we're here for."