Opened in 1983, Lindley House provides 45 well-equipped single rooms for homeless men and women of all ages. There are also television lounges, a pool room, dining room and a large number of shower rooms, bathrooms and WCs. Many residents like to read and we have a large library of donated books.
Lindley House is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As well as being referred by voluntary or statutory agencies, prospective residents can refer themselves - an initial assessment will determine if they will benefit from the service provided and whether Lindley House is suitable for their needs. Each resident's support needs are assessed in detail when they move in - needs may range from those whose only issue is homelessness to those with drug & alcohol problems, mental health issues, challenging behaviour or a combination of these and other factors. The staff team works with each resident during their stay to ensure their needs are met (either directly by TAH or by our partner agencies) and that they are able to progress and, eventually, secure more permanent accommodation.
A dedicated catering team provides three meals a day and, throughout the day, there is access to tea and coffee. In 2008, the catering service was awarded the highest possible grading in the local authority’s assessment of food safety management.
TAH recently secured funding from the government’s Places of Change programme to remodel Lindley House including a residents’ launderette, a new reception area and a training centre where residents can take part in courses in - for example - literacy, numeracy, IT skills, plumbing, carpentry, DIY, cookery, food hygiene, budgeting, lifeskills etc. The refurbishment was completed in mid 2010.
Following an official streetcount that established there were still a number of people sleeping rough in Taunton, TAH secured funding from the government's Communities and Local Government department for the refurbishment of Norie House, previously used as shared supported housing, to enable the project to provide services specifically focused on rough sleepers.
Since December 2008, Norie House has provided six hostel bedspaces for rough sleepers who find it difficult to settle in standard hostel accommodation. When they begin their brief stay (likely to be four to eight weeks before they can move on to more permanent accommodation) the support needs of each resident are assessed and a support plan is agreed with the resident so that it is clear which areas are being addressed and how they will be helped to progress (either directly by TAH or by our partner agencies). Issues range from those whose only challenge is homelessness to those with drug & alcohol problems, mental health issues, challenging behaviour or a combination of these and other factors.
In addition to the 6 hostel bedspaces, there are a further 7 self-catering bedsits aimed at ex-rough sleepers. Support, whilst not as intensive as that provided within the hostel element of the project, continues to be given so that residents can continue to progress and secure more permanent housing.
In 2009, the staff team at Norie House began to operate a needle exchange service (supported by the Somerset Drug & Alcohol Action Team) where injecting drug users (including non-TAH residents) can obtain free sterile injecting equipment and return their used injecting equipment for safe disposal.
Norie House has proven to be a huge success, making a real difference to the safety, health, wellbeing and future prospects of a very vulnerable client group. This success could not have been achieved without careful planning and excellent partnership working between TAH, our neighbours, Communities & Local Government, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Turning Point, the Somerset Drug & Alcohol Action Team, the Police, Somerset Partnership, the Victoria Gate GP surgery and Open Door, a local drop-in centre.
Young Persons Project
Where appropriate and when they are ready, young residents from Lindley House – aged 16 to 25 – are given the chance to move to our 10 bed Young Persons Project in Herbert Street, Taunton. The project has 10 single bedrooms with a communal television lounge, large shared kitchen and a number of bathrooms and WCs.
The Young Persons Project is staffed from 8am to 11pm during the week and from 11am to 11pm at weekends, with regular visits during the night from mobile TAH staff. The project is entirely self-catering, with the dedicated staff team working with residents on budgeting, meal planning, cooking and hygiene skills as part of the preparation for the move to more independent living.
When they are ready, the young person can move to William Street, a nine bedroom house only a minute's walk from Herbert Street. William Street residents continue to be supported by the Herbert Street staff team.
In Herbert and William Street, residents work closely with the staff team to an agreed support plan which, although focussing on a number of areas, has a particular focus on the skills needed to sustain independent living. Residents are encouraged to participate in communal meals and activities to facilitate and promote a sense of community and a supportive atmosphere.
Dampiet House in Bridgwater provides supported housing to 12 single homeless people. TAH took on the support service in April 2011 and is working with the building owner and landlord (Sanctuary Carr-Gomm) to ensure that the residents receive the support they need whilst they work towards reintegrating into society. Careful support planning and lifeskills training are already in place and will be further developed in the coming months and years.
TAH has a number of houses in Taunton that are used as move-on accommodation for residents that have already been through the projects described earlier. Varying in size, all houses have a number of individual bedrooms with other shared facilities (kitchens, bathrooms, WCs etc).
Support is provided by the team from the Young Persons Project who visit regularly to talk to residents and make sure they are coping with independent living, linking in with community based support services where necessary. This support, whilst not as intensive as that provided within TAH's staffed projects, continues to be given so that residents can continue to progress and secure their own more permanent housing.
The TAH Meeting Room
At the rear of the Association's Head Office there is a large Meeting Room for local people, organisations and businesses. The room houses up to 30 people and can be hired from as little as £45 per day. Free tea, coffee and water is available to hirers, along with the use of a laptop, Powerpoint projector and flipcharts.
You can hire or enquire about the Meeting Room by calling Esther Bishop on 01823 273842 or emailing email@example.com.
Alfred House Training Centre
Situated behind TAH’s flagship hostel Lindley House, the Alfred House Training Centre has been developed specifically for TAH residents and others to access training in cookery, literacy, numeracy, IT skills and more.
The Centre’s specially fitted kitchen units have already been used for cookery classes, and it is hoped that with further development Alfred House will be used for a full programme of arts classes and practical training such as plumbing and decorating.
The Training Centre is also available for hire to external organisations.