Donors thanked for giving to Derventio’s charitable fund helping formerly homeless people back on their feet with training courses, shoes … and even a bus pass

Donors thanked for giving to Derventio’s charitable fund helping formerly homeless people back on their feet with training courses, shoes … and even a bus pass

Leaders of a charitable fund helping people with one-off items to help them get on with their lives after going through homelessness have thanked donors for giving so generously – despite the tough economic climate.


Derventio Housing Trust, whose headquarters are based in Boyer Street in Derby, said its Sylvester’s Fund charitable Christmas appeal had seen a high level of donations and they were extremely grateful.


Named after former Derventio Housing Trust resident Sylvester Cichowski, who left the organisation £4,200 in his will, the fund pays for a huge range of one-off practical items.


Derventio Housing Trust is an award-winning specialist social housing provider for people who have recently been experiencing homelessness. It was originally set up as a temporary winter night shelter in Derby in 2003.


Those who have accessed its services, for example if they have been through homelessness, abusive relationships and job loss, are able to apply to Sylvester’s Fund for help funding an item they particularly need to move on with their lives.


Over the past year the fund has paid for replacement birth certificates for those who have lost everything when their home is repossessed; black trainers for someone who found employment, and a replacement oven to someone who lost their job in lockdown.


It also funded a pair of steel-capped boots for a dad who wanted to retrain to be a tiler, but was not able to access the training without the right footwear.

Jackie Carpenter, assistant director of strategy for Derventio, said the organisation had even had a donation from a lady from Wales who used to live opposite its Derby offices when it was a night shelter, having been homeless herself.


She said: “We were really blown away with the scale of the donations to our Sylvester’s Fund Christmas appeal this year. It’s amazing that with the cost of living rising so much, people have been so generous. We’d like to thank all those who have donated to our fund – our total has far exceeded last year’s so we’re really pleased. Every penny given will go towards helping out a person who really needs it.


“The practical items that are given away by Sylvester’s Fund are everyday things that most of us take for granted, such as a mobile phone, or the cost of a taxi to a doctor’s appointment, a £25 exam fee to take part in a course, or a pair of pyjamas when in hospital. Often Sylvester’s Fund is able to make the difference between someone accessing a job and not – and it’s amazing how a little thing like a steel-capped pair of boots can be a barrier to someone being able to get on with their life. These are things we are happy to help out with and we’re so grateful to everyone who has helped us.”


One business who has given a lot of support to Derventio Housing Trust over the years is Derbyshire legal firm Shacklocks, which has branches in Derby, Belper, Ripley and Mansfield.


Marion Vesey, managing partner in Shacklocks, said: “There aren’t many of us who won’t have been touched by difficult circumstances from time to time. It’s important to us at Shacklocks that we remember that and do what we can to help. The help that this fund offers practical help also seems like a great thing too.”


Derventio now manages 600 bed spaces of accommodation for single homeless people in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire, and helps more than 1,100 people a year by offering housing, support and specialist projects in order that they improve their health and wellbeing, increase resilience and prepare for independent living, learning and employment.

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