Local Charity The Upper Room Wins £15,000 Prize

Special award for project which teaches ex-offenders to drive

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The Upper Room

London Housing Foundation

Broadway

King Street Homeless Centre Up for Award

Andy Slaughter

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Local charity The Upper Room, based at St Saviour Wendell Park Church in Cobbold Road has won the London Housing Foundation’s 21st Anniversary Award.

This year, the London Housing Foundation is celebrating its 21st anniversary by giving a special, one-off prize of £15,000 to a project or organisation that makes best use of volunteers.

The prize was awarded for a project run by the Upper Room called UR4Driving, which uses 60 volunteers who teach ex-offenders to drive in return for volunteer shift-work at another Upper Room scheme, the UR4Meals food bank, which collects, sorts, stores and redistributes food from supermarkets.

At the end of the two-part course, the participants emerge with a driving licence as well as employment skills including teamwork, punctuality and reliability.

The special prize was part of the London Housing Foundation's Andy Ludlow awards, which are open to all projects in London working in the field of homelessness and prizes are awarded to the organisations that demonstrate innovative and creative solutions for tackling homelessness in the capital, as well as recognising good practice.

The awards were established by London Councils in 1998 in memory of Andy Ludlow, former director of housing and social services in the London Borough of Haringey.

UR4Driving were presented with a trophy and a cheque for £15,000 by Richard Blakeway, the Mayor of London’s Advisor for Housing, at an event to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the London Housing Foundation at City Hall in London.

The Andy Ludlow award winners also included another local project, The Old Theatre in King Street in Hammersmith, which provides 12 studio flats for people who have consistently been evicted from other supported housing for anti-social behaviour.

Each resident agrees their own house rules with the hostel staff that address the specific reasons for eviction from other supported housing. Residents start to take responsibility for their behaviour and begin to feel empowered because they are involved in negotiating the rules they abide by. Residents are also given a small budget for soft furnishings so they can invest in their 'home'.

The Old Theatre, which is run by homelessness charity Broadway, received £2,000 for being shortlisted in the awards. 

The awards were attended by Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter, who said: " I was delighted to see the Upper Room claim the award."

November 3, 2011