A Roof for All - one year on

Just over one year ago, on Sunday 19 May, The No.1 Court Celebration took place to commemorate the enhanced No.1 Court including its new retractable roof. The exhibition of tennis and music, alongside an online fundraising auction, helped to raise £650,000 for the Wimbledon Foundation’s new fund, A Roof For All, launched in conjunction with The London Community Foundation (LCF), to help combat homelessness.

The funds raised are providing multi-year grants to four homelessness charities operating in the All England Club’s local community of Merton and Wandsworth with further funds set aside to support young homeless people in London. More than £400,000 was committed to Ace of Clubs, Glass Door Homeless Charity, SPEAR, The Spires Centre and Western Lodge to support their core operational costs. Kate Markey, Chief Executive of The London Community Foundation (LCF) says:

The funding environment for grassroots organisations is often incredibly challenging. Small organisations are often on a hamster wheel of fundraising and when they’re not fundraising, they’re delivering. We at LCF try to influence our donors to think about investing in organisations as well as their projects.

SPEAR used their first year of funding to invest in a new database and staff training. Liz Griffiths, Head of Trust Fundraising at SPEAR said, “The Wimbledon Foundation’s generous funding is having a far-reaching impact on the quality and effectiveness of the work that we do. A new database may sound dry but actually it’s brilliant because it means we can better measure homelessness locally and by sharing this information with local councils we can identify gaps which will ultimately reduce rough sleeping.”  SPEAR also used the funding to train their staff to better respond to clients’ needs. The introduction of an Outcomes Star is helping clients to identify what changes they want to achieve and staff use the Star to recognise changes and motivate people. Griffiths says, “We are able to better consult with the people we support and we’re using that feedback to improve the way we work which in turn helps people to be empowered and as independent as possible.”

Glass Door used their first tranche of funding to develop a new shelter administration system and recruit two new support staff posts reducing pressure on their front-line staff and enabling them to focus on guests. Lucy Abrahams, CEO of Glass Door said, “These dedicated roles mean that we can further develop our services and partnerships and improve the efficiency of our processes which is particularly important as we continue to grow to meet the demand for our help. Our new administration system is making a significant difference by streamlining processes and integrating information across both our night shelter and casework services. Core funding can be much harder to secure so we are particularly grateful for this multi-year grant which helps us to plan forwards with confidence and direct more unrestricted funds towards our front-line services.”

The donation to Ace of Clubs has enabled their staff to continue and reinforce the many services they provide to rough sleepers including client case working, the daily provision of meals, a clothing store and laundry, an in-house nurse, a visiting dental service, access to showers, educational courses and a computer room where clients can access the internet to search for jobs and thereby maintain their benefit entitlements.    

The Spires Centre has been able to purchase new laptop computers so that all staff now have a laptop to both record information and better support service users; trial a new IT system and develop new partnerships with local organisations. Nigel Carpenter, Chief Executive of The Spires Centre said, “For a charity the size of Spires, core funding gives us a level of security that enables us to plan strategically and take the time to develop new partnerships that will add value to our own service as well as developing new services that benefit service users.”  

A one-year grant to Western Lodge in Tooting enabled them to install a small shower room and create a bedroom for emergency referrals of homeless men.  

Helen Parker, Head of the Wimbledon Foundation said:     

The funds raised by A Roof For All have really helped to strengthen the local community response to homelessness. By increasing the capacity and sustainability of these organisations, they are better placed to support vulnerable people off the streets and towards healthy and positive futures.