Originating as a community project providing humanitarian response to rough sleepers in Exeter, the charity officially opened its doors in December 1994, having being given permission by the Central Parish of Exeter to adapt two thirds of St Petrock’s church for use as a homeless centre.
Over 600 people per annum face homelessness and multiple disadvantages in Exeter and the surrounding areas. Many of those who use St Petrock’s are people often viewed as being on the fringes of, or outside of, society. They include rough-sleepers, those being supported in accommodation subsequent to homelessness, those facing imminent homelessness, those released from prison and those discharged from hospital, mental health facilities/specialist accommodation.
Sadly for many, homelessness may be accompanied by mental health issues, drug and/or alcohol problems, often as a result of traumatic events in childhood, as well as a complicated medical issues, often a result of many years of rough sleeping. All of which increase the difficulties in achieving stability and independence within the wider community.
For over 24 years, St Petrock’s has been the first point of contact for people who are homeless, or vulnerably housed, in Exeter and surrounding areas. Our centre in Cathedral Yard is both the heart of our services and the gateway to specialist service providers. It is unique in the city, in that it offers its own accommodation routes in addition to basic survival services and advice and support, all under one roof.
Our work tackles not only the issues of homelessness but also the accompanying factors, such as anti-social behaviour and wider social inclusion issues.
In 2017/18, 463 individuals accessed our drop-in services at St Petrock’s centre and 243 people were supported into accommodation.
The total cost of running these services runs at £500,000 pa on average and 94% of our income is spent on providing services which directly support our clients. As a local charity, we are fortunate to have the support of the local community which provided some 58% of our income, in 2017/18.