A COALITION working to prevent and end homelessness in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has met to continue conversations.

Homewards, from the Royal Foundation, led the meeting on Monday, March 25.

The conurbation has a wealth of knowledge and expertise through the Homelessness Partnership BCP and other initiatives including The Pier Partnership and Poverty Truth.

However, homelessness in the area continues to rise, with more than 570 children currently in temporary accommodation with their families.

Nearly a fifth of the population in the area are at risk of homelessness, Homewards said.

Bournemouth Echo:

The meeting concentrated on key local priorities, including better data and analytics, target prevention and changing the narrative around homelessness.

It also discussed ensuring those with lived experience of homelessness are embedded into the coalition are working groups, to help design solutions.

Speakers at the event included councillor Kieran Wilson, along with best practice case studies from Centrepoint, BCP Council and the Homewards team.

A number of people with lived experience spoke movingly, providing advice and knowledge through working group sessions which aimed to discuss local issues and how Homewards can support.

The Homewards programme is providing access to a network of expertise, potential funders and investors, as well as up to £500,000 in funding through The Homewards Fund.

Bournemouth Echo:

There is also a Homewards local delivery lead facilitating the project and provide strategic direction.

Pret A Manger is employing people in the area through its Rising Stars programme as a part of Homewards.

Homebase has also announced an investment of £1million to provide Home Starter Packs to residents who will move into Homewards innovative housing projects in BCP.

Paul Kinvig, CEO of Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people & organisations from across the sectors all committed to making a positive difference.

“I’m convinced Homewards can help harness and amplify the excellent work already being done and add an extra dimension of focused activity.

“We have the opportunity to both lead & learn as to how to help those individuals & families who really need deeds not words.

“Let’s remember this is all about making a difference in the lives of members of the BCP population.”