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Cosgarne Hall

Stop 3 - Tuesday 11th September 2018

Cosgarne Hall: combatting homelessness in Cornwall

Cosgarne Hall provides accommodation and tailored support for homeless adults in six properties in Cornwall. The charity has received three Charity Bank loans over the past six years to assist with property purchase, development and refinancing. Malcolm Putko, Asset and Operations Director at Cosgarne Hall, shares how Charity Bank’s support has enabled the charity to expand and develop its services, thereby helping more people.

“Cosgarne Hall began life when its owner recognised a social need in St. Austell to provide accommodation to single people suffering from homelessness. In 2009 it became a registered charity and has grown steadily ever since. The charity now manages six separate accommodation units and has supported hundreds of people with varying complex needs and chaotic lifestyles that prevented them from being housed elsewhere.

“Homelessness is a complex subject with a range of associated issues and we tailor our services and accommodation accordingly. In addition to our core supported accommodation facility, we operate a vulnerable female unit, a Hepatitis C unit for the street homeless undergoing a 12-week treatment plan, and a dry unit for those transitioning from rehabilitation.

“We provide residents with both counselling and health and wellbeing services, alongside activities, volunteering opportunities and engagement, which helps to build self-worth. Through our support, and the community’s understanding, we aim to help all those we can to reclaim their lives and, ultimately, live independently.

Eyes wide open approach

“We employ an ‘eyes wide open approach’ in tackling the substance and mental health issues that those referred to our service may have. We work to build trust, whilst providing support and guidance to our residents. We want to ensure they do not fear losing their accommodation due to their substance misuse issues.

“Working closely with Devon and Cornwall Police, the NHS, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), we have created a drug tolerant policy. This policy, and the backing of partners, has allowed us to be one of the first providers of supported accommodation in the country to pilot the use of Naloxone, an opiate overdose reversal drug.

“This project has saved 37 lives, by making the drug available to residents at Cosgarne Hall. Through this, we’ve reduced the risk of heroin overdose-related deaths. We provide training to not only residents and staff, but also contractors, external volunteers and other agencies. This breaks down some of the barriers and fears that may be associated with this type of issue.

How Charity Bank helped us grow

“In 2012 we highlighted the need to acquire more move-on projects to prevent bed blockages at Cosgarne Hall. There was a clear shortage of suitable single person accommodation that offers lower-level support for those not quite ready to live more independently. We were therefore looking for a loan to enable us to purchase another unit. However, as a small charity with a short trading history, many mainstream banks wouldn’t even consider us.

“With a minefield of legislation and austerity looming, Charity Bank looked beyond the negatives and concentrated on helping us achieve the positives. An ethical partnership was formed.

“With Charity Bank, it has always been ‘How is this next project going to help people?’, first, and ’How can we help you get there?' second.”

“Charity Bank has helped us grow from infancy to adulthood and we’ve had an excellent relationship throughout. Working with Charity Bank, you can actually call your manager and have a conversation, knowing full well that they will understand you, have been to see you and will always be flexible. Charity Bank’s sector experience has brought invaluable support and knowledge to us. They have always acted with our best interests in mind.

“As well as receiving loans from Charity Bank, we also made the decision to deposit our strategic reserves with them. As a charitable organisation, we strive to be as ethical as possible. Ensuring that our savings are being reinvested in other charities and social causes is therefore extremely important. Knowing Charity Bank as a lender, we were safe in the knowledge that our money will be a force for good, whilst being wisely and appropriately used. We would encourage any other individual or organisation to invest their money in a conscious, ethical way.”

Cosgarne Hall is just one of 38 Follow the Money visits. Explore further Follow the Money visits and see how Charity Bank savers' money is used for good.

See the previous Follow the Money visit – Totnes Renewable Energy Society and our next visit to Fivehead Village Hall.

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.

Last reviewed: 04/01/2022

#FollowTheMoney — Highlights from visit 3

Today's pictures are courtesy of Cosgarne Hall