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Chestertons News 18 August 2018

Launch of First Response

Chestertons has funded a ground-breaking new programme set up by our charity partner, St Mungo's, to help reduce homelessness in London by getting more Londoners to volunteer. The First Response programme aims to locate and engage with rough sleepers faster, and encourage them to make use of St Mungo's support services to help get them back into supported living. We have funded a new Volunteer Coordinator in order to establish a large pool of volunteer workers from across London, to facilitate the launch of First Response.

Since recruiting the Chestertons-funded Volunteer Coordinator in April, the programme has proved a phenomenal success, with over 150 Londoners signing up to volunteer for 'homeless outreach walks'.

Alice Soper, St Mungo's new Volunteer Coordinator for First Response, has noticed that the First Response programme is already making a real difference. Alice comments: 'We've seen an overwhelming number of Londoners apply. From young professionals; to ex-accountants; to couples who are volunteering their time together, it's been really encouraging to see so many people join us in our mission to end homelessness.'

These new volunteers have already clocked 615 hours walking the streets helping to locate rough sleepers across the capital. The programme is currently operating in four London boroughs: Westminster, Tower Hamlets, City of London and Islington, with nine shifts taking place each week.

Chestertons has supported St Mungo's as our nominated charity for three years, and have been involved with a number of initiatives with the charity. Since setting up Chestertons' Charity Committee in 2014, we have seen our charitable activities grow every year, including many of our staff volunteering on numerous 'outreach walks' and supporting formerly-homeless people make the transition into the private rented sector. Through these activities our staff have seen first-hand the huge problems some people face in their lives.

Our Marketing Director and Chairman of Chestertons' Charity Champions, Giles Milner, states that the 'First Response programmes is the single biggest project' that Chestertons has been involved with: 'We are incredibly excited to be working on it alongside St Mungo's to reduce homelessness across London and hope to get some of our clients involved over the coming months.'

CEO of St Mungo's comments: 'Chestertons has been involved in this project from the initial concept stages and we have been overwhelmed by their support and enthusiasm. Without their support, we simply could not have got this programme off the ground.'