Swindon churches raise £8,700 to help vulnerable young people live independently

Caring parishioners from three local churches in Swindon Old Town have raised an incredible £8,700 to fund a 12-week life skills programme to help vulnerable and homeless young people move successfully from their sheltered accommodation into living independently in a home of their own.

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The young people, aged 16-25, are from a number of supported housing projects: Swindon Foyer in Bath Road; Radnor Lodge in Radnor Street; Wiltshire House in Old Town and Milton Road and Ellis House in the town centre operated by social and supported housing provider Stonewater.

The churches’ year-long fundraising efforts, which ran from January last year, included a charity concert, a wine tasting night, and high tea, organised by the congregations at Christ Church on Cricklade Street; Immanuel Church on Upham Road and Bath Road Methodist Church.

“The training programme will cover basic DIY skills needed in the home, such as changing light bulbs and plugs, basic painting and decorating and taking flooring measurements,” says Michelle Mueller, Stonewater’s Swindon Foyer Manager who, with her team, has supported the churches’ fundraising drive by giving frequent talks to raise awareness. “Any spare money will be used to support the young people once they have moved on, offering them ongoing information, advice and guidance direct from the projects.

“This is an amazing amount of money and we are so grateful to everyone for being so generous with their time and financial support. Many of our residents have had tricky starts to life and need just a little bit of extra support to find the confidence to live independently,” says Michelle. “Training programmes like this one are so important for equipping young people with the knowledge, information and the life-skills to move successfully into leading happy, healthy and rewarding lives in a home of their own and staying safe. We just want to say, ‘thank you so much’!”

Swindon parishioner Margaret Williams says: "This project involving the three denominational churches in our Partnership, has done more than raise money - it has raised awareness of the Foyer, which is on our own doorstep, and the needs of the young people there. It has established a link between our churches and the Foyer which we hope will continue in the future."