Our vision is to support people while they heal themselves and enable their positive engagement with community.
Our mission is to demonstrate to service users and the community that homelessness and chaotic living that leads to personal misery, crime and eventually tragedy can be eradicated through positive changes, encouragement, support, education and inclusion.
Cornerstone began in June 2010 as a not-for-profit company Ltd by guarantee, we achieved full charitable status in February 2012. Our aims are the relief of poverty hardship and distress in particular by the provision of accommodation support and counselling for vulnerable people who are homeless or in acute housing distress and suffering poverty hardship or distress in the North East of England.
Cornerstone engages individuals who are homeless and those most at risk of becoming homeless and/or socially excluded, including ex offenders. We provide services within the North East of England, in particular County Durham. Our innovative interventions offer supported accommodation at different stages; these include crash pads, emergency accommodation, supported independent living and finally full independent living. The initial intervention focuses on the National Government Agenda ‘No Second Night Out’.
In addition we offer a dedicated support package to service-users throughout their journey, for example, an in house counselling and life skills training programme and vocational skills training through our successful workshop project which is currently funded by The Northern Rock Foundation and Community Action Against Crime Innovation Fund. We offer retail training through our mobile stall where we sell the products created in the workshop by our service-users to small businesses and members of the local community. The stall also acts as an outreach tool to raise awareness and promote our cause, it enables us to liaise with the community to gather feedback and encourage social inclusion.
We have been providing accommodation to our specific client group for 17 years, while the holistic approach has been offered for the past 4 years. Due to the nature of our work and the service-users we engage it is important to us that we work closely with the local community to gauge public understanding, feelings and any concerns/issues they may have. This ensures a proactive approach to community involvement rather than working re-actively and endangering the trust and reputation that we have worked hard to achieve. To ensure this is done effectively we carry out a large amount of outreach work; attending key meetings and being involved in regular community activities, supporting our service-users, where possible, to be involved in staffing the activities. We feel this gently challenges some of the community’s negative perceptions towards our service-users, allowing them to be viewed as a resource given the opportunity.
As well as ensuring our own service-users and tenants have the best possible route to sustainable independent living, we accept referrals via a long established referral pathway. Referrals are received from the Police, Probation Services, local prisons and Local authority. We have developed effective, sustainable relationships with referrers, which enables us to provide holistic support for our service-users.