"There are approximately 116 rough sleepers in Portsmouth who are homeless due to a variety of reasons. An interview with Hope House (a homeless shelter in Portsmouth) indicated that most homeless people in Portsmouth are rough sleepers because they can’t afford rent, they have experienced domestic violence or a loss of employment, they abuse substances or they leave home due to circumstances beyond their control."
"The homeless shelters our school has engaged with, have indicated that they receive many donations for food and toiletries etc. which take care of the residents’ physical needs, but there is not a lot of resources that help to take care of their mental health or emotional needs. The problem with this is that homeless people finds themselves in a vicious cycle of trying to improve their circumstances but they can’t because they suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental disabilities."
"Our Big Idea is called Skills4Change. It is a charitable service which focuses on providing opportunities for improving the mental health of residents in homeless shelters. In order to do this, homeless residents will need to learn skills that can help them bring about the change they are looking for. We want to teach and train homeless residents in shelters how to grow their own fresh produce. Learning to take care of something that is important to them will improve their mental wellbeing as they will have an opportunity to build friendships while learning how to become independent with a sense of purpose."
"Our charitable service will benefit homeless residents, the shelter and wider community. Homeless residents will learn new skills and in so doing will gain an increase in confidence, therefore improving their mental health. With our project, the shelter is given an extra resource that will help them to address the mental needs of rough sleepers. Because our project aims to get rough sleepers off the streets and onto a piece of land where they can tend their own vegetable patch, we decrease the amount of homeless people sitting around in shop doors, begging for money in the community."