Meals served July: 1,391

Meals served July: 1,391

Meals served August: 1,976

Meals served August: 1,976

Trustee Update

Thank you for taking the time to read our Sanctus newsletter. As Trustees, we are incredibly grateful for any and all of the support that the Chelmsford community offer us – whether it is helping to spread the word, attending a fundraising event, making a financial donation, or volunteering your valuable time with us. Every contribution makes a difference.

With the rise in the general cost of living we have so many additional individuals and families needing our support, and whilst we find ways to combat this, our own running costs are rising.

This month has seen a fantastic first – the Sanctus Beer and Music Festival – held in Little Baddow by our Café Manager Toni, our staff, and volunteers. The atmosphere, BBQ food and funds raised made for an excellent final event of the summer! We plan to use our new larger café facilities as much as possible to raise vital funds, so please watch this space and our social media platforms for details of upcoming events.

Planning ahead for the winter we are looking at how we can adapt our café to accommodate the high numbers of service users that we anticipate. As the weather turns colder we sadly expect to see a rise in rough sleepers, and more individuals needing our food provisions and hub support.

We meet monthly as a Board to assess our current financial status, gather feedback from managers in all areas of the charity, and plan ahead for future developments. Sanctus is always evolving and adding additional service provisions. The summer has seen us take on three counselling volunteers, and a volunteer dog therapist, and host an evening space for an addiction charity. We have a broad and extensive skillset as Trustees and we all enjoy steering the ship, through all weathers, to achieve our common aim – of creating and sustaining a community for those who are most vulnerable here in Chelmsford.

Sanctus Homeless Charity

Over the past few years, Sanctus has gone from strength to strength. We have faced many challenges, such as COVID-19 and now the cost-of-living crisis. Despite all of that, we have carried on, opened every single day, and even moved to a bigger building. We have lots of new team members, volunteers and supporters, and we really wouldn’t be where we are now without this army of people.

As a charity, we decided to mark this new era of Sanctus with a brand refresh, and we are proud to say that our new charity vision is “Rebuilding Lives 365”. Being there for homeless and vulnerable people every day of the year is important to us, and something we will always strive to do.

skydiving team 2022
skydiver 2022
Sanctus skydive 2022 close up 2
Sanctus skydive 2022 close up

Sanctus held its first ever charity skydive on 18th September, where 9 incredibly brave individuals completed a skydive to raise money for the charity. They raised £6,728 in total, which is absolutely fantastic.

Thank you to everyone who took part: Daisy, Barry, Sonia, Megan, Heather, Jamie, Stephen, Heidi and Miguel! And thanks to all the supporters who came to cheer them on too.

Support Hub Update

With the cost of living rising steeply, we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people becoming homeless, or with mounting debts, barely able to hold on to tenancies. It is a frightening time for the general population, especially for the vulnerable individuals accessing Sanctus.

The Hub team have seen more people than ever asking for help and we’ve completed a number of homeless approaches to the local Council. We’ve been working to stop evictions, we’ve made direct applications to housing associations for those over 55 or with registered disabilities, and we are continually assisting with payment plans for utility debts.

We currently support four individuals who are not living directly in Chelmsford but find Sanctus and the Hub an essential part of their life. This reiterates not only the need for our service but the fact that we really are a one-of-a-kind organisation in the Essex area.

Our Tenancy Sustainment Officer has been making regular home visits to a service user whose mental health is incredibly poor. She has supported him in organising medical appointments, obtaining medication, and cleaning and maintaining his flat, to keep it habitable and safe. This is an example of our team’s perseverance in building relationships. It has taken her significant time, care and consistency to build up trust with this individual, and to help him work towards successful outcomes.

We are lucky enough to have a small fund to support vulnerable clients in urgent need, and we accessed the fund this month to offer help with various issues, including overnight emergency accommodation, travel to new accommodation and/or medical appointments, and support for a service user so that she could buy her child a birthday present.

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Rock n roll bingo & curry night 2022 Sanctus flyer
banana cake Sanctus 2022
Chicken Casserole Sanctus 2022

Sanctus Café Update

Over the last few months, the café has seen first-hand the challenges that people are facing. With the ever-increasing financial pressures, we have more people coming through our doors looking for support. There has been an increase in the number of café visitors, along with the number of meals, hot and cold drinks, and food bank items being distributed. This has put a strain on our supplies, and our food bank store is slowly going down as the demand grows.

More people are staying for lunch, with some daily figures reaching 60-65. More individuals are coming in earlier and taking advantage of our breakfast facilities. This obviously takes its toll on our resources. Like every other business, charity and household we are experiencing our own challenges with the rises in utility bills, services and food costs. We are so grateful to the many outlets that supply us with food. Without these contributions, we would not be able to feed the vast number of service users that come through our doors 365 days a year.

The numerous volunteers who give up their time to come and help in the café, and collect food from various stores are all incredible. We have a great team who do a variety of daily jobs to ensure that help and support are there for all our visitors. We could not run as smoothly if it wasn’t for their time, effort and dedication.

We recently said goodbye to Dave who has been with Sanctus for many years, firstly as a service user himself, then moving into a volunteer position, and finally becoming a full-time member of staff. Dave’s knowledge of the problems involved in homelessness, and the specific challenges that go with it in the Chelmsford area, will be greatly missed – he has been an inspiration to so many people. We are so proud that Dave has been able to secure employment in an industry that he worked in before he became homeless. Don’t worry though, he hasn’t gone far and he still occasionally comes back to Sanctus to help over the weekends!

Beer and music festival picture

On Saturday 3rd September, Sanctus held its first mini Beer and Music Festival. The day was a huge success with lots of wonderful music, excellent food and drink, and plenty of good company.

We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came along to enjoy the day with us and helped to raise essential funds to support our work at Sanctus.

We would also like to say some special thank yous to the following people:

  • Clive Walker, for organising the musicians during the festival.
  • All the musicians who came along and filled the day with rhythm and song.
  • Essex Hog Roasts for their donation of the hog roast, which was delicious!
  • A lookers car dealership in Chelmsford (especially Rob, James and Jo) for their financial support of this event.
  • Steve and his family for allowing us to hold the event in their amazing garden.
  • All the staff and volunteers who helped behind the scenes to make it possible.
  • And most importantly, to our Café Manager Toni, who worked incredibly hard to organise the festival.

We aiming to hold another festival in July 2023, and we look forward to seeing you all there!

Thank you to the Great Baddow Flower Club who nominated Sanctus as their charity of the year. The club holds monthly demonstrations by experts at Great Baddow Parish Hall, to encourage people to have fun with flowers and foliage. There is a competition for the best floral arrangement on a designated theme, and people vote by putting coins into the box in front of their favourites. The flowers are then raffled off and taken home. £62 was raised in total – made up entirely of the small change members used to vote.

flower arrangement Sanctus 2022
Sanctus dinner being cooked October 2022

This year RSM UK gave all their staff the opportunity to use a volunteering day – where instead of working, employees were able to go out and give back to the community, as part of the firm’s commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibilities. Last month, we welcomed Drew and Alex who volunteered with us in our café. They enjoyed their time with us and described the experience as eye-opening. We have a number of other individuals from RSM UK volunteering with us in the coming weeks.

Thanks to RSM UK for supporting our cause in this way, and thank you to their team for coming along to help out. If you are a business that is interested in providing local volunteering opportunities for your staff, please get in touch!

The Sanctus Trustees are looking for a reliable and competent minute taker to attend monthly meetings for approximately two hours, to officially take the minutes of the meetings.

If you would be interested, we’d love to hear from you! Please email with a little bit of information about yourself and your experience.

Sanctus Homeless Charity