Bulb members changing lives: a visit to Crisis

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In December, we experimented with how our referral rewards work. During the festive period, when Bulb members successfully referred one of their friends or family to Bulb’s renewable energy, we donated £50 to Crisis, the national charity for homeless people. The idea to donate to Crisis came from the Bulb community. The good cause that would receive the donation was voted on by hundreds of members. And we couldn’t be more proud that Bulb members raised a massive £12,250 to support Crisis’ critical work.

Other good causes in the running were the White Helmets (which also received a £500 donation), MIND, Climate Action and the Prisoners Education Trust.

Today, we were lucky enough to get a tour of the Crisis Skylight Centre in East London when we delivered the donation to Mayaz Rahman, who works on partnerships for Crisis. It was a fascinating visit to a truly inspirational service. We learnt a lot about the organisation, some of which we wanted to share here.

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Crisis is in its fiftieth year of operation. For most organisations that would be a cause for celebration, but it’s a bit more complicated for Crisis.

The charity started in 1967 in response to the Ken Loach film ‘Cathy Come Home’ and a publicity campaign by two Conservative MPs William Shearman and Ian Macleod. The longevity of Crisis, no mean feat for a charity under financial pressure with a rapidly shifting policy context, is bittersweet because their objective is to end homelessness. While they’re proud to be nearly fifty, they’d prefer it if they didn’t need to exist.

Since the sixties, Crisis has evolved to meet the changing needs of single homeless people. Crisis is now a year-round education, employment, housing and well-being service provider. Not to mention it's powerful campaigning role.

One thing that came as a bit of a surprise during the visit was that Crisis doesn’t actually offer any shelter. (Apart from limited sleeping places over Christmas.) Instead, they work on getting people into employment and homes permanently. They focus on getting people the experience and network they need to get back on their feet. They even have their own fantastic café and event space where their members can get work and gain expertise. Not to mention the Skylight Centre itself.

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The Skylight Centre is an incredibly well-run facility. It offers a wide range of training and classes to people affected by homelessness. Crisis's Model of Change matches each homeless person with one to one support in the form of a coach as well as access to a huge range of classes and workshops.

In our short visit, we saw everything from English as Second Language grammar classes to hairdressing. From extensive art studios to banks of computer equipment. The atmosphere in the building was one of determination to give people the tools to make a lasting change to their lives.

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That kind of support doesn’t come cheap, though. On average, each client journey with Crisis costs £785. As a result of the Bulb donation, Crisis confirmed that 15 people will be able to receive dedicated support to get out of homelessness. That’s 15 lives transformed. All thanks to Bulb members.

So, Bulb members, we salute you. A huge thank you for referring in December. We're excited to see what the next idea to come from the community will be! 

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