Home for Good

As Home for Good comes to an end (Julia, Dee, Freda, Peter, Claire) reflect on their experience as volunteers and consider what we can do to make a difference.

Background Shape
Church Window Mask
house keys

A Shakespearean Sonnet About Doors by Ian McMillan (First published in Big Issue in 2021)

It’s not much to ask. Just a door to lock.
A door that won’t break when someone kicks it.
Door with a keyhole. Respond to that knock
Or not. My choice. It’s broke so let’s fix it:
The world, I mean. Not the door. That’s ok.
It’s my door, to my room. Look: here’s the key.
The world, though. That’s different. Somewhere to stay
Is what we all need. Somewhere to be me
And not just someone you blithely ignore
When you see me sleeping on the street.
Let’s begin with this. A door. Just a door
To start with. A door. Food. Then light and heat.
The world must respond to this simple truth:
Let’s all have a door. Let’s all have a roof


SJP has delivered Home for Good in Partnership with the Passage for three years.  As part of the scheme volunteers have met with someone who has experienced homelessness but is now in more permanent accommodation, regularly for up to a year, with a view to helping them find their feet in their local community.   Whilst it has never been a large scheme at SJP, it has been a valuable experience for the small group of us who have participated.  In the words of one of our volunteers:

‘ I think a big part of my role is to see if I can find what people are naturally good at and discover how to nurture that.  In doing that together, we find a way to give power and motivation back to the people we are working with, which is lovely.’

If we ever doubted the value of what we were doing, we only had to listen to the moving tributes paid at the farewell party held at the Passage on the 22nd March.  What to us volunteers was an hour or so of our time in our busy week, had had more of an impact than we appreciated, and as we have said our final goodbye’s, the sadness has been on both sides.  The scheme has come to an end after 10 years, as funding is redirected towards the needs of the ever-growing number of people beginning their experience of homelessness.   However, getting the key to the front door is only the first step in making a home, and Home for Good was part of the safety net, preventing people from ending up back on the streets again.

What have we learnt?

  • Alongside the scheme that we have been part of, Home for Good also ran a social club for people who have experienced homelessness, originally weekly but latterly, for lack of funds, monthly in a church hall, and this is also coming to an end. A meal was provided but more important than the meal, was the social contact, the meeting up with friends, sharing food and doing ‘stuff’ together. At the farewell meal, tears were literally shed that the social club would be stopping.  The social club is not unlike Feast which runs every Monday at SJP, also providing this much needed social interaction.


  • We have really appreciated the input and support from the Passage Team; combining the volunteer time of a church with the expertise of an organisation has really worked. Not only have we had access to excellent training and support, but if for any reason were worried about what was happening with our ‘companion’ we could pass this on to a key worker or someone with specialist knowledge.


  • As a group of volunteers our experiences have been wide ranging, thought provoking and sometimes deeply shocking. One volunteer described how ‘the project brought me face to face with usury. We hear about it, but seeing someone literally choosing not to eat over a period of months to pay back money at terrifying rates of interest, watching them get thinner and thinner and being powerless to do anything about it has been very sobering for me.’  The very act of standing beside that person as a companion however is of incalculable value even though it may not feel like that. As another volunteer says: ‘I don’t know how you count statistically the importance of knowing someone cares and is there for you but this is what Rose (director of Home for Good at The Passage) and her team have achieved.’


How can you help?

Desmond Tutu said Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  Some suggestions:

  • Consider volunteering in-house at SJP for Feast or Sunday breakfast which are both understaffed at present. The Passage also has various opportunities for volunteers worth exploring.


  • Search out the film ‘Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son’ released in February, directed by Lorna Tucker who was herself homeless as a teenager and young person: https://www.someonesdaughterfilm.org. The film explores the experience of homelessness through many pairs of eyes and discusses the routes out of it with spokespeople from the main charities for homelessness and with John Bird, founder of The Big Issue. Without exception they believe that it is a solvable problem, we do not have to have people living on the street.


  • As well as delivering radical hospitality through Feast, SJP is part of Citizens UK. ‘Speaking out with others’ is an important part of our three-year strategy, and Housing is one of the issues that will be at the forefront of the commitments we are asking mayoral candidates to make at the London Mayoral Assembly on the 25th April at Methodist Central Hall.  We want to ensure that everyone, regardless of income or background, has an affordable, safe, warm, sustainable home to live in.’   Contact Claire at churchwardens@sjp.org.uk if you would like to join the SJP group who will be attending.