Staff and residents welcome Mayor of Cromer and MP to revamped Genesis schemes

Genesis staff and residents welcomed Mayor of Cromer John Frosdick and Norman Lamb MP to an open day on Friday at three supported housing schemes for homeless people in Cromer.

Cabbell RoadMr Lamb and Mr Frosdick were treated to guided tours of 7, 24 and 26 Cabbell Road, all of which have been decorated by residents themselves. Guests were also invited to taste a selection of homemade cakes, sausage rolls, pizzas and more, which residents were taught to prepare in cooking classes. Residents also manned the barbecue and cooked a tempting array of burgers, sausages and chicken for guests to enjoy in the sunshine.

Last year, number 7 Cabbell Road was refurbished by residents who carried out five months’ worth of painting, papering and polishing as part of Genesis’s ‘Pride in Your Scheme’ initiative. This year, numbers 24 and 26 have followed suit, with residents working long hours over several weeks to paint the kitchens, lounges and hallways, and replace threadbare furnishings with brighter, refreshing colours that residents chose themselves. The corridors and stairways of both 24 and 26 (with 7 shortly to follow) have also been decorated with photos taken by one of the residents, Matt, who is a budding amateur photographer of scenes portraying life in Cromer.

Scheme staff also played their part by negotiating a 50 per cent discount with Homebase for materials.

Even the shared garden of 24 and 26 has been revamped, with a new barbecue installed on the terrace and vegetables planted which will be used in cookery classes.

Finally, all three schemes have had brand new windows and exterior paint along with new roofs as part of Genesis’ planned works which has really given all three schemes a lift.

One of the residents, Diane, said: “I was working all day every day painting the kitchen. It was a lot of hard work but well worth it as it really does make a difference to the scheme.”

The staff and residents are far from resting on their laurels as there is still work to be done to finish off the kitchens (the flooring is to be replaced) and there are even plans to build a summer house in the shared garden of numbers 24 and 26.

Enhanced Service Coordinator, Lee Ellis, said: “One type of support does not fit all and getting involved in all sorts of different activities really makes a difference. We have painting, gardening, decorating and cooking groups here and it means so much to residents that they can be involved with the redecoration, not only to make the place more homely but also to give residents the chance to develop their life skills.

“We’re also living proof that the ‘Pride in Your Scheme’ initiative works; the redecoration at number 7 was carried out over a year ago and it still looks like new because the residents have kept it that way.”

Last year, the three Cabbell Road schemes introduced Direct Access so that anyone wanting to live there can apply directly rather than need to be referred by an external agency, meaning that they can be housed and begin their journey to recovery more quickly. This is still a rarity in Norfolk, with only a limited number of schemes offering this option.

The Mayor said: “I’m really impressed with everything I’ve seen – and tasted! – here today. Well done to everyone who has worked so hard over the last few months.”

The Mayor was also happy to show his support for ‘Starts At Home’, a campaign run by the National Housing Federation to demonstrate the value of supported housing and the impact it has on people’s lives across the country.

Numbers 7, 24 and 26 Cabbell Road offer a total of 23 rooms and two self-contained flats for single homeless people. Cabbell Road also provides a limited number of emergency beds to rough sleepers in cold winter weather.

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