I have been working in the homeless sector for a number of years in a variety of roles. I started as a night worker, then on to be a project worker for Broadway.
During this time I found my passion to support others to address there health, setting up a new health project in Hammersmith and Fulham. This lead to me to become the Homeless Health coordinator for Hammersmith and Fulham. More recently, I have worked in Westminster at King Georges hostel and in Brent supporting a younger client group. I now have the opportunity to work for Groundswell, an organisation I have always held in high regards, first working with the team in 2008 in Hammersmith while I was a project worker.
Director of Advocacy
Kate has joined Groundswell in October 2012. Kate has been working in volunteer management for the last fifteen years. Her first job was managing London Nightline where she was the only paid member of staff, working with 100 volunteers. Since then she has worked in a variety of different volunteer management roles including National Volunteer Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust and Information Officer at Volunteering England. She has also managed projects making volunteering more accessible; spearheading the campaign to allow volunteers on benefits to claim lunch expenses. Kate has had several books on volunteering published, including ‘Good Practice Guide’, ‘Deciding Whether to Involve Volunteers’ and ‘Selecting Volunteers’ written for Volunteering England, and ‘Working With Volunteers: a Good Practice Guide for Refugee Community Organisations’ – written for the Evelyn Oldfield Unit.
Director of Research and Campaigns
Martin oversees Groundswell’s Insight and Action work and the day-to-day operations of the organisation. He joined Groundswell in April 2014 so he could follow his passion for peer–research and participatory practice. Previously Martin has worked for various homelessness organisations, at home and abroad, including Crisis, Broadway, Homeless Link and Casa Ioana (Bucharest).
Sharon is one of the HHPA Project Managers, supporting the Peer Advocates in the boroughs of Hackney; Camden; Hounslow & Wandsworth. She has well over 10 years of experience working in the homelessness sector in a range of different roles from housing to drug & alcohol support and currently sits on the board for a small charity called MOSAC. “I truly believe all people should have the right to input into decisions made about their lives, treatment & care. Working for Groundswell allows me to see this put effectively into practice.”
John is a HHPA Project Worker. His job is to support our clients to deal with the challenges and barriers that are put in front of them. This might be something simple like fares to travel or something more complicated – either way – it stops them getting the help they need. As he explains: “Having been homeless I understand the reasons why people struggle and also why services struggle to reach those that might need them most. This is where Groundswell really helps – we are the bridge. I passionately believe that clients have the right to be treated with dignity and empathy and because of this address their own health issues and see their own lives get back on track.”
Rob credits his volunteering work with Groundswell as playing a key part in his own move away from homelessness. He began volunteering with Groundswell in 2014 offering one-to-one support as a Homeless Health Peer Advocate, first specialising in supporting people diagnosed with tuberculosis. This has given him a deep understanding of the health issues homeless people face and the barriers they often meet to effective treatment. He strongly believes that homeless people have a right to have their voices heard and that this is key to improving services and creating meaningful change. Rob is also a board member for the London Homeless Health Programme.
Becky has over four years’ experience fundraising for charities. She joined the Groundswell team in March 2018 after three years as the Fundraising Manager for Glass Door homeless charity, where she implemented a fundraising strategy that doubled the charity’s income and impact. As Development Manager Becky ensures Groundswell has the resource to sustain and grow both their services and research so people who are homeless continue to have the opportunity to be involved in the solutions that will ultimately move them out of homelessness. Becky believes Groundswell’s staff and volunteers are a hub of skills, knowledge and positivity; she is keen to ensure our current and future funders get to know the energy that drives the charity.
Mental Health Project Manager
Oliver has 13 years of experience working within the homeless sector in a range of different roles and joined Groundswell in March 2017 as the mental health project manager. Oliver previously managed the Lambeth Community Options Team for Thames Reach, which supported people experiencing poor mental health within the community, and prior to joining Groundswell managed a supported housing project which supported people dealing with drug & Alcohol addiction and mental health problems.
Oliver is passionate about raising awareness and tackling the stigma surrounding mental health and homelessness.
Katie joined Groundswell in 2015 on the Insight & Action Team as a volunteer researcher and then went on to train and work as a Homeless Health Peer Advocate. Coming from an arts background she has over 4 and half years’ experience of delivering arts and homeless provision to marginalized communities via her work with Streetwise Opera, Clean Break Theatre, Somebody’s Daughter Theatre Melbourne, The Koestler Trust and The Southbank Centre. Prior to this she worked in the commercial sector and brings over 10 years’ experience as an administrator and project manager. She is passionately committed to instigating change through the transforming power of art and community. She also manages to find time to continue volunteering with Streetwise Opera supporting participants at workshops and public performances.
Volunteer Progression Manager
Adam joined Groundswell in May 2012 having worked in housing and homeless for almost 20 years for different organisations – statutory, voluntary – large and small; in a variety of roles from day centres to outreach, to floating support to casework. As he explains, “All this experience has been incredibly useful when thinking about the work that we do to support our clients and also what Groundswell can do to support its volunteers. I am a trainer, a coach and someone who is more and more interested in finding out exactly why involvement works.”
Ala started with Groundswell in late 2010 as a volunteer Peer Advocate and worked his way to being a Project Worker. He’s currently team leader for the HALT project working with people with Hep C. This involves assisting clients to attend their health appointments, making sure they understand about their medical condition, and looking at how we can help overcome any barriers they are facing. Ala feels that “Going to these appointments and getting the treatment they deserve can change client’s lives. Most people who experience homelessness find it difficult to engage with health services, due to their appearance or personal hygiene and are not always acknowledged or treated fairly! This is where Groundswell step in and make a difference by supporting them with a peer advocate.”
Stephan came to Groundswell in 2015, working with the NHS TB. mobile unit , before joining the HHPA team supporting people to attend health appointments. He also took advantage of the organisations initiative “From The Ground Up” to create articles for The Pavement, a Homeless magazine and played a significant role in delivering research in H&F on behalf of a commission set up by the council to explore issues affecting Homeless people in the borough. He currently works as an administrator and a researcher within Groundswell. When he’s not working he loves nothing better than getting lost in the countryside and wandering aimlessly for hours on end.
Martin manages the Homeless Health Peer Advocacy Service in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham. Martin has been with Groundswell since January 2011. With many years’ experience in the homelessness sector he has previously designed and delivered motivational training and employment programmes for a number of other homelessness charities, and is passionate about helping to increase opportunities for those who have experienced homelessness.
Terry is Groundswell’s long serving Finance Manager. He is responsible for the smooth running of all the finances at Groundswell. He started volunteering with Groundswell in 2004. From February – June 2006 he took part in the Enterprising Solutions Train the Trainers in SUI. Then in July 2006 he was employed as the Administrator at Groundswell for 18 months. He then worked as the Finance Officer at Homeless Link, did another stint of volunteering at Groundswell before he becoming the Service User Involvement Co-ordinator at Revolving Doors in 2009. He has since given up the RDA role to concentrate fully on the finance role here.
Steven has over 15 years’ experience working with vulnerable people both in the UK and abroad. He started his career as a hostel keyworker in Lambeth, before moving to South-East Asia for 5 years to work with refugees and marginalised groups in Thailand and Burma. Following his return to the UK in 2010 he led Glass Door to expand its supported winter shelter model into four London boroughs. Prior to that he was a Mathematician, completing his PhD in 2003, something he says is very useful when navigating charity finances. He was delighted to join Groundswell as Chief Executive in early 2018 as he believes the participatory approach to solving homelessness is the future.
Dennis is a Case Worker on the Homeless Health Peer Advocacy service. Prior to this Dennis spent over ten years being homeless across two periods of his life – struggling with alcohol addiction. He has now been in recovery for nearly a decade and his advice to anyone else in a similar situation “Keep busy!”
Gerry joined Groundswell in 2011 and trained as a Homeless Health Peer Advocate originally working with clients in Hammersmith & Fulham. Gerry pioneered running ‘Coffee Mornings’ in hostels and moved on to being a Project Worker in 2013. Gerry is now a Case Worker and manages the TB Peer Support project. “My greatest achievements are having been part of Groundswell when we won the Andy Ludlow Award and moving from volunteering to a paid position here.”
Eastern European Case Worker
Marcin joined Groundswell as a volunteer Homeless Health Peer Advocate in September 2013 and joined the staff team as an Eastern European Case Worker in 2015. Marcin says that the highlights of working at Groundswell are the opportunity to meet various people from around the UK and the world. He feels that being a Peer Advocate has allowed him to develop his active listening and language skills which play a key part in his role as Eastern European Case Worker. He has also built his confidence by doing the role, as he says “I have become a much more confident person, and my stuttering has decreased. I’ve made big progress in using English language on a day-to-day basis.”