The Bridge at Waterloo is a charity founded by St John’s Waterloo in 2014, aimed at being agile and responsive to local community needs. Before COVID, our projects were funded by income from letting St John's and St Andrew's spaces.
We have three key projects: The Church Garden; The Here to Work programmes and Waterloo Well
Our new project, Waterloo Well, is about being there to provide wellbeing support to people who need it most. We are working with homeless people and young people to help them build the resilience and resources they need in this challenging time. Here for Work provides support towards employment. The Churchyard is a place of sanctuary for many, and many of our volunteers are adults with support needs.
Can you support our work? COVID has created a hiatus: our lettings have fallen through and the second lockdown has been particularly damaging. Whilst we have safeguarded the charity and our team using every available grant and government scheme, we are at a crisis moment and this valuable work is at risk.
At this point in the year, as we all prepare for Christmas, we ask you to spare some time and thoughts for those most vulnerable members of our community and consider supporting the TBAW work with them:
£5 would cover lunch for the garden workers for one day;
£20 would cover one student’s travel to a course for one week;
£50 pays for 3 mentoring sessions for one of our students whilst in work.
£100 would pay for half a day of a support worker in the garden or in the homeless hostels;
£500 would cover 2 days of Here to Work for 10 students or 2 students for a full week;
£1000 would cover courses and training support for 10 students for a month.
For more information about our projects, scroll down.
Chair, the Board of Trustees
The Churchyard: The garden offers a haven of beauty in this busy part of the city. But it is not just a ‘nice to have’ in the working city. It is a space of refuge for both local workers and the homeless, where they can rest and meet during the day. It is also a space where our community gardening groups find creative outlets and enjoy nurturing plant life. We also have an amazing team who keep it both beautiful and safe for all users.
Here for Work: was set up to offer training for those in our community who are out of work or unable to enter the job economy and we offer a range of courses. Our Programme Manager, Daniel, designs, leads and mentors groups of mostly young and local men and women, supporting them in a range of ways to enter work. There is interview training, application support, working skills – it is not about training for a job, but preparing for work. This includes ways of managing being in the workplace and resilience.
Where TBAW’s ‘Here for Work’ programmes differ from other agencies is that we offer long-term mentoring. We support our students into work and in work, we are there to support, encourage and sustain when working life gets tough. This has proven to be a successful model and one that other agencies and organisations are coming to look at. We have a 90% success rate of supporting our students into work and remaining there.
I want to tell you about Kayla: Kayla suffered from selective mutism and social anxiety. She came on the first employment course we ran accompanied by her mother who warned that she may not participate. Her mother had signed Kayla up just as a means of her meeting some new people. Kayla reported that she enjoyed the informal nature of the course and found that the content was easy to relate to. She felt inspired and empowered after completing the course and now works at WH Smith in Lambeth where she has won Employee of the Month numerous times.
We are proud of Kayla and all of our students.
Waterloo WellCovid has brought many challenges and restrictions, but the team have not let the grass grow under their feet. They have been developing relationships with two of our local hostels for homeless guests. Following a successful funding bid, we have been able to launch a project that was being nurtured previously, but has now been catapulted into existence. We call this Waterloo Well
Waterloo Well is built upon the notion that people do not need fixing to fit into the community, but that they are already at the heart of this community.
Waterloo Well, like Here to Work and the Garden, is about listening, responding, clearing barriers and developing opportunities to support navigation into the next phase of life.
This could be into accommodation
It could be into training
It could be into employment
It could be into volunteering
It could be into better mental health wellbeing
Mostly a mix of all of these – and this is complex and specialist work.
As an umbrella for these three projects, TBAW brings those that rent our buildings or visit to use it together with the homeless and vulnerable, with our volunteers and the TBAW staff team. This is vital and urgent work.
We know that our funding shortfall is temporary; we know that we are perfectly located, and we know that we have a wonderful set of buildings. We know that lettings will return; we know that people need and want to gather. We know that people will not stay away from this area for long.
Your support is hugely valued. We are very grateful.