Winchester Beacon is open 365 days a year and provides accommodation, food, and vital support services to help break the cycle of homelessness and enable residents to rebuild their lives.

The charity accommodates 60-80 people annually and provides ongoing support to many more, offering guidance during a person’s stay, helping them to plan for an independent future and find a more permanent home.

The need

It was recommended by Homeless Link, following advice from healthcare professionals after the pandemic that night shelters with shared sleeping spaces should ideally not continue.

Winchester Beacon also recognised residents were staying for longer periods of time as opposed to one or two nights. As a result, they felt that their facilities should be upgraded to accommodate a lengthier stay.

The charity applied for CRASH’s help to adjust their communal bedrooms into single rooms. They sought the views of residents, and it was concluded that the benefits of a single room with its own bathroom facilities would be ‘huge’ and ‘meaningful’, as well as an appropriate way to move forward with homelessness accommodation.

The project

The charity had a total of 10 bedrooms, four of these were existing single bedrooms, whereas the remaining six were shared spaces.

The project involved reconfiguring the shared spaces into single bedrooms and CRASH supporter Black Architecture proposed various design options for the charity to consider.

Corporate Patron Arcadis attended the initial visit and provided a subsequent report, as well as donating the expertise of a Quantity Surveyor to cost the proposed designs.

After careful consideration from the charity, engaging residents and stakeholders, a design was chosen, and Corporate Patron AECOM donated their Project Management expertise to oversee the project.

Corporate Patron Cundall gave engineering support whilst NG Bailey offered M&E advice.

The former communal bathroom facilities were transformed into single shower rooms, complete with a shower, wash basin and toilet courtesy of Corporate Patron Geberit. Drainage was assessed by a Civil Engineer and costed by a Quantity Surveyor from AECOM.

British Gypsum donated free of charge plasterboard and moisture resistant boards whilst Dulux Decorator Centre donated the required paint at no cost to the charity. Supporter Altro flooring gave discounted flooring.

The outcome

  • Each resident now has their own room. The charity acknowledged their feedback, and now residents feel listened to and cared for, whilst also encouraging independence.
  • The individual shower rooms replace outdated communal washing facilities and give residents the privacy and dignity they need during a vulnerable time in their lives.
  • The individual shower rooms include one with disabled access, ensuring the hostel is a comfortable stay for guests regardless of a disability.
  • The total professional expertise and discounted materials £53,138.57
  • CRASH Grants £40k made possible by industry fundraising
  • Total value support £93,138.57

No project is complete without an official opening...

CRASH’s Francesca Roberts and Vipesh Mistry alongside other supporters, funders and Trustees gathered at Winchester Beacon to celebrate the achievement and declare the new spaces officially open. Dean Catherine Ogle, Patron of Winchester Beacon, cut the toilet roll ribbon and gave a ceremonial flush!

The opening also unveiled an official plaque that recognises CRASH’s contribution to this project.

“We are so pleased to finally be able to offer our residents their own space to wash. “We know that the communal washing facilities were off-putting for many current and potential residents. Having a private place to wash and shower will have such a positive impact on the wellbeing of our residents. We would like to thank everyone involved in making this project possible, it has been such a team effort.”

Michèle Price, Chief Executive at Winchester Beacon

“At AECOM our mission is to deliver a better world by delivering a positive, lasting legacy in the communities in which we work. The Winchester Beacon project is a fantastic example of exactly that. Personally, it was great to be able to support a local charity who are doing such important work in our community to help bring an end to homelessness. By providing our teams’ project management skills we were able to guide the charity through what is a challenging construction process. Allowing them to maintain focus on their important work and resulting in the delivery of fantastic facilities which improve the homes’ ability to offer privacy and dignity to residents.”

Tom Parsons, Associate at AECOM

“Handing over this project at Winchester Beacon is a significant milestone in the CRASH project portfolio, having worked on this project for almost four years, including through the pandemic. This transformation epitomises the good will of the construction industry; with a significant number of our Corporate Patrons involved. With extensive collaboration between Corporate Patrons, the benefitting charity and our team at CRASH, it was a true team effort – thank you to all involved, you have made a huge difference to the residents at Winchester Beacon.”

Francesca Roberts, Chief Executive at CRASH