In 1986 two people died while sleeping rough on Richmond’s riverbank. Members of the local community, including Penny Wade, wanted to ensure that this would never happen again, and set about opening a temporary nightshelter.
In 1989, the night shelter moved to more permanent accommodation on Kew Road. The hostel, as it is now, has been in operation ever since. In 2009, the building underwent a complete refurbishment, and it now provides 14 people at a time with a fresh start away from the streets.
SPEAR has added other services over the years, working specifically with rough sleepers and those who are dependent on drugs or alcohol. In 1998, a core team was introduced, offering management, finance and administration to support the front line work.
We have an excellent relationship with the wider community, including those who are homeless or who have been homeless, as well as our partners such as the London Borough Of Richmond upon Thames and the local Primary Care Trust. We offer excellent services to those most marginalised in society and we strive constantly to improve those services and the lives of our clients.
In 2010, we began two pilot services, the Tenancy Finder service working with the private rented sector, and the Veterans Support Service, funded by the Royal British Legion.
Last year, we merged with another well respected homelessness charity, MASH. Based in Merton, this service works with homeless young people, offering a genuine chance for them to turn their lives around. We are proud to be able to help them continue this work.
Our Richmond hostel reopened in 2010, and it is named “Penny Wade House” after our founder and inspiration.