Our Impact

Annual Report 2019

Karen Cooper, Chair

I am delighted to report on yet another year of positive growth here at Evolve. The continued impact that our work has on the lives of the people we house and support in our services shines through the stories and figures we’re reporting on this year.

It saddens me that in the current unpredictable political and economic climate, the one thing that we can predict is that there will always be vulnerable people sleeping on our streets, which is why I continue to be incredibly proud of all the crucial work we do at Evolve.

All of our work with homeless people focuses on being able to support them to genuinely move on positively and to become independent. Our continued success in this area is one of the many areas that we are incredibly proud of, with nearly 8 out of 10 people that live with us moving on positively, and in some of our services that number increasing to 9 out of 10. Our plans to develop move-on accommodation in Croydon will help us to provide much needed genuinely affordable long-term homes for our customers, giving them more opportunity to reach their aspirations.

All of our community programmes have had impact, not just through their successes and therefore in attracting further funding, but most importantly on people’s ability and capacity to work towards their goal to move on. Our counselling service has achieved another two years of funding through City Bridge Trust, enabling us to help more people who come to us having experienced trauma in their lives, as well as continuously reducing the waiting time between referral and assessment. We’re also able to report on our first year of our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners and the positive impact that they, and the Peer Supporters of this programme, have had on the health and wellbeing of those customers in most complex need.

I am particularly proud of the achievements of our customers who have gained employment and work-like activity thanks to our brilliant Work + Learning programme. The high level of outcomes in the first 3 years of this project has attracted new funding this year from several funders who have seen the impact of our work.

David, who talks about his journey to regain employment, is just one great example of the many positive stories from customers who have gained employment thanks to our Work + Learning team. It is this catalyst that has enabled them to move on.

We must remember that our impact goes beyond the homeless and vulnerable people we work with, and that the development of our staff is a key focus and something we will continue to invest in. Phil is a shining example of how we invest in individuals’ aspirations throughout their employment with us.

And finally, I am immensely pleased and proud to give a further update on the impact that our inaugural Sleep Out has had on our ability to continue to deliver and develop our programmes to have the highest impact possible. I was overwhelmed on the night to see how brilliantly individuals and businesses from the communities we work in mobilised themselves to raise over £75,000. From the conversations we had with the people who took part, we know that the Sleep Out also had a hugely positive impact on them, and we hope to be able to continue this success when we hold the Sleep Out again in March next year.

On behalf of the Board I would like to thank all of our staff, partners, supporters and beneficiaries for working together this year with such resolve, passion and positivity to continue to make a difference for each individual that we work to support.

Read on for a more in-depth look at some of the impact we’ve had this year.



Moving people on to independence

After sofa surfing for six months, Flavio was eventually referred into our services. We supported him in getting his life back on track and he has now moved on and is setting up his own music studio through which he aims to give something back and offer opportunities to those in need.

We credit our positive move on success to our quality accommodation, our skilled and dedicated staff, and the vital life-changing programmes we charitably fundraise for and provide.

This combination addresses the mental health needs of those we support, teaches necessary life skills, offers opportunities, and empowers each individual to build on their abilities and assets so they become fully equipped to live independent lives.

We are proud of our high-achieving, positive move on rate and have been recognised as finalists for the National UK Housing Awards as ‘Best Supported Housing Landlord.’

UKHA 2019 Finalist logo

Click on the map below to see our top performing services.
Figures show the % of people who have moved on to independence.

Health + Wellbeing

Our Health + Wellbeing programme now comprises of 11 counsellors delivering CBT and ‘talking therapy’, as well as two ‘Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners’ (PWPs). Our ‘PWPs’ are capable of delivering therapy to those with much more complex mental health needs, and means we can reach a further 30% of the people we support who are in need of more specialist help.

Due to the positive impact and effectiveness of our in-house counselling service, this year we secured funding from the City Bridge Trust and the National Lottery Community Fund in order to continue our counselling programme, and also fund an additional amplified service.

Of the 115 people who have accessed this service, 80% have seen a significant improvement in their mental health. Consequently, we are helping people get one step closer to living happily and independently.

Of those people in need of mental health support in our services, the figures below demonstrate the impact that our Health + Wellbeing programme, and asset based support, has had on them:

Work + Learning

Thanks to funding from Streetsmart and the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Fund, since July 2019 we have been able to employ a full-time Work + Learning coach and a coordinator to support our customers into work, education or training.

In 2018/19, of those people who arrived at Evolve with a need to gain some form of education, 73% took part in education or training since engaging with our support. 76% started work-like activities be it volunteering, apprenticeships or employment, and 56% have obtained paid work.

By offering bespoke, 121, asset based support, we have empowered customers to visualise and realise their aspirations and provided the guidance needed to help them overcome barriers and enter a form of education or employment.

We have launched a new programme of ‘Certificate of Entrepreneurship’ courses which we piloted last year. This programme invites business experts from across various industries to present and deliver engaging, practical workshops offering guidance to customers wishing to develop a business idea.

The course develops skills, confidence and self-esteem whilst offering a more innovative and inspiring programme for customers to engage in.

Of those people who needed support with starting work and learning...

Peer Support Programmes

David tells of his journey to independence thanks to Peer Circles and the support of his support worker.

Peer Circles has grown significantly in the last 9 months. So much so, that when funding became available for the programme through St Giles, we recruited a Peer Circles Trainee to help with the demand. We now have four active volunteer Peer Advisors. We’ve worked tirelessly to build strong relationships with local Job Centres, attending different events to help claimants find work. We have reinforced relationships with local Mental Health teams, Probation services, and were invited to sit on the Bromley Employment Network. We held our first Peer Recognition Event, funded by Team London and run in partnership with St. Giles, where we invited SHP, St. Mungo’s, Thames Reach and other partners to nominate their Peer Advisors to be recognised for awards. The event was a huge success, and through it we have secured funding for future Peer-led events.

We have been building new relationships with work coaches within prisons and were invited to the Section Meeting for South London. This has led to Peer Circles being featured in an ITV documentary featuring Ross Kemp, due to air in December. We attended a Re-settlement fair at HMP Thameside with support from our Peer Advisors, to discuss with prisoners the support available to them once they’ve been released, and are due to do the same at HMP Belmarsh. Throughout the next year we’ll be focusing on building direct links with employers.

Two of the Peer Circles customers referred into our services have now been employed at Evolve, one as a Night Concierge worker and the other will be a Trainee Support Worker starting in November.

David with his support worker and Peer Circles Coordinator, Shona.

David with his support worker and Peer Circles Coordinator, Shona.


Our Horizons programme works with children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are beginning to disengage with education and are presenting as being at risk of leaving school without any qualifications. We aim to develop young future leaders by aiding them to achieve their goals and dreams for the future.

The Horizons Mentoring Project Coordinator, along with trained mentors, works on a one-to-one and group basis with students to uncover underlying issues and provide bespoke, practical advice and guidance to uplift, encourage and motivate the children and young people to stay engaged. It fills a gap in provision where schools do not have the time or resource to support these children and young people at risk.

The success of the programme in the schools we work in has led to requests from a number of other schools, and local children’s social services to extend the programme out to them, as well as requests to extend the provision in the schools we are currently working in.

Early interventions to prevent future homelessness is still an undeveloped area, however we are confident that by supporting children and young people to succeed in school and ensure they leave with confidence, qualifications, skills and ambition, we can support them to live independently in the future.

We are currently outlining plans to enable us to expand the project for next year and reach more children and young people at risk and in need of this additional support.

Our People

Phil Nowell has been working at Evolve since 2010. During his time as a trainee, Phil applied for one of our support worker roles, and quickly progressed to be a Senior Support Worker, before working his way up to be a Team Leader, and now a Team Manager.

Read his story here.

As a company, we place great emphasis on staff aspirations. Our trainee programme gives us the ability to open doors to anyone who’d like to work in the housing sector, and to provide them with the opportunity to get experience of supporting people, as well as further promotion opportunities. Of our last cohort, 4 have secured permanent jobs within Evolve, including Louisa who left her job as a teacher to join our trainee programme, and is now a Support Worker at The Fitze Millenium Centre in Crystal Palace, and regularly tells her manager how much she loves working at Evolve.

Moving into management

This year we recognised some of our support staff whose aspirations are to progress into senior positions, through the creation of a Moving Into Management programme. As well as providing two days’ intensive training on some of the key areas of management, we also partnered each person on the course with one of our senior managers, who provided mentoring and coaching.

12 support staff took part in the training which will give them the insight and advantage when seeking more senior positions.

Aladine who took part in the course and mentoring said: “I found the training invaluable in gaining and developing knowledge and skill of management roles that exist within the organisation”.

Read his story here.

Our People Plan

We completed our first year’s People Plan with 12 objectives all designed to improve working arrangements for our staff. Each objective has progressed to make a lasting impact to make Evolve a great place to work.


In 2018/2019 we:

 Reviewed shift patterns to achieve greater flexibility

 Introduced reflective practice to all service teams and operational managers

 Established a Wellbeing, Health & Safety Group

 Designed an organisation wide approach to managing change

 Reviewed our pay and benefits arrangements

 Reviewed how we recruit new staff

 Improved the induction experience

 Established ways to share our stories and news

Built better relationships between staff at all levels and senior managers

 Developed an internal training community and a Training Steering Group

 Focused on individual strengths and development by reviewing one to ones and our annual performance reviews to change their focus to wellbeing, working, community and aspirations.


Thanks to all the members of the Wellbeing, Health and Safety Group, Employee Forum and our Training Steering Group, whose input has been valuable.

Sleep Out

Our inaugural Sleep Out in March saw over 160 people from across the community give up their beds for the night and take to the cold, hard floor in order to raise awareness and sponsorship for homeless people.

The event was featured in 9 local media publications and raised over £75,000.

The phenomenal amount raised by the community meant we were able to complete funding for our in-house counselling programme and run the service up until April 2020, as well as employ a full-time Work+Learning coach for one year.

Plans are now in place for an even bigger and better event in 2020 and we are rolling out a series of mini Sleep Outs that community groups can host for themselves in order to have an even greater impact on our work.

See the action from the night for yourself.

New affordable housing for those in need

In order to truly break the cycle of homelessness, we need more affordable long-term homes for our customers.

This year we have progressed our plans to build more homes for formerly homeless people who no longer need support, and have submitted a planning application to build 60 brand new homes in Boulogne Road in Croydon.The development will be built through modern methods of construction and will provide 52 high-quality yet affordable one-bed flats, where customers can live for a minimum of 5 years, once they have completed their programme of support within one of our hostels.

In addition, we also hope to develop 8 2-bed units for small families who would otherwise be in poor quality bed and breakfast accommodation.

We hope to hear the outcome of our planning application in the next few months and will update on the outcome in the news section of our website.

Special thanks to the Greater London Authority who have promised significant financial backing should we be successful in our application.


Fundraising Stories

Hannah's ultra challenge

Hannah's ultra challenge

So far this year, we have seen our amazing supporters take on challenges from unicorn style bake-offs, silent auctions, the Hackney Half, Brighton Marathon, and one brave fundraiser took on an Ultra-Marathon in order to raise funds for our work.

Read more

Corporate support

Corporate support

Corporate fundraising at Evolve has made notable progress in the last year. Our fantastic partners include companies from across various industries, from events, to property, to shopping centres.

Read more

Our Community

Our ambassadors

Our ambassadors

Our Amabassadors not only provide invaulabule experiences for our customers, but give us a known face in the press and media. Bianca Miller-Cole has been an Ambassador for 3 years and as well as running workshops at customer events and at our OCN accredited Entrepreneurship Course, her and her husband Byron also raised £3000 at our Sleep Out in March.

Read more

Our volunteers

Our volunteers

Our volunteers play an integral role in supporting our service users to excel in their aspirations and find their way to independence. Volunteering also acts as a way of bringing the community together and breaking down social barriers and misconceptions.

Read more

Our Performance

  • Letting Activities£9,031,542
  • Housing Grants + Other Income£2,765,136
  • Conferencing£232,089
  • Interest£17,895
  • Charitable grants + donations£404,192
  • Total Income£12,450,854
  • Letting Activities£8,354,700
  • Supporting Housing Activities£2,970,482
  • Fundraising£184,142
  • Conferencing£142,474
  • Charitable activities£283,553
  • Interest£206,375
  • Total Expenditure£12,141,726

Thank yous

Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout this year.


Adetoun Isikalu, Alix Langrognat, Anousha Tamony, Caroline McLellan, Charlotte Turner, Conan Kealy, Dave Thompson (Hurt to homeless campaign), Eleanor Stringer, Ellie Charman, Elspeth Hayde, Flaminia Martin, Gavin Kinch, Guy Aitchison, Hannah Luffman, Hayah, Husain Alogaily, Isabel Sanchez, Ishani Jasmin, Jack Rathborn, James Brewin, James Mackie, Jayne McGibbon, Jim Nayaar, Kate Hardie, Kellie Fortune, Laura McLellan, Maddy Carminke, Mark Colhoun, Matt Smith, Mikolaj Banaszak, Miriam Simpson (Hurt to Homeless campaign), Neil Walker, Nick Iyegbe, Simon Thompson, Will Rastall


Amazon PR, AMP House, Balham Bowls Club, Both Associates, Boxpark Croydon, Brightspot Fundraising, BSC Consultants, Camden Coffee House, Centrale Shopping Centre, Cezanne HR, Costco, Croydon BID, East Croydon Cool, Franco Manca, Fulkers, Hampton by Hilton, Institute of Digital Marketing, Lewis Day Pharmacy Stockwell, Lindt, Lush, Nando’s (Central), Nando’s (East Croydon), Natterbox, Orrsum , Siemens, Superdrug, Tempus, Tenzing, Unicorn Events, Waitrose Gloucester Road, Waitrose Old Brompton Road, Waitrose Wimbledon, Walter Lilly, World Habitat

Local Authorities

London Borough of Croydon, London Borough of Merton, London Borough of Lambeth, London Borough of Bromley, London Borough of Lewisham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London Borough of Wandsworth, Royal London Borough of Kingston upon Thames

Community Groups

Croydon College, St John The Evangelist, Woodcote High/Oasis Academy, Everyday Church, Christ Church Anerley, Old Palace School (Christmas trees), St Winefride’s Church, South Wimbledon

Trusts and Grants

BBC Children In Need, Big Lottery Fund, Charities Trust, City Bridge Trust, Felix Project, Glasspool Charity Trust, Good Things Foundation, Greater London Authority (Rough Sleepers Innovation Fund and London Plus), John Cowan Foundation, LandAid, London Homeless Charities Group (Mayor of London), London Hostels Association, Mayor’s Rough Sleepers Innovation Fund 2019, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, The National Lottery Community Fund, Sir Walter St John’s Educational Charity, St Giles Trust, StreetSmart, The Haramead Trust

Food Donors

City Harvest, Co-Op Croydon, Marks and Spencer, Pret A Manger, Sainsbury’s Local George Street, Sainsbury’s Local South Wimbledon, Sainsbury’s Local West Croydon, Waitrose Balham, Waitrose Kensington, Asda Roehampton

Sleep Out 2019

Sleep out individuals

Adrienne Dawson, Alex Davis, Andres Gonzalez Rojas, Andrew Bauer, Andrew Lowe, Becky Goulding, Bernadette Francis, Betsy Biggs , Bianca Miller-Cole, Byron Cole, Cali Jones, Charles Humphreys, Chris Belton, Csongor Laszlo, D McSween, Daisy Crisp, Dana Lunberry, Daniel Griggs, Danny Hedges, David McLellan, Dwight Laing, Ellie Wilmer, Elliot Derringer, Fatima Musa, Gemma Goater (Stone), Geoff Brocklehurst, Holly Butler, Jack Wallton, Jade Davison, James Mackie, Jed Mohammed, Jenna Soame, Jesica Gimenez, Jim Edmonds, Joan Umuh, Joana Tortosa, Jon Mote, Josefine Maartensson, John Macleod, Julia Pitt, Karen Cooper, Keri Davison, Kevin Quilty, Laura Dawaf, Laurie Court, Lilly Gayle, Louisa Bull, Lucy Grattan, Lucy Parter, Mark Morley, Marsha Richards, Marta Pulgar, Matt Sims, Michael Owusu, Mike Robins, Neil Chandler, Nick Hudson, Olivia Mudie, Paul Infield, Phil Nowell, Rachel Botha, Rajan Amin, Rebeccah Clews, Richard Pillow, Rochelle Griffiths, Sally Buzzard, Samantha Smart, Samantha Williams, Sarah Cusack, Sarah Facey, Scott Henderson, Shanine Salmon, Sherwan Chowdhury, Stella Gbolonyo, Steve Phaure, Steve Tak, Stuart Durnell, Tamsin Watson, Toni Reid-Nelson, Victoria Mongi, Vince McLellan

Sleep Out MPs + Council members

Sarah Jones MP, Steve Reed MP, Councillor Alison Butler

Sleep Out Corporates

Archway BC, Boxpark, Caridon, Chequers, Connected Space, Coversure, Croydon BID, Croydon College, EY, Goddard Perry, HKR, Ministry of Housing, Local Communities and Government, Natwest, NCP, PRE Chartered Surveyors, SHW , Simply Lunch, Switch Comms, Tempus Facilities Management, White Label, Whitgift Centre



Governance and Leadership

Our Board

Board Chair
Karen Cooper

Board Members
Charles Fraser
David Shrimpton
Diana Coman
Isabel Sanchez
Mark Rowe
Paul Infield
Paul Perkin
Simon McGrath
Vicky Wallace

Chair of Audit Committee
David Shrimpton

Audit Committee Members
David Carton
Mark Rowe
Paul Perkin
Vicky Wallace


Our Leadership Team

Chief Executive
Jeremy Gray

Director of Operations
Debra Ives

Director of Corporate Services and Company Secretary
Jenny Strudwick

Director of Business Development
Alice Hainsworth

Director of People and Culture
Elspeth Hayde

Deputy Director of Operations
Pamela Newman

Head of Business Development
Laura McLellan

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