Places of Change

The Places of Change programme aims to improve the services available to rough sleepers, to help them make the transition into a settled home, training or employment. The programme funded the silver medal award-writing Places of Change garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Homes and Communities Agency is responsible for delivering the three year Places of Change programme, which runs from 2008 to 2011. The programme builds upon the success of the Hostels Capital Improvement Programme, which provided £90 million of funding for hostels and day centres between 2005 and 2008, and was previously delivered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Poor physical conditions in hostels and services that don't engage with and motivate people to address their needs can reinforce the cycle of homelessness. Our aim is for hostels and other services for homeless people to provide positive opportunities that help people to move forward into work and a settled home.

View the film “Changing Places – Great Services” produced by our partner Homeless Link showing how the Places of Change approach is changing lives.

Places of Change

Activity space at The Connection at St Martin’s day centre, Westminster.

Places of Change projects

The Places of Change programme funds projects which have a specific focus on developing new ways of working with homeless people. The first round of Places of Change projects was announced in march 2008 with an additional round of projects announced in June 2008 - in total the programme nows funds over 111 projects across England.

These include:

The Places of Change Garden - Chelsea - London

For the second year running, we funded a major show garden, entitled “Places of Change” at the world renowned RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to help raise awareness of what we’re doing to bring about a step change in the way that homeless people are perceived and homeless services are delivered. The Garden was awarded a prestigious silver medal at the Show,

The Lodge at St Ursula’s – St Mungo’s – City of London

Thanks to an £838,000 Places of Change grant, a new pilot approach providing B&B style accommodation in London is being run at the Lodge at St Ursula’s operated by St Mungo’s and The City of London Corporation, in partnership with Camden and Westminster Boroughs.

Guests at the 40-bed scheme are typically long-term entrenched older rough sleepers. Support from The Lodge staff, outreach workers and external services help guests work towards identifying the appropriate move-on options. For more info, visit the St Mungo website.


“Rough Sleeper Champion” CREATE is a social enterprise company working with homeless people in Leeds. A £15,000 Places of Change grant in 2008 helped establish their ‘FOUND by CREATE’ retail project, a cutting edge charity shop featuring quality high street and vintage items, a dress agency and a free personal shopping service. Clients learn retail skills including display, cash handling and stock control. Since its October 2009 opening, the shop has generated three full time jobs and sixteen volunteer training opportunities - two of whom have already moved on to new jobs in the retail sector. For more info, visit the Create website .

Virginia House – Tyneside Cyrenians – Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Thanks to over £1.3m of HCA funding, this former institutional cramped 31-bed hostel has been completely refurbished to provide 17 single en-suite rooms with state-of-the-art facilities including Wi-Fi and shared kitchens. Guests can access a recording and radio suite linked into a rehearsal room, a gym and a holistic health therapy room, while IT facilities are in an open learning setting.

Much of the development work was carried out by trainees on the Cyrenians’ successful self-build programme, many of whom are now in full-time employment. Guests are also trained in ‘front of house’ duties at reception and welcoming new residents. For more info, visit the Cyrenians website.

Contact details
Richard Cunningham
Places of Change Programme Manager
Tel: 0300 1234 500

For media enquires, contact Helen Stoddart in the corporate press office on 020 7881 1615.

Last updated: 4 April 2011