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High Sheriff inspired by 'Place for Change'

by Michael Ford last modified 21 Oct, 2020 10:51 AM

Thanks to our Bishop of Sherborne, the High Sheriff of Dorset George Streatfeild has paid an "awe-inspiring and quite humbling" visit to Routes to Roots’ future permanent support facility for Poole’s homeless, which is undergoing renovation.

High Sheriff inspired by 'Place for Change'

Amanda and George Streatfeild with the Revd Pat Southgate

Mr Streatfeild was made aware of the support that Routes to Roots provides to Poole’s homeless by Bishop Karen, the charity’s Patron, and he was eager to witness first-hand what was happening at the new facility and learn about the charity’s future ambitions.

Work is well underway at Routes to Roots’ future permanent base in Hill Street, Poole to transform the building into a lasting ‘Place for Change’ for Poole’s rough sleepers and vulnerably housed. Routes to Roots Chairman and co-founder Revd Pat Southgate was delighted to play host to Mr Streatfeild and his wife Amanda, showing them the transformation of the former Baptist Church.

They were given a tour of the building where the project’s architect Ken Morgan and project manager, Routes to Roots Trustee Kate Mellor, talked through the charity’s ambitious plans for the listed building.

As High Sheriff, Mr Streatfeild’s role is independent and non-political. In addition to supporting the judiciary and the Crown, he actively lends support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector.

Mr Streatfeild said:

“It is awe-inspiring and quite humbling to hear Pat’s passion and her determination to transform a rundown building into somewhere safe, warm and welcoming to so many who are struggling in today’s society – and not just because of Covid-19.

“She has created an amazing team of volunteers to support her vision and make sure it happens; I cannot wait to see the completed work.”

Once complete, the charity’s new home will provide many basic facilities to improve the well-being of its clients and help them achieve lasting positive change in their lives. Facilities such as showers, toilets, laundry, hot food, clothing and sleeping bags will be provided in addition to crucial access to outreach workers for addiction and mental health support, nurses, chiropodists, housing and benefit advisors.

The new daytime hub will also provide a sanctuary to relax and feel comfortable throughout the day, reducing the need to be out on the streets.

Routes to Roots Chairman Revd Pat Southgate said:

“After 6 months of planning, getting the appropriate permissions and seeking out grants, it is wonderful to see the work finally happening.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the donations we have received so far but we still have some way to go before we to meet our target, so our fundraising efforts continue unabated.”

Details of how to make a donation can be found at

Poole-based charity Routes to Roots was founded in 2002 to support local rough sleepers and the vulnerably housed and is dedicated not just to providing day-to-day support but also outreach services to help those in need make long-term change. Through its Amos House facility, it provides three short-term supported housing units, helping residents make the transition from life on the street to more permanent homes.

In February 2020, the charity bought the former Hill Street Baptist Church. Renovations began this month, and once completed, the building will become the centre for all the help and support available to Poole’s vulnerably housed to help them realise lasting positive change in their lives.

Beside the Revd Pat Southgate and Kate Mellor, Routes to Roots Trustees also include Poole Rector Lucy Holt.

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L-R: Amanda Streatfeild, Dorset High Sheriff George Streatfeild and Routes to Roots Chairman Reverend Pat Southgate

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