National Lottery Funding Boosts Re-Fit Project

The Society of St James are delighted to have been awarded funding of just under £165,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund and would like to thank the National Lottery and its players for their support. With this funding, SSJ can continue to deliver the extremely successful project in Portsmouth, in partnership with Pompey in the Community.

Re-Fit benefits disadvantaged and vulnerable adults with multiple issues including homelessness, substance misuse, mental & physical health and offending. It provides daily diversionary leisure and sports activities alongside training, education and employment opportunities, all of which can significantly improve physical and mental health, self-esteem, confidence, social interaction, and motivation.

They are also grateful to Southern Co-op and Portsmouth City Council for their continued support of this project. Since opening in September 2013, Re-Fit has worked with over 800 Portsmouth residents towards a healthier way of living, building confidence and discipline, reducing substance misuse and offending as well helping them onto a pathway towards education, training, and employment.

In the past three years, the list of activities has grown month on month now offering gym sessions, badminton, football, table tennis, chess club, boxing and fitness sessions, mountain/city biking, women’s self-defence, archery, kayaking, golf, laser tag, climbing, tenpin bowling, go-karting and lawn bowls. They have also been able to offer coasteering, survival skills, and paddle-boarding.

The project engages participants in NVQ programmes in partnership with St. Vincent’s College as well as seeking out work placement opportunities. Many of the participants graduate to become a Refit champion which is the first step to becoming a peer mentor or Refit volunteer.

Project Lead Ashley Christopher said:

“We are so happy that The National Lottery Community Fund has decided to support this project for another 3 years. We know our programme saves lives by bringing meaningful activity to what can be a very unrewarding existence of substance misusers, offenders and those who are homeless and indeed those with multiple and complex issues to contend with.”

About SSJ

In 1972, the Society of St James was a team of volunteers who opened up a church hall in Southampton to accommodate 11 homeless men struggling with heavy drinking. The team realised very quickly that offering shelter was just the first step for these men.

Today, the Society of St James exists to help over 5,000 vulnerable young people/adults a year by providing person-centred interventions, helping individuals to realise their potential. The charity delivers a diverse and innovative range of services to positively impact the lives of vulnerable people, often at crisis point and most in need. Our services are for people who are homeless, unemployed, previous offenders or who have drug, alcohol or other substance addictions and various mental health problems.

About Pompey in the Community

Recent winners of the English Football League’s Community Club of the Year for the South East 2019, Pompey in The Community is Portsmouth Football Club’s in-house charity. Pompey in the Community prides itself on the health projects and initiatives that it delivers to help people to make healthy lifestyle choices. They aim to raise awareness and understanding of healthy lifestyles as well as providing opportunities to get active.

Portsmouth City has areas of great deprivation, acute health inequalities and a lower life expectancy than its surrounding areas. Much of this is due to high levels of vascular disease, secondary to the lifestyle factors that lead to it, including obesity. Pompey in the Community recognises the important role the club can play in helping people make healthy lifestyle choices and develop into responsible citizens. Their objective is to improve people’s life decisions and encourage them to try new things which will enhance their lives.

Working with PiTC engages the community in a way other organisations may struggle to do. The Pompey logo, uniquely shared with the city itself, is a magnet to engagement and once individuals are involved their participation thrives and grows. The relationship also facilitates numerous and diverse work placements including opportunities within our dementia and disability projects as well as on match days.

The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference in people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.