Helping to turn the tide across West Sussex
21 September 2020
We recently caught up with Richard Erdelyi, the Littlehampton services manager at Turning Tides, a West Sussex based charity that provides support to homeless people in the area.
Richard discussed the work that he and the team at Turning Tides do, as well as outlining how others can become involved with the charity.
Can you tell us about Turning Tides and how it was established?
Turning Tides was established almost 30 years ago in 1991. It began with a few volunteers from a church providing hot meals to homeless people in Worthing. Since then it has grown from a small group of volunteers to a charity with 100 staff and an army of over 300 volunteers.
Who does Turning Tides support?
At Turning Tides we predominantly help single adults, aged 18 or over. As we’re a homelessness charity we mainly support people with housing needs, but this also includes those who may be struggling to maintain their tenancy.
What services do Turning Tides offer?
We offer a whole range of different services, to people at different points along their housing journey.
In Worthing, Littlehampton and Horsham we have our ‘hubs’, these act as drop-in centres for anyone who is homeless. Here we provide them with the opportunity to have a warm shower and some food, before helping to identify their needs – these are often mainly housing related, but can be their mental and physical health as well, we then refer them on the relevant team or organisation to help their needs be met.
Across the areas we work in, we also have multiple hostels and recovery projects. These range from high-needs to low-support accommodation, helping to provide the right level of support for the client.
We also have multi-disciplinary teams, these are comprised of mental health workers, drug and alcohol workers and community cohesion workers – all of which provide the necessary skills and experience to help the people we deal with.
On top of our core services, we also run skills workshops to help our clients develop and learn new skills to help keep them off the street.
How can the local community support Turning Tides?
As a charity, we’re always on the look out for financial support as this helps to sustain the work that we do.
However, receiving food and items of clothing are also central to our work, as are pieces of furniture. We often post on our website and social media channels the items we’re on the look out for, so that’s a great place to start if people are looking to donate.
We also look to match any volunteers with a particular skillset with our clients who may have an interest in that area. We’ve previously matched volunteers with gardening and fitness skills who can teach our clients about these areas.
What is your role at Turning Tides?
I’m the Littlehampton services manager at Turning Tides and I’ve been here for two and half years. In my role I oversee the hub and some of our residential projects in the area.
I have a passion for cooking and used to be a chef, but the long hours and late nights weren’t for me! I travelled the world and, on my return, began working with adults with learning difficulties – I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would and found it extremely rewarding. From there I gained new skills and qualifications and joined Turning Tides as a drug and alcohol worker before having the opportunity to move into management.
What do you like most about living/ working in the area?
I live just down the road in Angmering and I absolutely love living by the sea. It’s also fantastic that through my work I’ve been able to build successful relationships with other organisations in the local area and then seeing the people we work with progress is amazing.
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