Earlier this year our flagship service centre, London Skylight, moved to a new building at 50 Commercial Street. Our old building had structural limitations that made some areas feel dark and cramped and we had limited spaces that staff could use to meet with members. The building is in an area that our members are familiar with, and we have invested in bricks and mortar, rather than paying rent.
The way a space is decorated makes a world of difference for how safe and comfortable a person feels in it. We had to completely renovate our new Skylight, to create a psychologically informed environment, meaning we consciously considered and adapted our physical spaces to empower and support Crisis members (those we work with to end their homelessness) so that they can feel they are in a safe place to get the help they need. This refurbishment was only made possible by generous support from individuals, trusts and companies.
Members were involved throughout the renovation and helped us to choose the paint colours for our new spaces. We ran interactive focus groups to choose the decorations, during which members spoke about how they had felt when they took their first steps through the Skylight doors. They spoke of feeling worried and anxious and emphasised how important it was that the new space would be as welcoming, calm, and as easy to navigate as possible. Members also spoke about their experiences in institutions such as hospitals or hostels and said that certain colours will always remind them of time spent there. Soft tones were decided on for each of the one-to-one, soundproof, meeting rooms to create friendly spaces where people can feel comfortable to tell their story. Members also advised us that each floor should be a different colour, to help Members to navigate around the building. It is vital that we do all we can to ensure Members feel welcomed, as it can be the difference between them choosing to continue with us, or not feeling comfortable to do so and so remaining stuck in the devastating and dangerous cycle of homelessness.
Brewers Decorators Centres generously provided a wide range of beautiful paint colours for the entirety of our new Skylight, playing a crucial role in ensuring our spaces are warm and welcoming for our members. Their donation allowed us to save more than £10,000. Because of this, we could purchase panic alarms for our meeting rooms, which are vital for keeping everyone in our Skylight comfortable and safe. We are extremely grateful to the Brewer family and all those at Brewers Decorator Centres, and it has been a privilege to have them stand side by side with us in our mission to end homelessness.
Charles Brewer, CFO at Brewers visited the centre with his father Chris Brewer and commented “at Brewers we love supporting Crisis and the work they do through all three of their London based Skylight centres. We will continue to provide support to Crisis and the work they are doing to end homelessness in London- what an important cause, particularly at the current time. Our dedicated store teams in East London have loved the close interaction with this exciting project and look forward to continuing to support”.