Homeless people in Aylesbury are being given a huge helping hand from a new Hightown Housing Association service (funded by Buckinghamshire Council and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) providing housing and support to help them break the cycle of rough sleeping.

The contemporary accommodation block at Ardenham Lane House, Aylesbury, provides nine self-contained one bedroom flats.

Representatives from the Government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Councillor Mark Winn, staff from Buckinghamshire Council and David Bogle, Hightown's Chief Executive, all recently visited the service to find out how the first residents have been getting on since moving in.

Reece, one of the residents, couldn’t hide his delight at moving in, saying:

“This is the best help I have had since I became homeless and it has made all the difference. I hope everyone who is homeless gets a chance to stay at a place like this where staff genuinely want to help. I'm very grateful for all the support I've received and I hope to move into my own place once I'm ready to move on."

The Ardenham Lane House project was made possible by a £650,000 grant from Buckinghamshire Council and is part of the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme. This follows on from the Everyone In initiative which supported rough sleepers or those living in unsafe communal settings during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping them to rebuild their lives.

The flats at Ardenham Lane House have been provided with all the basics to help the new residents feel at home whilst Hightown is also providing extensive support, tailored to each individual’s personal circumstances and working in collaboration with council and local support services, to help them face the future with positivity and confidence.

Hightown operates several learning disability and mental health services in Buckinghamshire but this is their first service for homeless people in the county, adding to  the five they run in Hertfordshire.

David Bogle, Hightown’s Chief Executive, comments: “Hightown was formed over 50 years ago with a social purpose to provide housing and support to local people at risk of becoming homeless. Our commitment to that social purpose remains as strong as ever and I'm delighted Hightown is working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to run our first homeless service in Buckinghamshire to help people end the cycle of rough sleeping. I wish the residents all the best for the future."

Cllr Mark Winn, Deputy Cabinet Member for Homelessness at Buckinghamshire Council, said: "Buckinghamshire Council’s priority is to ensure we virtually eliminate rough sleeping. This includes the provision of appropriate supported housing to meet the needs of residents who have previously found themselves homeless. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Hightown and the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities to deliver high quality, safe supported housing at Ardenham House to meet the needs of these residents.

"It was great for me to personally hear about the fantastic work taking place in partnership with Hightown in Ardenham House, one of several supported housing schemes in place to help homeless people across Buckinghamshire. It was hugely encouraging to meet residents such as Reece, to hear for myself about the support that is being offered to ensure lives can be turned around and individuals can support themselves in accommodation. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that no one in Buckinghamshire is sleeping on our streets."