Third Sector Excellence Awards: Charity Partnership

Homelessness charity Broadway teamed up with 11 other organisations to provide an innovative telephone helpline.

Beyond a Helpline
Beyond a Helpline

For an agreement between two or more voluntary organisations that enabled partners to more effectively deliver services, communicate messages, reach new groups or reduce costs

Judging panel:
Simon Blake, chief executive, Brook
John Graham, finance director, Royal British Legion
Deborah Scott, corporate partnership executive, RNIB


Broadway Homelessness and Support and 11 other charities
Chance UK and Action for Children
Kent Union, Christ Church Students' Union, University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University
Liverpool Personal Service Society and Age Concern Liverpool
Together Women

Winner: Broadway Homelessness and Support and 11 other charities

When a group of small homelessness agencies in the capital told the London Housing Foundation they were crying out for help with people management, it decided to tackle the problem.

The foundation considered that the best answer was to tap into the professional HR skills of a larger voluntary organisation. After the project was put out to tender, Broadway was chosen to provide the service.

Broadway set up the Beyond a Helpline initiative, offering each participating agency an audit of their needs, a set of core policies and procedures, training for managers, quarterly HR surgeries, a nominated account manager and a helpline.

Broadway received £89,000 in the first year and £68,500 in the second. Each agency contributed £2,000 plus £200 per staff member; the foundation paid the rest. Agencies that completed the two-year pilot now pay an annual retainer of £2,310 plus VAT. An evaluation by Triangle Consulting showed improvements for participants in areas such as staff satisfaction and greater perceived professionalism by local authorities and funders.

One participant said: "There are clear processes and structures that pervade everything now. The culture used to be completely maverick and people just did what they wanted."
Broadway said it was able to deliver against one of its own core organisational objectives - to build on its partnerships and continue to encourage good practice in the sector - while generating additional income for its own homelessness clients.

"HR support is crucial to the development of charities," said Deborah Scott, one of the judges. "This partnership is unusual because of the wide range of partners."

The 11 participants in the scheme are: Homeless Link; New Horizon Youth Centre; Grove Housing; Hammersmith Women's Aid; Kipper Project; Brent Homeless Users Group; Borderline; Ashiana; Cardboard Citizens; Foyer Federation; and Cricklewood Homeless Concern.

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