Rachel Holliday set up Calderwood House in 2015, inspired by the belief that no one is born into this world wanting to end up on the streets, and that it can happen to anyone overnight for many different reasons. It might be a veteran who has trouble adjusting to civilian life and ends up lost in the system, an ex-schoolteacher with marriage problems, someone with a drug or alcohol addiction, a person experiencing mental health problems, a teen who has fallen out with family…… the list goes on.

You can read more from Rachel here, including her journey from homelessness to being named as Cumbrian Woman of the Year, and founder of another inspiring social enterprise which supports survivors of domestic abuse.

Rachel was given a 25-year lease on the old police station in Egremont at a rent of £1 per year by the Police and Crime Commissioner! This provided the starting point for Rachel’s success in turning her dream of addressing homelessness and poverty into reality. The support of the committed Time to Change Board of Directors helped drive the project forward and created links into business in West Cumbria. This opened up opportunities for corporate sponsorship including “sponsor a room”, raised awareness of the project and allowed further integration for residents into their community.

All the income that is generated from fundraising, rental and corporate sponsorship goes to pay for our wonderful staff to support our residents 24 hours a day. Our tagline is Inspiring Change, and this is absolutely what we aim for every day. We are so proud of all that we achieve together – that includes our staff, our residents and the wonderful local community who support us.

Adapting to Covid-19

We have always encouraged our residents to socialise and to get outside to mix in our local community. They often support us at our fundraising events, and we’re always proud when our residents and staff are wearing our uniform and on hand to chat to people about what we do and how we make a positive contribution to the area.

During lockdown we were faced with some big challenges. Not only did some of our staff fall ill with the virus, but we also had to ask all our residents to effectively self-isolate in their rooms. It was at this point that we changed our policy on TVs in the rooms, and we provided this company along with Wi-Fi, Netflix and a range of puzzles and distraction to everyone in our care. Here’s to better times ahead.