Michael Keenan, our new Business Manager

It’s been absolutely fantastic joining the team here. The Threshold mission strikes such a strong resonance with me. Business development, community engagement and improving life opportunities for some of the most vulnerable people in our society has been at the core of my professional career in numerous senior roles working within Prison Reform, Social Inclusion and Education. I am passionate about quality improvement in service delivery and ensuring outcomes are meaningful to our service users – I believe every ‘contact point’ we have, has the scope to be truly transformative and potentially life changing in supporting individuals on the stepping stones to realising their individual and personal success. It’s great to be part of the Threshold team and look forward to working closely with you.

Annie Anderson, our new trustee

A few years ago, I was at the Co-op in Gorse Hill one evening and saw a couple of lads. They had backpacks, for some reason I wondered if they had somewhere to sleep? I have three sons and I thought about those lads a lot.  They were someone’s child, they looked like they needed help and support, what could I do?  That is when I came across the outreach team of THL who or are in contact with people who need help and support.  Em and Steve organise two lunch times which provide tea and coffee - and with the help of Greggs something hot - for people in need.  Here was my answer: go and make the tea once a week.  

 

At THL, I am able to hear and see the support those two lads needed: encouragement, acceptance and information that supports individuals to make decisions.   I have worked as a volunteer for over fifty years in community and charity organisations and was happy to join as a trustee to work with colleagues, to take joint responsibility to support the staff and development of the organisation to improve the lives of someone’s children.

Blanket Appeal 2016 – The team behind it!

Threshold’s blanket appeal was first launched in the winter 2014 by Wendy Cole, Colin Arch and Terry Dixon. They started it by distributing flyers around the Lawns and West Swindon residential areas, asking them to drop their unwanted blankets, duvets, warm clothes to a dropping point.

It has been a success from the very first year but over the years, the support has been ever growing, bringing hundreds of blankets that provided a bit of warm and kept the rough sleepers from freezing during the harsh cold winter nights.

This year, most donations have been donated by residents in the Lawns and worshipers at St Peter’s church in West Swindon and All Saint’s church in Ferndale. Inspired by their appeal, THL has launched one on social media and has a tremendous response from Swindon’s community.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jez Rice, said, “Everyone at THL - including our many clients - have been taken aback by the generosity shown by our supporters. The bitterly cold weather at the start of the New Year has put lives at risk amongst rough sleepers in Swindon. On behalf of the Board of Trustees I would like to say a big “Thank you “to everyone who took part in the appeal

To all our supporters, we would like to say THANK YOU. We could not do it without you!

 

If you have unwanted blankets, duvets, sleeping bags, warm clothes, backpack etc. and you would like to donate them to our charity, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 01793 524 661.

Climbing the Kilimanjaro with Jo Kearsley

Here at THL, we try to empower our services users to surpass themselves and what a brilliant example for them to see one of our supporter achieving such a challenge! This is exactly what Jo did for us. She set herself the target to climb Kilimanjaro and although she didn’t get to the top, she overcame barriers that she didn’t imagine she could! We are very proud of her achievements and so, we asked Jo for some insights on her experience and here what she said.

 

1. So Jo, could you tell us a little bit about you and how you got to know about THL?

I work at Nationwide Building Society and two years ago we were looking at a charity to support for our area.  I chose THL because they do excellent work for the homeless in Swindon and I wanted to raise awareness on this subject

 

2. How did you come to the idea of climbing the Kilimanjaro in support of Threshold?

I wanted to combine my challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro with raising some monies and good for THL.  By advertising it on social media and also by getting the local press to be involved.  This would also raise awareness of the homeless crisis we have in swindon.

3. We know that you went on your own up there, which in itself must have been a big adventure. Could you tell us how you felt?

I arranged it myself but there were 3 other people who wanted to climb the same time as I did, I didn’t know them (they were Americans) but it calmed me a bit knowing that I wouldn’t be totally on my own (ie with other climbers).  I felt quite nervous but also excited to be completing one of my dreams after so long! I had been planning the trip for 3 years!  Once I arrived in Tanzania and met with the guides and fellow climbers I felt much calmer

4. How was your experience? In retrospect, would you have changed anything?

It was the hardest thing I have ever done and that is after 25 years in the Army but it was also the best thing I have ever don’t.  But I never once felt – WHAT HAVE I DONE – I enjoyed the whole experience, even not being able to breathe properly and feeling really very ill at times.  I would not have changed a thing, I was well prepared, the people were fabulous and the company I went with were super.

5. Have you got any tips for anyone that would like to climb the Kilimanjaro?

My tips would be, plan, plan, plan and chat to someone who has been up – that helped me a lot – borrow stuff you need to use rather than buy it and book some respite at the end of the climb – you are so tired afterwards!

 

We must also say that through her efforts, Jo raised £2,500 for the charity, which will help us carrying on offering our services to some of the most vulnerable people in Swindon. Thank you Jo for making a difference!

 

 

If you too, would love to climb Kilimanjaro, has a great idea for an experience of a lifetime and would like to dedicate it to our work, please get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Swindon // 1 John Street // SN1 1RT

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