PRESS RELEASE: Bridge the Gap

PRESS RELEASE: Bridge the Gap

£1.4 million needed to support vulnerable people in Surrey

Charities from across Surrey gathered at Painshill Park this week to celebrate the success of a project which supports some of the county’s most vulnerable people.

Surrey’s Bridge the Gap programme supports people facing multiple disadvantage such as homelessness, substance use, domestic abuse, criminal justice involvement and mental health challenges.

Until now Bridge the Gap has been run as a pilot scheme, funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the National Lottery – but from January a fundraising drive is being launched to raise the £1.4 million which will be needed for it to continue supporting vulnerable people in Surrey.

The 11 local charities that are backing the scheme met with organisers at Painshill Park on Monday, December 11 for the celebratory event. These charities are Catalyst, Guildford Action, The Hope Hub, Oakleaf, Richmond Fellowship, Rentstart, Your Sanctuary, North Surrey Domestic Abuse Service, South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services and Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership.

Lisa Byrne and Collette Le Van-Gilroy, Programme Managers for Changing Futures Surrey, the National initiative behind Bridge the Gap, said it was fantastic to get everyone together.

Lisa said: “We are thrilled to celebrate the success of the programme and everything we’ve already achieved. Bridge the Gap is an incredible initiative that makes a real difference to the lives of dozens of people across Surrey by supporting each of them towards their goals.”

Collette said: “We know that trauma often leads to homelessness and it is by working with these disadvantaged people that we can help them build a better future for themselves. Even though Bridge the Gap has been run as a pilot scheme, we’ve had incredibly positive outcomes.”

Bridge the Gap recently received praise from Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Sir Chris Whitty, who came to Surrey and spoke with the team. The upcoming Joint Strategic Needs Assessment for Multiple Disadvantage states: “From the extensive qualitative engagement to date we’re confident in saying that there are 3,000+ people experiencing multiple disadvantage in Surrey.”

Collette said: “Bridge the Gap needs £1.4 million of funding if we are going to continue supporting vulnerable people in Surrey and giving them the vital help they need. Our unique programme puts vulnerable Surrey people at the heart of the service. Bridge the Gap is about building relationships with people, listening to them and helping them with what they need.

“We are looking to local people and businesses to get behind us and help make a difference to those in their communities who need that extra support.”

If you’re interested in supporting the Bridge the Gap programme please send your email to:

To learn more about Oakleaf’s Bridge the Gap support or how to make a referral, click here.

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