About Us – Chess Homeless

About Us

Our Mission and Values

Our Mission

CHESS works to ensure that people who find themselves homeless are supported in ways that enable them to move forward purposefully and in good health.

CHESS stands for Churches Homeless Emergency Support Scheme.

Our Aims

To provide a good standard accommodation for the homeless. Supporting improvement in the health and well-being of service users without discrimination or judgement. Giving practical support in achieving independence. Raising awareness of homelessness and to become a catalyst for change and partnership recognising the resources of others.

Our Values

We care for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, respecting their need for safety and dignity. We promote a sense of security, self-worth and acceptance of the diversity of the individuals we serve. We encourage the growth and development of our staff and service users through partnerships and training opportunities with others. We are committed to equality of opportunity for all.

We Shelter

Knowing that you have a safe place to return to after a long day at work or visiting friends often goes for granted to someone who is housed. But to rough sleepers ‘where will I sleep?’ is a harsh reality that they have to face on a daily basis.

Knowing that your physiological needs are going to be met, without even thinking about it, has a massive impact on how you meet society on a day to day basis.

Being able to offer a homeless person the very basic needs, is the first part of ‘CHESS Homeless’ mission being achieved.

Being able to offer shelter can have a long-lasting effect on someone. CHESS has a number of properties that offer shelter to those who have been homeless. The first stop is the Shelter (this property is staffed with support workers), from there it’s a move to the Annex, just down the road from the night shelter which is also monitored by CCTV. From the annex it’s onto one of our move on properties.

We Support

CHESS Homeless support services assess the individual’s need and helps them address any obstacles that inhibit them from moving forward. We have a working relationship with the local council that provides housing payments, thus securing an address and the foundation to begin to work from. We have our own counselling service and work with the local GP’s. We also encourage our service users to access specialist providers for those specific needs, ie Open Road; GP and Health Services; Citizens Advice; Job Centre Plus; Debt Advice Services; Volunteering; and others. Each of our service users in the Shelter are allocated a support worker when accessing CHESS Homeless.

In addition, we believe in a holistic approach to improving the lives of our service users by providing access to external services such as an Osteopath, Art Therapy sessions, IT Training & Support and Cookery lessons; as well as other forms of counselling and therapy.

We are now able to provide access for our service users to Certificated Training Courses to assist with future employment in the following: Site Safety, Fire Marshalling, First Aid and Manual Handling. We hope to be able to offer additional courses in the future if we can secure appropriate funding.

We Raise Awareness

We raise awareness of the issues of homelessness amongst the public, local government, educational institutions, and businesses through putting on events and providing speakers and resources for your event or meeting.

If you would like to book a speaker please contact us at fundraising@chesshomeless.org

We Fundraise

Homelessness is a community issue and to keep providing the services that we do to some of the most vulnerable people in Essex, we need money and volunteers!

We use a variety of methods to raise funds including our events, appeals and providing ideas and fundraising resources so that you can join the party!

Our History

In the early 1990’s Churches Together in Chelmsford (“CTiC”) became concerned about the plight of homeless people in the Chelmsford area.

Its first response was to organise a soup run; local Christians would prepare soup and take it to distribution points in Chelmsford to hand out to those living on the streets.

Harsh Winters then caused further worries. During the Winter months local churches would take it in turn to open their halls for a week at a time so homeless people could sleep there at night. Christian volunteers would collect homeless people from the centre of town in the evening and take them to the relevant church hall for the night. Volunteers from each church would look after the residents comfort and safety.

It became clear that the need for shelter was not restricted to the Winter months. CHESS opened its Night Shelter in the middle 1990’s. Since the beginning of this century it has acquired an Annexe to the Shelter plus multiple move-on houses currently accommodating up to 66 service users.

Legal Structure

CHESS Homeless is both a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. It’s constitution is governed by the charities and companies legislation of England and Wales and by its own Memorandum and Articles of Association. Its objects, as set out in the Memorandum, are:

To relieve hardship and distress amongst the homeless primarily but not exclusively within the district administered by Essex County Council and among those living in adverse housing conditions, in particular, but not exclusively by a) the provision of emergency accommodation and associated services, and b) the provision of assistance towards acquiring a settled way of life through rehabilitation and permanent accommodation.

The relief of poverty of persons living in the above mentioned area.

Trustees & Executive

The Trustees are the charity’s Directors. They are responsible for the overall strategy, policy and direction of CHESS.

The members appoint the Trustees at the Annual General Meetings. The Trustees can appoint additional Trustees between AGMs, subject to confirmation at the following AGM. Trustees serve for three years but are eligible for re-election.

The Trustees are obliged to prepare annual reports and accounts showing the results of their stewardship of CHESS. These are considered by the members at the annual general meetings.

CHESS currently has an Executive team consisting of the Chair, the Chief Executive Officer. the Operations Manager and the Finance Officer. The Chief Executive Officer is the vital link between the Trustees and CHESS’s day-to-day operations.

Our Reports

Social accounting is about recording the social value of an organisation which provides a framework to plan and manage future developments.  It’s focus is on proving, improving and accounting for an organisation value to its beneficiaries, and those that are stakeholders to organisation.

It demonstrates transparency, a willingness to improve by the organisation, and includes stakeholders who can raise awareness and allow them to feedback into how the organisation could improve its service for the mission that it is seeking to achieve.

Social accounting shows the value given back to the community in both financial and non-financial benefits that the organisation provides.

Find out more about Social Accounting click here 

Notes from AGM 2019 can be downloaded here: Chelmsford CHESS AGM Minutes 2019

If you would like to read our Annual Report please click on the links below

CHESS Review 2021

CHESS Homeless signed accounts