Recognising Potential, Encouraging Independence, Achieving Self-Worth
In the mid-sixties seven people from two different churches living in Croydon responded to what was seen as a growing need: people with mental health problems were coming to their churches but apart from encouragement and support, there was very little practical help that could be given.
Together, these seven Christians formed Crossways Trust became a Registered Charity in 1967. Initially, two adjoining houses were rented offering accommodation for up to six people and two of the founders moved in to be alongside those being supported. The driving principle being healing of the whole person in body, mind and spirit and ultimately if achievable, care for all ages.
In 1971 Crossways moved to Tunbridge Wells, opening up a registered care home and over the next two decades, a further four properties were purchased providing a range of accommodation. In 1991 the organisation’s name changed to Crossways Community reflecting the support offered to people who live at Crossways. Our houses are places where people can come, feel accepted and gain insight into their lives. A safe place where people can grow and develop, gaining confidence.
What we have today
In the early 1990s, we decided to move away from just providing long-term provision in a care home and some separate rented accommodation in the town, and in 1995 we built a supported accommodation unit (hostel) for 22 people with staff supported in a quiet area of Tunbridge Wells, a short walk to the town centre. It was purposely designed with a mixture of separate space and shared areas so that the sixteen single bedsits each have their own individual ensuite shower and toilet but up to four people share a kitchen, 4 flats (with shared kitchens) are for people needed less support. There are also two completely self-contained flats.
After building the supported accommodation, one of the problems we considered addressing was the need for long-term accommodation for people who needed little support. This culminated in 2007 in the building six independent living flats in the grounds of our supported accommodation.
The Ethos of Crossways Community
The Heart of Crossways
Crossways Community always endeavours to put Jesus at the centre.
All the support and care staff are Christians, with a heart for serving God and vulnerable people through their work. Residents' needs are regularly prayed for, and there is a chapel/reflection time in the middle of each day where staff and residents alike can focus on God. On top of required care and support standards, Crossways' core focus is on Jesus, with the knowledge that His love can heal people and make them whole.
The Environment of Crossways
Staff at Crossways' care home (No.8) and supported accommodation (Culverdale) work within national care and support standards, to ensure that residents receive appropriate care to meet their needs. Staff ensure that through regular contact with professionals such as psychiatrists, community psychiatric nurses and social workers, each resident’s mental health needs are cared for. For many residents the friendships developed whilst living at Crossways and being part of a nurturing community, is a stepping stone in itself to achieving stable mental health.
Equality and Acceptance
In general, people with mental health difficulties can sometimes feel they are labelled unfairly. At Crossways, we believe that everyone is equal no matter what their needs are. Staff recognise that each resident is precious in God's eyes. Therefore, each person is treated with dignity and respect with the hope that the residents will view themselves and each other in the same way.