Our core values are:
- Respect and ambition-we respect the life histories of homeless people, believe in their potential and will help realize their ambitions
- Excellence and creativity-we aim for excellent and creative solutions to the changing needs of homeless people
- Diversity and equality-we are richer as a charity and as a society by valuing diversity and striving for equality of opportunity.
The original idea for a Watford hostel for the homeless came about from the co-operation between Beechen Grove Baptist Church, Holy Rood Roman Catholic Church, Watford Probation Services, WCVS and others, who were running ‘supper clubs’ at the time. Food was cooked at various locations around Watford and then served at various other premises in the Town Centre.
A Steering committee was formed which included the Rev. Norman Moore, of St. Andrew’s Church Watford, Myrtle Frith of W.C.V.S., Alfred Kelly who ran a much valued second hand furniture store in the town, Ann Davis and Ann Singh-Toor, the latter two working for the Probation Service in Watford. At this point funding raising began. The steering committee was joined by a member of Watford Town Council and premises were leased to us at 36, Rickmansworth Road by Watford Borough Council, and GROW then became a reality in 1983, when a nine bed hostel was opened with three shared bedrooms. It was largely furnished by Alfred Kelly but gifts and donations were received from individuals and local churches many of whom still maintain a strong and much valued connection with GROW. The newly formed Charity/Company Ltd by guarantee, GROW had as its first chair of the committee the Rev. Norman Moore, Ann Davis taking over some time later and serving in this capacity for many years. Of the original Trustees only Ann Singh-Toor now remains as an active member.
The principal aim of GROW was to provide beds for rough sleepers, taking them off the streets and ensuring that they were fed and taken care of medically, after which their emotional and other needs could be taken care of. The committee were already in touch with and known by many rough sleepers around Watford, and as rough sleepers were often known to die in tragic and unpleasant circumstances it was a joy for the committee to see their project get off the ground and begin to bring relief to this vulnerable and disadvantaged section of our society.
Our first hostel manager was Malcolm Munday who was a fully ‘live in’ manager and was able to have time off by arrangement with volunteer cover from the Probation Services, Churches, Trustees and other concerned individuals. Then when finance began to come through from housing benefit and donations, a more regular staffing structure was put in place and three duty workers were employed on round the clock shifts. After several years a property was rented in Sutton Road as a move on house with four beds, and although we no longer have these premises we later rented another move on house known as GrowMore also with four beds, which we continue to operate today from Euston Avenue.
Worker and Book Keeper who have joined our team in addition to the three original Duty Workers.