• "Haven First helped me get my life back on track" - Taegan

  • "I was rescued by a team of very dedicated caring people always ready to listen and help" - Barrie

  • "I was in a dark low place and didn't know we're to turn haven gave me a chance to find me again" - John
  • "You gave me a chance when I was pretty much out of chances, you gave me hope when I was hopeless and you gave me your time and advice when I really needed it" - Gary
    "The haven is a safe place"- John

  • "Sheltering, Supporting and Shaping Lives"

  • "You guys are a saviour"- Gary
  • "the staff are amazing people. I was greeted by people who genuinely cared about me [...] I will always be grateful"- Angie
    "The haven is a safe place"- John
  • "My father lived in your Stevenage hostel two years ago [...] he was extremely well looked after and made good friends there"- Pheobe
    "Sheltering, Supporting and Shaping Lives"

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Stevenage Haven was selected by Austin's Family Funeral Directors to be their charity of 2016. Hertfordshire Community Foundation, who manage a charitable fund for Austin's, issued the following press release about the charity of the year donation to Stevenage Haven.



MEDIA RELEASE:                                                                                            8 February 2017


 Homeless shelter receives generous donation from local funeral directors


Stevenage Haven have received a generous financial boost following a donation worth over £5,000


The charity was selected as the nominated charity for 2016 for Austin’s Family Funeral Directors, a Hertfordshire based organisation who have been caring for bereaved Hertfordshire families for over 300 years.


The amount donated includes gifts of financial contributions in lieu of flowers as well as a corporate donation from Austin’s. The cheque was handed over on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 by Claire Austin and Jonathan Aves of the Hertfordshire Community Foundation who manage a charitable fund for Austin’s Family Funeral Directors.


Stevenage Haven support single people from Stevenage and North Herts who are experiencing homeless.  The charity operates two hostels, The Haven in Stevenage and The Sanctuary in Hitchin, and manage 11 move-on properties, transforming the lives of around 150 people every year.


Barbara Howard, Director of Stevenage Haven said “We work to offer a lifeline to help people to get back on their feet and to move on into secure and settled lives in the local community.  We are very grateful for this donation and it will make a big difference to the people we help.”


Claire Austin, Managing Director of Austin’s Family Funeral Directors said: “Statistics show that millions of people in the UK are just one payday away from not being able to pay their mortgage or rent and this situation is getting worse with rough sleeping statistics on the increase. The team at Austin’s are very proud of our heritage of supporting the communities of Hertfordshire and we are delighted to have been in the position to handover this cheque to Stevenage Haven this year. 


Jonathan Aves Director for Hertfordshire Community Foundation said: We are honoured to partner with Austin’s in order to assist them in fulfilling their local giving objectives. Homelessness and housing affordability is highlighted as a key issue for the people of Hertfordshire as shown in our research report Hertfordshire Matters, so it is very fitting that Austin’s Family Funeral Directors selected Stevenage Haven as their chosen charity for 2016.”


For more information on how to apply for a grant through Hertfordshire Community Foundation, make a donation or volunteer, visit www.hertscf.org.uk or call 01707 251 351


Individuals and organisations who would like to know more about starting a charitable fund or becoming more involved in supporting the work of the voluntary sector within Hertfordshire call Hertfordshire Community Foundation on 01707 251 351 or email office@hertscf.org.uk


 Austin's cheque presentation

 Above: Austin's cheque presentation. Left-right; Frankie Packard, Claire Austin, Barbara Howard, Jonathan Aves.



About Hertfordshire Community Foundation

Hertfordshire Community Foundation is a registered charity which aims to tackle need and deprivation in Hertfordshire and to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here. We do this by providing grants to enable Hertfordshire charities and voluntary groups to tackle identified needs of the communities of Hertfordshire. We also manage funds for people and organisations wanting to support local causes.


Since inception in 1988, they have awarded over £12million in support to local communities. The foundation currently manages over 90 funds on behalf of individuals, families, companies and other organisations. During 2014/15 we awarded £538,000 in direct grant aid and partnership projects, all of which aims to tackle deprivation and improve social welfare in Hertfordshire.


For further information please contact:

Hertfordshire Community Foundation

Danielle Hood

Marketing Officer

01707 251 351






01438 354884 (Stevenage)


01462 435835 (Hitchin)

E-MAIL info@havenfirst.org.uk