The Diocese of Truro has agreed to lease a property to a homelessness charity in Cornwall to provide a ‘move-on’ property for people preparing to return to independent living.

The  diocese is working with Cosgarne Hall, which currently houses 60 people across four properties in St Austell. They are individuals with varying levels of support needs and issues that either contributed to their homelessness in the first place or prevents them from easily being housed elsewhere.

The trustees of the Truro Diocesan Board of Finance have agreed to lease a former parsonage in Eliot Gardens, Newquay, to Cosgarne Hall.

The purpose of this is to provide accommodation, initially for up to six people who require a low level of support. It is hoped that this accommodation will provide a transitional home for them while they continue to move from a more supported environment towards fully independent living.

Diocesan secretary, Esther Pollard, said: “As a Christian organisation, it is our duty and our privilege to be able to do something that will help people who might otherwise be marginalised. This is work that goes on through our churches in Newquay on a daily basis.

“I do understand that this may be a worrying concept for people living in the neighbourhood, but also know that Cosgarne Hall itself is keen to ensure that it is a good neighbour.

“I hope people living nearby will be able to give this fair consideration, respect the right for everybody to enjoy a home and approach this with compassion and an open mind.

“Cosgarne Hall has been speaking to local residents and organisations about the project and how similar projects fit in successfully in other Cornish neighbourhoods.

“Newquay has a long history of effectively supporting the marginalised and struggling in the community.

“The existing provision in the town is very effective in ensuring that the social impact on the community is minimal and low-key. Many forms of supported accommodation already exist and the overwhelming response from local residents has been largely positive. Edgcumbe Avenue, Parkenbutts, Tower Road, and St Georges Road are clear examples how differing forms of supported accommodation can assimilate themselves within the neighbourhood and contribute to the health and well-being not just of the clients, but of all residents.

“The Diocese of Truro, and particularly the parish churches in Newquay, have been a part of the history of the existing provision. Their commitment to support those who are struggling with life is at the core of their work in the town and has been for many years.”


Eliot Gardens – Frequently Asked Questions

 Why do some local residents believe a ‘place for people with drink and drug problems’ is opening in Eliot Gardens, in what was a parsonage?

There is no intention to open a ‘place for people with drink and drug problems’ – it is a house for people who have been homeless and who might be vulnerable for a large number of reasons. These vulnerabilities might include substance abuse, but might equally include a disability of some kind or mental or physical health issues, or maybe the breakdown of a marriage or relationship.

The building is owned by The Diocese of Truro who, in line with its Christian mission to support vulnerable people, approached Cosgarne and other Cornish charities about the possibility of them buying or renting dormant housing stock to use as supported accommodation for homeless people.

 Both the Diocese and Cosgarne Hall recognise that homelessness in Cornwall continues to be an issue, so the decision for Cosgarne to rent the property to house people with low-level support needs was made.

This unit will allow the charity to move on people who are more independent, but who require some limited support while gearing up to fully independent living.


What is planned for the property?

The property will be a unit for people with low-level support needs who have already moved through the charity’s main site in St Austell.  This client group are independent but still need some help to find affordable, long-term accommodation with private or social landlords, of which there is a great shortage. 

The site will be visited daily by staff delivering support and will will be monitored 24/7 by security with mobile patrols.


Some residents are concerned it will be a place for people with drink and drug problems. Would residents be allowed to drink alcohol and take drugs on the premises?

Again, it will not specifically be a ‘place for people with drink and drug problems’ – it is a home for people who might be vulnerable for a large number of reasons and who, often as a result, have been homeless.

As with all Cosgarne properties, the management imposes a strict zero-tolerance of antisocial behaviour, both in the property and in the surrounding area. If a resident does not comply with this, the charity has grounds to evict them.

Cosgarne Hall has an open book policy with the police and shares information on a regular basis.

The charity abides by Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act in its letting strategy and residents of Eliot Gardens will be subject to the same laws of the land as the rest of us are in our homes.

The charity reiterates, though, that antisocial behaviour is deemed unacceptable. 


Residents have complained they have not been consulted on the matter. Will there be any consultation?

As the unit is currently designed to house no more than 5-6 people, there is no requirement for planning permission at this stage. Once residents have moved in and staff are stationed at the property, the charity will connect with the local residents about its work. 

This is no different to any landlord renting out rooms with shared facilities, a guest-house or small-scale student accommodation for example. In fact, this property was a guest house just a few years ago.

A homeless person in supported accommodation is by definition deemed a vulnerable person, and as such Cosgarne Hall is required to do everything it can to safeguard them, to respect them and their privacy and to keep their information confidential.  To pre-dispose residents to the kind of potential negativity that is already apparent in some quarters by advertising these plans would be in contradiction of this code of conduct.

This type of low-level support home does not require that any form of consultation is carried out. Moreover, it is the charity’s experience that neighbours who have concerns prior to a property like this opening are often pleasantly surprised once the residents are there.


When are they planning to open the centre?

The charity will start improvements to the property in June and will start moving residents in as rooms become ready. But a reminder, it is not a ‘centre’ or a ‘hostel’ – it is a shared house with an office/meeting/counselling room that has additional housing management to help the clients move towards independent living. 


Will the unit house people coming out of prison?

This home is not intended for direct access by people on prison-release. Cornwall has specialist places aimed at working with those who are on probation.


Some people, especially on social media, have expressed concerns about problems there have been with clients of the main Cosgarne Hall site in St Austell, and issues with some of them being involved in crime. Will this be the same in Eliot Gardens?

Eliot Gardens will be for people who are ready to move on from Cosgarne Hall or one of the charity’s other properties, individuals for whom the next step will be to move back into private sector or housing association properties. It is supported, move-on accommodation.

 Cosgarne Hall will manage the premises with staff on-site during the working week, and others on call if need be at other times.

Cosgarne Hall does not condone criminal behaviour and the concerns raised are heeded. However, the concerns are related to isolated incidents without, necessarily, any fuller understanding of their context and of the charity’s management of them. 

The managers and trustees of Cosgarne Hall believe that a firm approach is required in the justice system for those persons who engage in criminal activity, and the charity shares information relating to criminal activity with all the agencies that work in the criminal justice system.

Cosgarne Hall delivers a support contract for Cornwall Council and is regularly audited to make sure it is compliant. Unfortunately, people often see the charity as a scapegoat because it does not hide its work or marginalise homeless people. 

All kinds of crime happen across Cornwall, and can occur in any community. It is unfortunate that Cosgarne Hall’s name is nearly always mentioned when a resident is involved in a crime, whereas this is simply not the case for other landlords whose tenants might break the law.   

Cosgarne Hall’s highly acclaimed work with housing, and supporting and moving homeless people forwards, as well as its community action days, are less well-publicised – but this is what it spends its time doing as a charity. 

Each resident covered by the charity’s support contract has a dedicated key-worker and every resident is required to engage with the charity’s housing-related support and its Tenancy Sustainment Programme.  The programme comprises training people in tenancy skills, rights and responsibilities, budgeting and other necessary skills for independent living.  Alongside this, the charity offers therapeutic counselling, healthcare, art groups, community action projects to improve local areas, volunteering and a range of other positive, diversionary activities for people to engage with. 

Cosgarne Hall sees deprivation and social, physical, mental and emotional maladies on the fringes of society, carrying out work that some mock and others do not want to be part of. However, the reality is that the charity has many hugely dedicated volunteers who understand the need for humanity around homelessness and work closely with residents to help them achieve wellbeing and independence.

The charity prides itself on the strong partnerships it has with a range of health, wellbeing, training and associated agencies to ensure people can access the support they need and deserve.  Cosgarne Hall has remarkable success in nurturing independence in those deemed ‘hard to reach’, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘chaotic’ because it accepts them as people and works with them to find positive routes to being rehoused.

The new unit in Newquay will be for people at this end stage of recovery from homelessness, or those who have not experienced such severe crises. 


Residents have expressed concerns that the property will be near schools and a nursery. Could the operators not look for a premise away from schools if they are opening a place for people with drink and drug problems.

As stated previously, this unit is intended for people with low-level support needs who may never have had a substance-misuse issue, and may simply be recovering from hard times, for example a divorce, managing mental or physical health issues, or job loss. Cosgarne Hall works with local schools on the St Austell Anti-Social Behaviour  Working Group and would be happy to in Newquay. 

The charity will be joining groups in Newquay that work to combat antisocial behaviour and keep the town safe and pleasant, as it does in St Austell, as this is all part of its commitment as a charity in providing accommodation.  

 Newquay is a vibrant community with lots of opportunities for positive activities, volunteering and employment and Cosgarne Hall sees its model of tenancy sustainment, community action and volunteering working very well there.  Cosgarne Hall’s business model is to use local suppliers and it hopes to bring this ethos to Newquay.


How can I help the homeless in my neighbourhood?

There are many ways in which individuals can help the homeless, either by working with homelessness charities like Cosgarne Hall, or with their local church which will often be actively engaged in helping those who are homeless, hungry, or who otherwise find themselves marginalised in society. Please reach out to discover ways in which you can get involved and help.