BCHA services and Chief Executive Lorraine Mealings have featured in a film to promote Homewards – a new national project spearheaded by HRH The Prince of Wales that aims to end homelessness in six regions of the UK, making it rare, brief and unrepeated.

Colleagues and services rallied to support filming for Homewards, a high-profile initiative by The Royal Foundation, which was founded by Prince William. The Foundation aims to mobilise leaders, businesses and communities so they can work together to address society’s greatest challenges – with the Prince visiting Bournemouth on 26 June to see first-hand how people experiencing homelessness are being given support to rebuild their lives.

With Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole being named as a flagship location for Homewards, The Royal Foundation needed to make a short film that champions work being carried out to support people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

BCHA rose to the challenge of helping producers and a camera crew to capture footage of our services – watch the film to learn more. Here’s a behind-the-scenes insight into an action-packed day of filming.


First stop, Millennium House

BCHA was delighted that The Royal Foundation accepted our invitation to film part of the Homewards video at Millennium House in Poole, which provides supported accommodation for adults aged 18 to 65 with a mental health diagnosis who are at risk of homelessness.

The green light for the camera crew was only given after Lisa Boon, Lead Service Co-ordinator and Shelly Hamon, Senior Practitioner at Millennium House, held a meeting with residents to see if they would be comfortable with a film crew working at the service.

The arrival of a TV crew with cameras, lights and computer kit can be an unnerving experience for people with mental health conditions but every resident gave a thumbs up for Millennium House to feature in the video – we can’t thank them enough! Lisa and Shelly also put on a fantastic buffet for everyone, which was appreciated by the film crew who had left Birmingham at 4.30am to travel to Poole for a hectic schedule of filming.


Lights, camera, action

First to appear in front of the camera was Ben Tomlin, Head of Strategic Housing and Partnerships at BCP Council, who provided an overview of the homelessness situation in the BCP area. Ben talked about work being carried out by the Homelessness Partnership BCP – of which BCHA is a member – focusing on how charities, agencies and the local authority have combined forces to help people experiencing homelessness, and prevent those in crisis from losing their homes.

After filming with Ben in the lounge at Millennium House was complete, Lisa and Shelly took up position in front of the cameras to provide an overview of how the dedicated team at Millennium supports customers on their journey to independent living.

The film crew then moved their kit to Millennium’s garden, with the mini-allotment tended by residents providing a backdrop. Royal Foundation producers were keen to interview a BCHA customer and Nick, a resident in Boscombe, kindly agreed to take part. Nick is known to many at BCHA as a regular contributor to Tenant Talk, where his thought-provoking articles and interviews with BCHA colleagues have proved to be a hit with readers.

Nick had previously told his story in a short film screened at the Homelessness Partnership BCP’s first conference last September, called ‘Working together to prevent homelessness’. But he was keen to share his experiences with a national audience, so he travelled to Millennium House talk on camera about how it felt to lose everything – and how BCHA helped to get his life back on track.

Nice weather for ducks

There’s a saying in TV: never work with children or animals! But there’s an additional factor to consider – the weather. Producers wanted to capture footage of ‘sunny Bournemouth’ – the golden beaches and famous gardens leading from the pier to the town centre.

Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and with monsoon-like rain forecast, we needed a plan B. Thankfully, our colleagues at BCP Council granted our request to use the Pine Walk Bandstand, an historic structure in the Lower Gardens where filming could take place under cover, with the bandstand’s doors unfolded to allow cameras to capture panoramic views across the gardens. Pre-recorded footage of Bournemouth beach, filmed by BCP Council’s drone, was cut into the final edit, saving the day.

Star of the show for this segment of filming was BCHA Chief Executive Lorraine Mealings, who shared her extensive expertise on the causes of homelessness in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – and her excitement at BCP being selected to take part in Homewards, with insight into the opportunities that the project is set to bring.

A break in the rain tempted the production crew to up sticks and head to Bournemouth Pier to film the final segment at the beach. Of course, the heavens opened again but with determination (and large umbrellas) the cameras rolled as planned. It was a wrap; the crew headed back to the Midlands and BCHA is proud that the film is now live and bringing its work to a national audience.

Our Partners