CHAT Timeline

1992 At the height of the Youth homelessness crisis, Sally Chapman researched local support and obtained grants from Mid Devon District Council and Devon County Council Social Services, plus donations from churches, to start a deposit guarantee scheme, allowing people to access private rented accommodation.

1994 Weekly drop-in run by 2 volunteers at The Old Bakery in Westexe, Tiverton.

1995 CHAT registered as an independent charity.  Work expanded to include regular housing advice surgeries in Crediton, Cullompton and Tiverton.  Through effective partnership with MDDC and Social Services, CHAT’s success in housing non-statutory homeless became evident.

1997 – 2002 Start of Tenancy Support (preventing tenancies from breaking down) and the Youth Housing Project (managing five homes for young people at risk of homelessness, in partnership with Westcountry Housing Association).

2005 Move to premises in Gold Street, providing easy access and interview rooms, allowing more services to be offered and increasing staff team to ten.

2010 2014 Government Comprehensive Spending Review began a series of drastic cuts to public funding, leading to the sad closure of the Youth Housing Project. 

2012  CHAT saw a growing problem with fuel poverty in our area and were able to start a Winter Fuel Poverty scheme.

2015 A large bequest, intended to develop new projects, led to the appointment of a Debt and Money Advisor and the vision to create a ‘Hub’, where clients could meet other agencies and access new services.

2017 CHAT makes another move to Coggan’s Well House. A much bigger space with improved facilities from rough sleepers (shower, washing machine) and more interview rooms.  Computers available for client use along with a much bigger area for the foodbank.

2019 CHAT further develops the Debt and Money service by becoming a Community Money Advice Centre – now able to offer budgeting help and debt advice to many more clients in Mid Devon. The original Deposit Guarantee Scheme is re-launched as the Assisted Tenancy Scheme to help more people into accommodation.

2020 Along with the rest of the world CHAT finds themselves having to respond quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic. Working with the local town council and district council, and other agencies in the area CHAT continued to provide food support and advice and support when it was most needed. Face to face appointments continued where possible, but the reception area had to close. 

2022 CHAT is pleased to be able to reopen the reception area and is back to ‘normal’ but unfortunately busier than ever as the local community struggles with the effects of the pandemic and cost of living crisis.