Creating Opportunities for a Brighter Future!


“The best AGM I’ve ever been to…” 

Accolades poured in to Debbie Thompson, CEO in the hours and days following the Association’s 2018 Annual General Meeting, ‘Building Futures… Building Lives’.

Attendees were generous in their praise of another inspiring and thought provoking event held at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead, and ably hosted by the Association’s Patron the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead.  Organisers were pleased to be joined by over 100 supporters including the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, Councillors, Commissioners, Stakeholders, Association Members, staff and residents.

Debbie’s welcome included special recognition and thanks to Harvey, an extraordinary 5 year old, and the Association’s youngest supporter.  Harvey is currently undertaking a sponsored 100 mile cycling challenge to raise funds and awareness for those facing homelessness.

Building Futures:

The Association’s Chair conducted the business meeting, and launched the Annual Report which she encouraged attendees to access on the website.

We were delighted to welcome Catherine Holmes, Homes England, our key note speaker for the evening.  Mrs Holmes gave an informative presentation on Homes England’s five year strategy and opportunities for partnership working.

Building People:

At Forum we know the importance of building people, through encouragement and support, recognition of their value, and celebration of their talents and skills.  This is true for those individuals we work with, and also within our staff team.  One longstanding staff member shared a personal journey she’d faced during the last year and spoke movingly of the support she’d received from her ‘Forum family’.

Greg, Macauley and Tamar, all residents and each a talented musician and soloist performed numbers by Bob Dylan, Adele, Elton John, James, and even an original piece during the evening.  Charlotte, a resident and poet, shared an original composition, and found she was asked for copies at the end of the evening.

Every speaker and performer won warm applause from the appreciative audience.

Building Lives

Two former residents spoke movingly about the challenging circumstances that brought them to Forum, the impact their time with the Association had on their lives, what came next, right through to where they are now.  The audience responded to the speakers open and honest accounts of their turbulent but amazing journeys with a spontaneous, lengthy standing ovation.

The evening concluded with prizes awarded following the Frank Houston Challenge, this year a Staff v Resident’s Rounders Competition, and the Peter Keane Competition, this year a photography competition on the theme ‘Building futures… building lives.


Thanksgiving for 50 years

From humble beginnings in April 1969, this month Forum Housing Association began its 50th year, and marked the occasion on 16 April with a Service of Thanksgiving at Christ Church Birkenhead, the Parish Church of our founders.

We were delighted that the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral could join Forum supporters old and new, to celebrate this achievement and look to the future.

Speakers at the event were Sue Elliott, Chair of the Board, who shared a presentation on the developments and impact Forum has made over the last 50 years; and our Patron, the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead.
Bishop Keith delivered an interesting, thought provoking and encouraging message, paying particular attention to Psalm 19 verse 18 “For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.”, his key verse for Forum that day.

After the Service almost 100 members of our Forum family shared a time of fellowship, making the most of the opportunity to catch up with old friends, colleagues and residents while enjoying delicious refreshments; there was a real buzz in the air. During this time the Celebration Cake was cut by our Chief Executive, President, Patron and Chair and photographs were taken to mark the occasion.

A huge thank you to all those involved from Christ Church; the Brass Quartet from Salvation Army, Rock Ferry, a valued and long time supporter of Forum; the Speakers; Forum staff including Debbie Thompson, Chief Executive and Sue Barker, Head of Safeguarding and Wellbeing who read key verses beautifully, and to the Association’s President, Chris Allen BEM for leading Prayers of Thanksgiving.


Kip on the Kop

Forum Housing are excited to be participating in Wirral Ark’s first annual sleep out event on Friday 5 October at Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers Football Club.

What is the sleep out?

Aptly named ‘Kip on the Kop’, the event has been organised by Wirral Ark to raise public awareness of homelessness, and funds on behalf of itself and a number of local homelessness service providers; Forum Housing Association, Phoenix Futures, Riverside, Wirral Ways to Recovery, Wirral Women and Children’s Aid, and YMCA Wirral.  Participants will ‘sleeping out’ under the stars (or clouds) from 6pm on 5 October to 6am on the 6 October.

How can I get involved with the sleep out?

There are a number of ways you can get involved;

  1. You can sign up to take part by visiting the official Kip on the Kop website:

It costs £10 to sign up and there is a minimum fundraising target of £50 per person. Participants must provide their own warm clothing and sleeping bag.  There are limited spaces so if you’re interested in joining us please sign up without delay.  Fundraising packs will be sent out directly to registered participants by Wirral Ark’s fundraising team.

  1. You can sponsor someone that is taking part in the event.

If you do not know anyone taking part just yet, do not worry. We have a number of representatives from Forum Housing taking part. We will be happy to forward sponsorships to them.

Please email Forum’s lead on the event at if you are interested in being a sponsor.

  1. You can help spread the word. As this is the first of the annual event, your help with telling friends, family, colleagues, business partners etc is going to go a long way in making it a success. So please get the word out and help create a real buzz for the event.

If you have any queries please get in touch with Brian, or if you would like to provide corporate sponsorship please contact the fundraising team at Wirral Ark directly:


Merseyside Women of the Year Awards

At a glamorous ceremony on the 22 June, well deserved finalists and their supporters gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liverpool for the prestigious Merseyside Women of the Year awards.  One of those worthy women was Forum’s own Amy Butterworth.

The Merseyside Women of the Year event aims to find and reward the unsung heroines of Merseyside, for their achievements in just doing what they do best, changing lives and giving extra meaning to people’s lives across Merseyside.

Winners and runners up were announced for 12 categories with one overall “Merseyside Woman of the Year” voted for by members of the general public.

We were delighted that Amy’s enduring enthusiasm and determination to make a difference for others were recognised in her nomination, and overjoyed that she went on to win the Merseyside Women of the Year, Community Change Award, sponsored by Neo Community and ADDvanced Solutions.

Amy has received many congratulations from all the team including Debbie Thompson, Chief Executive’s own commendation “Amy’s award is a result of her focussed effort, passion, and commitment to improve the lives of the people in the community.”

Reflecting on the event Amy commented:

“I was in the best atmosphere at the Crowne Plaza at such a touching and emotional event, having the privilege to meet some of the most incredible women who work tirelessly day in and day out for their cause and communities.   

I was so shocked to not only be recognised but then to go on and win the 2018 Community Change category.  I feel this is a reflection to the community we work within and the fun we have. 

Thank you so much.” 

For more information on the award and other winners please go to:


Annual General Meeting

Attendees at Forum’s 2017 AGM, enjoyed an inspiring and thought provoking event at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead on Wednesday 13 June 2018, ably hosted by the Association’s Patron the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead.

We were delighted that Sara Mogel OBE, former Principal of West Cheshire College and Director of Foundation Enterprises North West agreed to be our speaker for the evening.  Ms Mogel spoke of the challenges faced by those people who are affected by homelessness and the work of Foundation Enterprises NW to provide personalised support.

Ms Mogel also highlighted the tremendous value of learning both for the knowledge gained and physical and mental wellbeing found through learning.  Ms Mogel quoted Benjamin Franklin, inventor and founding American father who said ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn’ a sentiment central to Forum’s own approach.

Prizes were awarded following an art competition for current residents on the theme ‘Live… and Learn, helping you to shape your future’.  Entries were displayed alongside a selection of photographs taken by a former resident which received much acclaim.

As usual at this annual event the star performers were our young people who both delighted and challenged attendees with their musical talents, across a number of genres.

One young person performed a rap he’d written about his story so far which he’s agreed we could post to illustrate the situation and experiences of some of Forum’s young people.

Do you know the struggle of living in the hostel life?
Eating beans on toast for two weeks just to survive.
Waiting every month for a payment, barely getting by.
The hunger in your tummy constantly keeps you up at night.
Sometimes I sit and wish I’d picked a different life, I wish that I flip the script and jump up on a different vibe.
Sometimes I sit and wish I’d picked a different ride, as I am on a roller-coaster and the name of it is life.
I’ve been through a harder life then most of them.
Man have been through harder so for them I am not boasting it.
Big shout to those yeah that pulled through and soldiered it.
Tonight I’m going to raise a glass and damn right I’ll be toasting it!
My head is going to overload, so many thoughts in my brain its like an overdose.
Many dark thoughts I just want to comatose and never wake up as the thoughts just don’t want to go.
I tried handling this s**t on my own and trust me you don’t want to go down that road.
Because even on the hottest day your heart will be cold, I used to be a nice guy and now I have no soul…
Reason for living on this earth sometimes I sit and wonder why that my mum had given birth,
sometimes I sit and wonder would I be better off in the dirt, but then I think no because of all the people that I’d hurt.
I don’t want to be a burden on this world because I’m hurting, there’s man going through worse and that for certain.
One day my eyes will open wide just like some curtains, one day my future will shine bright and that’s for certain.
Yh yo and I’m just trying to reach the high life, but I don’t meet the requirements on the ride height sign
and for my family I want a bright life, because living in the struggles like living in the night time.
That’s why I’m rapping now just trying to get my rhymes tight, ready for the day that it finally gets to be my time and ima kick this s**t like Muay Thai.
Starting at the bottom but you know that I will climb high.
You wouldn’t ever want to see the s**t that I’ve seen.
People constantly using drugs around me, and my brother yeah from around the age of 3, and that s**t had an impact and now i smoke weed.
I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I just blow tree, and if that offends you then you can blow me.
I used to give a f**k that used to be the old me, and if you think I’m like that now speak to my OG’s.
As life goes on my head is getting messy.
Sick of constantly feeling low and always stressing.
Sick of being mentally ill and always vexing.
Sick of always doing wrong it really does my head in.
I just want to think straight but my brain wont let me, the waves in my brain yeah they’re really f***ing heavy.
I’m surprised right now I ain’t sipping on some Henny, dangerous thoughts daily yeah they’re really f***ing heavy.

And those are a few snippets of my life.
A few moments of what’s going on inside of a broken mind.
Inside the heart of a broken guy.
Raw emotions when I wrote these lines!



Homeless Awareness Day 2018

Forum’s Housing Solutions Team took part in Homeless Awareness Day on 15 February in Birkenhead Town Centre.

Birkenhead Business Improvement District, promoters of this annual event, described it as a means of, “highlighting the work that services do to support those who are vulnerable and living on the streets”.

The event, which was extremely successful, and organised by the drugs and alcohol service Wirral Ways to Recovery, brought together numerous charities, organisations and agencies to support the cause including: Wirral Council, Birkenhead YMCA, Wirral Churches Ark Project, Street Pastors, Public Health, Merseyside Police, Town Centre Hosts and Forum Housing Association.

On the day, staff from Forum Housing distributed leaflets and spoke to members of the public in order to raise awareness of the issues associated with homelessness in Wirral, and also offered advice on how the public can support these organisations in the valuable work they do.




Old Heart of Birkenhead

On Wednesday 14 February, Valentine’s Day, Forum hosted a themed day based on the ‘Old Heart of Birkenhead’.

The event was a joint initiative led by Wirral Methodist Housing Association and Forum Creative Enterprises to raise awareness as to the diversity of shops and businesses in and around Hamilton Square.

Members from Clifford Grange Art Group, Wirral Methodist Housing Association, Forum Creative Enterprise and residents of Forum Housing Association came together to design and make ‘Heart Art’ for the occasion.

Local businesses were invited to support the initiative by displaying one of these homemade hearts in their windows.

Amy Butterworth gave her account of the day: “Members of the local community joined us at 72 Market Street for refreshments and cake, and talked about their memories of Market Street and the local area during World War II. They reminded us of how vitally important a sense of community still is for many residents.

What became very clear from the incredible stories shared on the day, is that something very ‘magical’ happens when individuals from all walks of life who care about where they live, work and socialise are kind to each other and give time and look after each other’s families and businesses.”

From conversations with the younger generation of residents living locally, it is apparent that people like living in the area, they feel a strong sense of community and want to invest on a personal level. This is what made the ‘Old heart of Birkenhead’ – the support shown on the day from the local people, inspired the team to want to keep that same vibrancy alive, and continue to promote events, creating new memories focused on what we enjoy.




Carol Concert

Forum’s Carol Concert was held on Wednesday 13 December 2017, and was generously hosted by the Salvation Army Community Church, Old Chester Road in Birkenhead.

There was a warm and positive atmosphere throughout the evening. The Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead delivered a thought-provoking message, and a range of festive and traditional carols were sung to music played by the Salvation Army’s brass band.

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all who helped to organise and support the event, and to all who attended to make the evening so special.


Working together to feed Birkenhead

On Thursday 9th November Forum’s Give and Gain Exchange teamed with Neo Community alongside other local organisations to offer support at Feeding Birkenhead’s latest campaign.

Feeding Birkenhead, which is chaired by Birkenhead MP Frank Field, has enabled local schools to both set up and maintain breakfast clubs through donations from the public.

Wirral Globe reported that 1,400 children will benefit from the generous donations made by members of the public and organisations such as HIS Church as breakfast clubs continue to offer this valuable service to children during their school term.  For further information, and the full article, please see the links below:

Feeding Birkenhead:

Feeding Britain:

Richard Humphrey – HIS Church:

Wirral Globe article:



Homeless Awareness Week 2017










As part of Homeless Awareness Week staff from Forum Housing Association took part in a rough sleep out on Saturday 21st October.

Adverse weather conditions on the night caused by Storm Brian meant that staff had to take shelter in Market Wells car park which highlights the plight suffered by rough sleepers.

Staff visited hot spots in the area where homeless people have been seen to offer support along with warm coats and hot food which had been very kindly donated.  We were also able to highlight the services provided by Forum and similar organisations in the area.

Thank you to everyone who came along to offer their support.  We still need donations of toiletries and towels so if you can help please see our appeals page for further information or get in touch in any of the ways detailed in our Contact Us section.