Hostel to Home – the completed refurbishment of Southwold House is ‘the best Christmas present ever’

Last week, employees from leading property services business Ian Williams, joined youth homelessness charity 1625 Independent People representatives and young people, local Government, regional media and a host of suppliers to celebrate the official launch of Southwold House in Yate, South Gloucestershire. The Christmas-themed opening marked the successful conclusion of a top-to-tail refurbishment of the hostel undertaken by Ian Williams with generous support from their suppliers, at no cost to the charity.

Mike Turner, Ian Williams’ Executive Director comments: “Supporting 1625ip with the refurbishment of Southwold House made total sense when the Ian Williams charitable Foundation looked to get involved back in the summer. As a business, Ian Williams works in 1000s of homes and communities across the UK every year and so knew we could offer expertise, a highly skilled delivery team, project management and the support of a large supplier network to a charitable initiative. 

“More than this, we wanted to do something really brilliant; something that would have a long-lasting and positive impact on people’s lives. And what could be more brilliant than helping 1625ip to provide a sustainable, safe, welcoming home for the young people who really need it in South Gloucestershire, close to our Chipping Sodbury head office. A year ago 1625ip took on a tired looking hostel in desperate need of a facelift and they wanted to create a welcoming and homely environment for the young people. It has been a total privilege to work with the charity to make this happen and we’re so proud to have created an attractive environment for living, learning and relaxing.


“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room when Poppy, a young person at Southwold House said: ‘A big thank you to everyone at Ian Williams who helped to make Southwold House into a home. It is warm and welcoming especially now at Christmas time. Most of the young people are not here through choice so it means so much to us all to have a place that feels more like a home now.”

Dom Wood, Chief Executive at 1625ip praises the leadership and generosity of Ian Williams, the business that led the refurbishment at no cost to the charity: “By undertaking a complete refurbishment of the Southwold House hostel, Ian Williams have proven themselves to be inspirational leaders. They have galvanised their employees and other companies to provide the best possible home for 1625ip’s young people.  What a great Christmas present for our young people to have a place that is now somewhere they can be proud of; from where they can rebuild their lives and create a successful future.

“Tackling homelessness is about more than providing hostels – by supporting 1625ip Ian Williams have created space to study, a fantastic kitchen where young people can learn to cook, and proper spaces to relax and to be part of the community. This is all about long term impact by creating welcoming, homely environments in the community from which young people can grow and develop. This is a great example of how partnerships between local businesses and charities can create long term change for young homeless people. I cannot thank Ian Williams and their suppliers enough for their generosity in undertaking such a high quality refurbishment so that our young people can have the home they deserve”.

Tracie Roberts, Team Leader, Southwold House commented: “I want to say a massive thank you to the Ian Williams team for making the heart of Southwold House beat again. We all know how important a home is to us all, a young person is no different. You have helped to ensure their journey at Southwold House is a comfortable, homely, good experience which will in turn contribute to individuals feeling secure and settled, and for some, this may be the first time in their lives. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the Ian Williams’ builders and decorators – nothing was ever too much trouble, they were empathetic and understanding of our young people throughout the refurbishment, real gentlemen”. 

The final word goes to Toby Savage, the Leader of South Gloucestershire Council who attended the opening: “As a charity providing vital support and a safe place to live for some of the most vulnerable young people, 1625ip have always known that they cannot succeed on their own. They work closely with South Gloucestershire Council and local charities, but also need the support of businesses who provide additional expertise, job opportunities for young people and vital fundraising. Ian Williams has been a shining endorsement of how such collaborative approaches between business and charity can work to provide such a sustainable and positive outcome.”


Thank you to all our supply chain partners who made contributions to the project:

Ian Williams and the Ian Williams Foundation would like to wish all the young people at Southwold House a fantastic first Christmas in their new home.  For more information on 1625 ip, visit:

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