07 June 2022

Rachel Holliday: ‘My vision was for us to address homelessness, unemployment and poverty differently’

Founder of Women Out West and Calderwood House, Rachel Holliday, tells us more about how their services support the local community.


By Jessica Leary, Westlakes Recruit

Award-winning Founder of the Time to Change Project CIC, Rachel Holliday, is passionate about creating a better and brighter future for those who face homelessness and poverty.


In 2013, Rachel decided to leave her job to set up the social enterprise in West Cumbria.


Nine years on, Women Out West and Calderwood House are continuing to support individuals in rebuilding their lives.


When was the Time to Change (West Cumbria) Project CIC founded, and what was your vision for the project?


TTC was set up on 20th June 2013 without a penny in the bank. My vision was for us to address homelessness, unemployment and poverty differently in West Cumbria. I felt the policies coming out of London did not resonate with our communities and I wanted to challenge the negative stigma of homelessness which was becoming increasingly worrying. We had developed the approach that people who were homeless or out of work had chosen to do so. I wanted to ensure people who fell on hard times were looked after and supported by their own community. That is what we have built together over the last nine years, a network of people who understand and help each other. 


What services and resources do Women Out West offer to support more women to move into training and employment, helping to rebuild their lives?


Before women are ready for training and employment, they need housing, stability and a network of support. We need to help women to build these solid foundations beforehand. Then they are able to make confident choices of what career they would like to have.


How does Calderwood House help upskill individuals, creating skills that can be transferable for local industries such as nuclear?


When our residents first walk through the door of Calderwood House they are usually in crisis. Nowhere to live, no one to care for them, generally in poor physical and mental health. Our priority is helping residents get back on their feet, helping them with accessing identification, some clothing and footwear, opening a bank account, accessing a GP and seeking mental health support. We need to build foundations so that person is in the right place to be able to decide what way they want to going forward.


At Calderwood House we have our very own blend of Calderwood House Coffee, we have a barista machine in the hub so residents can learn the art of barista! We have coffee mornings where we welcome the public into Calderwood House, this encourages residents to upskill in customer services, and it increases confidence.  This is a great skill to have here in the Lake District.


We also have market stalls and take part in community events and activities.


We also have an allotment where residents can grow fresh veg. We find those who volunteer at the allotment have improved mental health and confidence.


I believe there are many other organisations out there that can support our clients to learn new skills for local industries such as the amazing Skills 4 You project at Cleator Moor.   


What has been your proudest moment?


WOW there have been so many.


I think this has to be the opening day of Calderwood House. It had been a tight schedule to build, recruit the staff and team, and get the doors open to the homeless on time. We did it and it was just full of so many people who supported me along the way. I must mention Mr Richard Rhodes, the Police & Crime Commissioner of Cumbria. He agreed to lease me the Egremont Police Station and together we made Calderwood House a reality. I was so happy he came to officially open the project!!!


Is there a particular quote that motivates you?


Yes, Harriet Tubman: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always have within you, the strength, the patience and the passion, to reach for the stars, and to change the world”. 

We all have it in us to change the world. That is my belief. 


Where can people and businesses go to help the Time to Change project?


We find that people and companies generally can help in three ways;

1. Financially – donations / sponsorship / fundraising

2. Time – offering resources and giving us people to do things within our organisation

3. Promotion – promoting our products and the work we do to generate sales and donations.


We are blessed to work with so many awesome companies, from micro businesses to global companies. That’s the beauty of what we do and the community we live in.


To find out more about the work of Calderwood House and Women Out West, visit:



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