Claire, who is in her 20s, has a history of poor mental health, substance misuse and experienced sexual exploitation from a young age. She was experiencing homeless and despite having a hostel bed she often slept rough, which left her very vulnerable. Her experiences have led to a mistrust of professionals as she felt constantly let down. Claire’s substance abuse and addiction meant that she often overlooked and sacrificed her mental health treatment.
After Claire’s most recent episode of being unwell, she was introduced to the Pathways team. This is a specialist team made up of psychologists, substance misuse experts and our homelessness engagement team. They work with people who have an addiction in a holistic, trauma-informed way. The team worked relentlessly to get Claire a place in a mental health unit where she responded well to treatment. The team visited her several times a week while she was in treatment and built up a good rapport.
Claire is now living in supported accommodation and we continue to work with her. We recently introduced her to the Life Rooms which offer a timetable of activities and educational courses. We accompanied Claire to help her find things she was interested in, with the aim that she will build up enough confidence over time to attend on her own and forge her own social network outside of services. This will help build her confidence and gain independence so that she is able to reach her own personal goals.
MEP provides a tailored, intensive learning and life skills programme of support for people experiencing homelessness and have a range of additional support needs. The programme of support is designed to empower members to get involved in making changes for themselves in order build their confidence, self-esteem and identify their interests and aspirations. By doing this we help members create a sense of purpose and belonging in the community so as to promote sustainable resettlement, thereby halting cycles of homelessness.
Since April 2022 we have received, engaged and worked with a total of 293 referrals. All were experiencing homelessness and had a range of support needs. Analysis of participants shows 53% were male and 47% female; 51% were aged 20-44, 45% aged 45-64, 2% aged 19 or under and 2% over 65.
In total 1735 engagement and learning activities have been developed and delivered, significantly higher than the original target. The reason for so many sessions has been an attempt to maximise engagement by ensuring more bespoke / tailored engagement activities. This approach has worked, as evidenced by the outcomes achieved through these activities.
The range of daily activities and learning sessions have included IT courses, ESOL classes, Football, Woman’s groups, Pet Therapy, Walking group, Photography, Music Groups, Gardening group Chapman Gardens, Pre-volunteer training, Volunteer training and opportunities, 1:1 engagement and the Lived Experience Network.
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