Action Homeless is a Leicestershire based charity supporting people and families with accommodation and the skills to gain independent living. It has recently opened The Hub in Hinckley to provide locally based support for people requiring housing or financial advice.
The Hub, which opened in June 2017 is available on Thursdays from 11 am to 3 pm and enables Action Homeless residents and the wider community to access support without having to travel in to Leicester where the charity is based.
People can use the computers to "Bid" for Council properties, (these become available every Thursday) and carry out job searches. There has only been low level marketing for the Hub, but there has been a steady increase in people attending with now up to 27 attending on a monthly basis. John, the Action Homeless Housing Officer, meets people as they arrive and assesses their needs to ensure that they meet the criteria for support
Initially people would need to book an appointment to attend, but this system didn't meet the needs of the clients so John now runs it as drop in. It can get really busy so if anyone needs one to one support John will arrange to meet them after hours or make use of the house next door which is one of Action Homeless supported accommodation houses.
Action Homeless is also a member of Reaching People, a consortium of voluntary and community sector organisations delivering "Moneywise Plus" which aims to improve the digital and financial skills of individuals to support them in moving towards employment, education, training as well as obtaining and managing their own accommodation.
The Hub is already having really positive outcomes for its clients. Two have successfully bid on council properties and will be moving into their own accommodation this year, as a result of attending the drop in one hasn't felt the need to take their medication for depression for 3 months and another, who loves driving, has a potential job opportunity with a local taxi company as a result of a new friendship.
All the clients see John as a friend and not just a Housing Support Officer. John himself was a refugee from Uganda and was supported by Action Homeless. He says "the love and support he received from Action Homeless was truly special" and he is one of the lucky ones. He gets so much from giving that same care and support to others.
The SHIRE Community Grant awarded just over £7,500 to renovate the disused building to create the Hub as well as providing resources and IT equipment.
HELPING PEOPLE TO FEEL INTEGRATED AND ACTIVE
Sample of craft products produced by local residents to support vulnerable individuals from different neurodiverse conditions
Sunny Skies Enterprise CIC - https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/popular-now/directories/information-and-support-directory/sunny-skies-enterprise-cic supports adults with learning disabilities to learn valuable work and life skills.
Due to Covid-19 they had to close their doors but to ensure they were able to support the people they work with, they applied for a Leicestershire Communities Fund grant and were awarded £540 to deliver video online sessions with their members and a series of craft activities that were provided to support their members in their daily life. Through Zoom sessions with their members they also run dance and cooking lessons.
Feedback from members has been very positive, one beneficiary of the Zoom sessions said; '' In this unprecedented pandemic the zoom calls have been a tremendous help. Adults with learning difficulties have been isolated and have had to rely on these sources of communication as their lifeline. I can't emphasis enough how much Asha has enjoyed being part of them. It has been something that she looked forward to whilst we cope with all the pressures and high levels of anxiety''.
Craft products were designed and produced by their members, including personalised and hand made decorated plates and mugs to support their members with their mental health
Another local resident, Debbie Swoter said: "Edward, who is 32 and has Downs Syndrome, was confused and rather deflated as suddenly life was reduced to being confined to home 24/7 with the exception of once daily exercise; after a couple of weeks Zoe and Pippa got in touch and suggested virtual activity sessions to bring some normality and social interaction into our locked down world. What a blessing this Zoom has become! They 'Zoomed' into our home eight times a week, with music and dance, singing, exercise, art, games, quizzes and bingo, initially for an hour at a time but soon extending to 90mins as the young people were keen to talk at the end of the sessions. It was literally a lifeline and Ed's day revolved around these sessions."
Castle Donington Volunteer Centre's Covid response has been intense over the last 23 weeks, with employees and volunteers stepping up to provide necessary services throughout the Covid pandemic.
5 individuals are employed by Castle Donington Volunteer Centre, all of whom were essential to the uplift in workload.
At the same time, the Centre's appeal for new volunteers in the villages was phenomenally successful. 128 people have been able to provide support to the 11 villages that they cover.
It is estimated by the Volunteer Centre that by 24th August it had supported in excess of 300 residents with shopping delivers; this involved 1,385 shopping deliveries from the local shops, but also the delivery of frozen food produced by volunteers to vulnerable individuals with different conditions and personal situations.
Change in the cumulative number of shopping requests up to 17th August 2020 from 17th March 2020.
Residents that were isolated were delivered their prescriptions, in an agreement reached with the local GP's and Pharmacy; Castle Donington Volunteer Centre has made 350 prescription deliveries.
To support people feeling alone and without family support, a buddying call system was put in place. This is being provided in conjunction with Hospice Hope and more than 600 telephone support calls have been made.
Some other activities provided by the Centre have included:
- 42 Post Office trips to provide people with the cash they needed and ensure that bills were paid.
- 69 Dog walking activities
- 37 visits to collect and redistribute Emergency Boxes donated by local people; These were targeted at people that were known to be struggling, including families identified in conjunction with a local school.
- 37 Book packages loaned from an honesty book initiative;. The Centre has 2000 books available to loan.
Special Events / Services - VE Day Cream Tea
Wayne Tranmer, Chair of Volunteers of Castle Donington Volunteer Centre said:
'As VE Day had the potential to be a flop we provided a Cream Tea to
the over 75's and veterans, the population that were present on that day 75 years ago.
We sourced, baked, packed and delivered 318 teas before lunch on the 8th of May to rekindle
memories, cheer up those in our villages who lived through the times and remind them that
we were here for them''.