A new project based in Hanley city centre is currently being piloted to help people who are either street homeless or presenting as homeless. The project aims to engage with individuals who would ordinarily have nowhere to go and to encourage peer-led learning. The project is being hosted and delivered by My Community Matters. We caught up with Lisa Tomkinson, Community Development Worker at Community Ventures to find out more.
So, can you tell us a bit more about the project?
The aim of this service is not only to give people an opportunity to get some respite from residing on the streets but also to allow them to find a safe space to relax and make some social connections and access meaningful activities. The hope is that those who attend will help to shape the way the group works and make decisions on what they would like to do. Currently, there are opportunities for people to get refreshments, have a conversation with the staff and maybe play a game or two whilst having the opportunity to connect with new people.
The hope is to get other advisory services involved with the project to provide vital signposting, diversionary activities and support directly to the people that need it without necessarily waiting for lengthy assessments and referral processes. The social space may also include the opportunity to access activities outside of the group and support to access things like gym, art and other creative hobbies and interests. This is also about building bridges within the local community and demonstrating that often people simply need to have some social connection to establish themselves back into society. Another aspect is to prevent loneliness and isolation that people on the streets are often facing. The project aims to empower people who have often been disconnected from services and allow them to have a voice to make decisions about what activities they can access.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Our main aim is to give people the chance to get to know people within their community and start to socialise in a safe place. We want people to take the lead on deciding what activities are made available and support them to improve their overall wellbeing. We also want people to be able to attend a service where they won’t be stigmatised and for others to understand why people are spending time in the streets within the city centre. We also hope to encourage other service providers and agencies by inviting them to come along and talk to individuals who attend.
Where will the project be based?
Our plan is to run the project every week from Monday 30th July (2:00pm – 4:00pm) at The Lounge (Saltbox Christian Centre), Bemersley House, Gitana Street, Hanley, ST1 1DY. More information can be seen on our flier, here.
How can people get in touch and find out more?
We are only a few weeks into the pilot and we are really looking forward to how this grows. If you are working with individuals who frequent the city centre and may benefit from this project, or have any other questions, please get in touch with the team on 07792120541 to find out more.