Monday, July 13, 2020

Charity undeterred by coronavirus provides support for Lincoln’s vulnerable

Despite the challenges created by the coronavirus crisis, charity workers are maintaining strong levels of support for Lincoln’s homeless, ex-offenders, unemployed people and those suffering from mental health issues.

Members of developmentplus’ team, who have worked with more than 250 people in need over the past year, have refused to let the government’s lockdown stop them from making a difference to the lives of those in need.

The South Park-based organisation has five live projects – plus two associated initiatives which received special funding in the weeks leading-up to the lockdown.

“We see about 20 people a day, including the homeless, rough sleepers, people staying in hostels and sofa-surfers and we signpost them to a variety of help according to their specific needs,” said Becky Pipes-Goulsbra.

Becky works on Project Compass, which responds to the needs outlined in Lincoln’s Homeless Report 2019. Delivered in partnership with Lincoln Baptist Church, the project provides advocacy and signposting.

“Before the lockdown we were providing hot breakfasts. Now we can’t, but we still remain a constant in people’s lives. They come to the church car park and we see them individually inside the building – using a table to help with social distancing – and we provide them with packed lunches and drinks. Others who have moved into accommodation are given easy-cook products such as pasta bakes. We are grateful to the food charities that provide them.”

Kate Edgar is a development worker for the LEAP-funded Bridging the Gap programme and its sister project Compact (backed by the Lottery Community Fund). Each are tailored to each ex-offenders’ circumstances.

“We are currently staying in contact with participants over the telephone.  I have also taken essential items to some, such as mobile phones or top-up cards, so they can stay in touch with us more frequently. I knocked on doors to alert people to their delivery,” said Kate.

“We have changed our working hours to fit lifestyle changes. I would normally see  people once a week or every other day – depending upon where they are on their journey to recovery – now we are supporting them “remotely” in this way.”

Sincil Steps is a part of a wider community-based project designed to help people in the Sincil Bank area.  Development worker Ian Enright delivers the project (working closely with the Lincoln City Foundation and a parent engagement worker).

It aims to support and encourage a diverse community which is home to people speaking many languages, by raising opportunities of ways in which they can improve their lives. Ian has  run many coaching and mentoring sessions.

Now, due to social distancing, Ian is staying in touch using the telephone and digital channels.

The Better Together project, brings together developmentplus, Abbey Access Training and Green Synergy. Backed by the Community Lottery Fund, it encourages people experiencing mental health conditions to get together and improve their wellbeing. Participants also benefit from mentoring, therapy and training.

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