St Vincent`s Support Centre, Leeds - Retail Matters Week.
Our aim at St Vincent's is to prevent homelessness wherever possible. We offer a range of services including education, counselling, debt advice and income (benefit) maximization and have worked with the community for 22 years to become a place where everyone feels welcome and valued. We also offer an emergency food parcel service for people in crisis and feed those in need in our community café.
Here's an example.
Michael is 43. He had a good job until he got injured and could no longer work and as a result his world fell apart. Unable to pay his mortgage, he lost his home and also his relationship was in tatters.
His mental health suffered and he became addicted to alcohol and eventually drugs. He ended up sleeping in a shed and lived on handouts. The centre manager of St Vincent’s gave a talk at a church and as a result of this, the priest, who knew of Michael`s plight, asked if St Vincent’s could help.
Michael was too nervous to come to the centre so staff went to the vicarage and met Michael with the priest. The services available were explained and eventually Michael agreed to come to the centre for a coffee. Michael was given a hot meal and a cup of tea on his first visit and over the next 4 months was supported to ensure that his financial position was improved and also given support to find accommodation. He comes in to the centre regularly and tells the team that he feels his life is on the up.
He knows that he can come in and get a warm welcome and has said that once he is fully settled he will volunteer at St Vincent`s. In the longer term, once his confidence is restored, he plans to come to the job club at St Vincent’s and get himself back into employment.
St Vincent`s Team, Landsec, British Gas, Volunteers at the job club, Aspire-I (the job club mentor).
Outcome of campaign:
Income maximization, housing, confidence and resilience building, and ultimately, employment!
We're going to work with Michael to build confidence/resilience and eventually help him back into employment.