New homelessness outreach service launches in Peterborough

A new homelessness outreach service has launched in Peterborough.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 1:31 pm

Change Grow Live – the health and social care charity which is the UK’s largest provider of drug and alcohol treatment services - has announced the opening of 18 new homeless outreach services across England, including one in the city.

The services will provide specialist care and support for rough sleepers struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

A mobile team will be operating out of the Change Grow Live Aspire office and the Garden House in the Cathedral Precincts.

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A rough sleeper in Peterborough. Photo: PA EMN-211203-102102001
A rough sleeper in Peterborough. Photo: PA EMN-211203-102102001

Staff will include: a team leader, four complex needs navigators, one volunteer and a peer mentor co-ordinator, with clinical and psychological input from two psychologists plus extra clinical time with a doctor regarding appropriate treatment for substance misuse.

There will be a focus on trauma informed care with staff working closely with Peterborough City Council’s housing team.

Outreach workers will visit hostels and hotels as part of the project.

The opening of the new services has been made possible by funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, supported by Public Health England, as part of a two-year programme of funding aimed at rough sleepers with drug and alcohol dependency.

Specialist teams will deliver on-the-spot street-based interventions meaning that people living on the streets will be able to access professional clinical support quickly and effectively without the need to wait for referrals from a third-party.

The new services will employ new staff in a wide range of health and social care roles, providing professional wrap-around support for rough sleepers with complex needs.

Teams on the ground will include prison link workers, complex needs navigators, assertive outreach nurses, clinical psychologists, homeless recovery workers and homeless rehab workers.

Lesley Howard, national homelessness lead at Change Grow Live, said: “The opening of 18 new specialist outreach services across England is a landmark moment. Each service will help us to provide effective, evidence-based support for people struggling with homelessness and substance misuse.

“One hundred and thirty new specialist staff working pro-actively across England will increase the visibility of substance misuse services and make it easier for individuals sleeping rough to access wrap-around support. Our outreach teams are trained to engage and build relationships with people with multiple, complex needs, to increase levels of engagement with vital treatment and enable people to get the help they need to rebuild their lives off the streets.”

Tony Lee, national lived experience volunteer at Change Grow Live, added, “This project is the first fully wrap-around offer I have seen for homeless people. Homeless clients will now have support to meet all their needs, from drug and alcohol treatment, mental health, physical health, housing and benefits support to mention just a few.

“The care and thought that has gone into the design has been brilliant to be a part of. As a person who was homeless for 12 years in London I can also say that the impact an approach like this will have will be life-changing.

“Homeless people will be engaged in their own environment and not asked to come into an office or building. Just this alone will increase the engagement tremendously and better engagement means better outcomes. It’s one of the most exciting and innovative programs I have been involved with and feel really privileged to be a part of it”.