Telford voluntary sector partnership gains funding to help the most vulnerable

Telford voluntary sector partnership gains funding to help the most vulnerable

Citizens Advice Telford and Wrekin, Telford Mind, Telford Crisis Support and Stay Telford, who have partnered on the Helping Hands out of Hardship project for over 4 years, have been awarded over £80,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund to bolster efforts in supporting the most vulnerable across the community.

During the pandemic the voluntary and community sector have stepped up to the mark in supporting the most vulnerable within our community, which can certainly be seen from the incredible work the Helping Hands partnership has undertaken. What has been of most value within this partnership, is how easily individuals have been referred from one partner to another to address the multiple complex issues individuals may face, particularly around avoiding rough sleeping, facing financial hardship, needing food and essential supplies, and getting help with poor mental health. The partnership has been very successful; the figures speak for themselves.

The project aimed over 3 years to help 4,500 people to resolve their immediate financial crisis by securing safety, food, shelter and warmth. Between them, the partnership in fact supported nearly 10,000 people (9,806), and the partnership has also been partly responsible for the impressive work in accommodating over 160 rough sleepers during the pandemic into emergency accommodation.

The biggest challenge the partnership has faced is supporting individuals to access both statutory and voluntary and community sector services that have been reduced and underfunded. During the pandemic this issue has become even more apparent.

As services re-open at different rates, and with many changes this has an impact on those who will be able to cope the least. Individuals need ‘hands on’ support to access services, rather than simply signposting them through. With the funding provided, the partnership is looking to build up the Helping Hands team, including an additional Helping Hands worker to focus on supporting with financial crisis, and two new Link Workers, who’s roles will be to support individuals to navigate through the services they need, in order to move forward with their lives.

Stay CEO Terry Gee explains: “We are so pleased to have been awarded this further funding from the Government to strengthen the service that Helping Hands provides to people in crisis across Telford.

The funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, will help us with bolstering the partnership with extra staffing hours and additional posts helping individuals access the benefits and services they are entitled to, and deal with the debt that has an impact on their lives. What can be most frustrating at times is seeing people not being able to access some of the services they need the most, such as substance misuse services, mental health services and voluntary sector services. The pathways into them can be unclear for people in crisis, and their feelings of hopelessness and confidence can be so low that they can be quick to give up at the first hurdle.

The Link workers will be there to listen to people’s concerns and support individuals to connect, navigate and broker into the services that they need, which could really improve their ability to move towards a brighter future.”

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