August marked the 2nd anniversary for local homelessness supported accommodation service, Gateway Burnley. In its first two years, the service supported over sixty homeless individuals move on to independent living.
So staff and residents celebrated the latest milestone with afternoon tea thanks to a generous donation from On The Bread Line & Co. Staff at the project are eager to do even more to support homeless and at-risk individuals across East Lancashire.
The service supports homeless individuals with complex needs, allowing them to access accommodation even when they have been refused elsewhere. Since opening its doors, the service has seen a lot of celebrations. From residents achieving qualifications with Lancashire Adult Learning, gaining essential cooking skills through the onsite classes and achieving abstinence milestones. The service has also seen countless birthdays, Eid celebrations, Easter egg hunts, Christmas Day feasts for over 40 people and was even named Best Homelessness Scheme at the National 24 Housing awards.
Gateway delivers support and develop partnerships with local services, giving residents the tools and connections needed to achieve success. Several staff share experience of homelessness and addiction, demonstrating that positive change is possible and giving residents extra motivation to succeed.
“If I had to choose one reason why Gateway works, it would be the dedicated, caring and genuine staff. Each of the team have something in common, they all have experience in their lives with addiction, homelessness or mental health issues. So, the fact that staff have overcome these issues was absolutely vital in my own journey. I found it easier to accept and take on board their help and advice. This then helped my own motivation, seeing evidence in front of me that the advice worked for them.”
Nick, former Gateway resident
By working with health care professionals to deliver screenings and support residents completing alcohol reduction plans, over 75% of residents have been able to better manage or resolve substance misuse issues and a further 87% received support to better manage their physical health. The on-site Wellbeing officer coordinates and facilitates in-house groups focusing on wellbeing, behaviours, positive thinking and goal setting. As a result of these initiatives, 78% of residents have engaged with mental health support services.
Throughout the pandemic, Gateway has been working to provide additional support for rough sleepers. Staff were on hand to support local efforts to house homeless individuals following the Government’s call to ‘get everyone in’. A number of empty Calico Homes properties were repurposed to provide safe spaces for those looking to self-isolate.
While external groups have been suspended to maintain resident and staff safety during Covid-19, Gateway’s person-centred approach continues through socially distanced keyworker sessions and breakfast club. The service continues to run safely with residents strictly adhering to Government guidance, and delivering group supervision meetings remotely.