St. John's Church Hall, Boulevard, WsM, BS23 1NA
We are a support centre set up specially to help rough sleepers and disadvantaged, vulnerable adults, open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 2.30pm in St. John’s Church Hall, Boulevard (next to the Global Furniture).
We offer a warm, welcoming and safe place for people to come. We serve 30 to 40 meals each day that we open, including some free food and a lunch that costs only £1.00. We never waste food and no-one ever goes away hungry; a meal will stabilize someone using drugs for the next 24 hours. We provide activities such as crafts and art, table tennis (including mini tournaments) and circus skills, and these are very much appreciated as they take peoples’ minds off their problems for a while and give them a sense of achievement and well being.
We have built good relationships with a few local landlords and we often find accommodation if people are homeless, although the 2012 reduction in housing benefit for under 35s had a dramatic effect on the number of places that landlords make available to this age group. We work with local organisations to provide as broad a service as possible; there is a big demand for help with benefits information and claims, so we a have a benefits expert provided by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau one morning a week.
Many of our clients are not comfortable going to some of the large organisations that could help them for fear of discrimination. We are happy to invite representatives from these agencies to do outreach work at the day centre and these include the Samaritans, Probation Service, Addaction, Stonham Housing, Alliance Homes, North Somerset Council Housing Advice Team, Curo Housing, Alabare, Addiction Recovery Agency, SURF (Service Users in Recovery Forum), Second Step, W.D.G.B. and Nightstop. Other agencies working with the same client base also work at the centre from time to time.
We have a good relationship with our local district and town councils, as well as the local police force, who have told us the town is a safer place when the day centre is open.