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Scarborough - Client and Agency Meet Up

Scarborough - Client and Agency Meet Up

Scarborough - Client and Agency Meet Up

Friday, December 2, 2016

Trish Kinsella - Centre Manager, The Rainbow Centre

Scarborough is my home. It is a beautiful little seaside town, but it has huge problems with drug and alcohol issues as well as homelessness. We see these problems every day at the Rainbow Centre, the faith-based community centre that I manage. Up to 90 people a day come through our doors, with every imaginable issue and challenge.

As a Partner organisation of the St Martin’s Frontline Network, I attended the national conference held in London in September and was inspired by the passion and ideas of frontline workers from across the country. I went home determined to find new ways to bring together clients and agencies in Scarborough in a more relaxed and friendly environment, which I knew would lead to better outcomes for all. 

I came up with the idea of inviting both clients and agency frontline staff to our cafe for a full English (and very nice it was too!). Despite the early start we had 40 clients coming, as well as representatives from housing, drug and alcohol services, probation and court services, domestic violence, safeguarding, Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. 

Everyone had breakfast together and the clients that wanted to speak with the relevant agency did so. As we are a small town most of these services were known to the clients, but sometimes the formality and bureaucracy of systems can create barriers which prevent people from engaging. Our breakfast seemed to be exactly the right catalyst to remove these barriers.

As a direct result of the event two clients have started going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and are doing well with that extra support. Another has started going to Gamblers Anonymous meetings and has barred himself from all the betting shops and amusement arcades in Scarborough and is now much more aware about how his gambling affected his whole life. One homeless client with alcohol issues has now moved into accommodation after meeting with the housing team and another who was frightened of going indoors is now housed and receiving ongoing support to help him sustain the tenancy.

Those who didn’t want specific help just enjoyed a really good social gathering in a safe and warm place with a good meal. It was lovely to see them all relaxing with the agencies who sometimes they are reluctant to even speak to let alone engage with.

The event was so successful that we have turned it into a regular fixture, with the clients meeting once a fortnight for the breakfast and the agency representatives coming every six weeks. It is so lovely to see some of our most vulnerable clients who have lots of issues and to have the time to sit and catch up and reassure them where we can.

So often in this line of work we can get stuck in our silos and burdened by paperwork and systems, forgetting that at heart our job is to get alongside people in their time of need and try our best to help them pull through. Sometimes you just need something as simple as some bacon and eggs to help you remember it.

If you are a frontline worker in Scarborough and would like to get involved, please contact Trish on either 07447095190 or 01723 500663 or email her at: trish_kinsella@yahoo.co.uk

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