Your basket
Your basket
0 items - £0.00

Personal tools

Home News A sleepover starts a Safe Sleep

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

A sleepover starts a Safe Sleep

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Dec, 2019 06:15 PM

A special sleepover for church leaders and clergy marked the start of the 2019 Safe Sleep campaign.

Last year was the first year that the ecumenical churches across Weymouth & Portland - in conjunction with The Lantern Trust - ran a Safe Sleep for nearly 900 rough sleepers in the area and, as a direct result of the success of last year's project, this year it has been extended and is running for an additional 7 weeks, starting from 2nd December.

To help raise the profile of the campaign, and to raise money for The Lantern Trust which sponsors the outreach, St Mary's Church in Weymouth was set up for a sleepover. After a light snack and a hot drink (as will be offered to rough sleepers taking up the hospitality), they bedded down for the night.

The Lantern Trust's report of the Safe Sleep project in 2019 showed that, during the 10 weeks of its operation last year, there were a total of 877 beds offered across 4 churches who took turns to host the project. 658 men and 219 women (along with a further 50 unique guests), were given a bed for the night. Over half those who came in from the cold had a long term connection to the area.

95% of the guests stayed for the whole night and many people returned for more than one night.

But the work by The Lantern Trust also revealed a long-term homeless problem in the area.

Over half of Safe Sleep clients (55%) had a history of repeat homelessness and rough sleeping. The trust says that repeat homelessness can indicate many possible contributing issues, such as an inability to budget, welfare benefit issues, debt, anti-social behaviour, criminality, and substance misuse. Entrenched rough sleepers can be difficult to engage, and housing options can be few.

Often, local services have had prolonged contact with individuals, and many avenues of support and accommodation have been exhausted. However, Safe Sleep has been given the opportunity for renewed close inter-agency working, with the objective of finding sustainable housing solutions for these most vulnerable and marginalised members of society.

14% of clients were homeless for the first time, and some required enhanced support to access local services and navigate the channels of homelessness support in the locality.

During the project, clients were given the opportunity to raise health concerns with staff and volunteers. Those with unmet physical and mental health needs were then offered specialist interventions from partner agencies such as the Homeless Health Service, REACH drug and alcohol service and dentists.

Great care was given to minimise the risks to health which are all too prevalent amongst our homeless population.

And there was more good news for the Safe Sleep project and their clients.

The Lantern Trust has recently secured funding to help deliver the Rapid Rehousing Pathway in Dorset. The project will assist those who are deemed to have low to medium needs.

Under the Pathway, the charity will be able to work with up to 20 people in housing need. Each person has been allocated a 'Personal Budget Pot' of £800 to facilitate access to housing and tenancy sustainment.

A Supported Lettings Worker has been employed to support eligible clients, provide an outreach service and help improve the landlord offer. It is expected that an improved landlord offer will have wider benefits to other service users outside the criteria of the project.

Those customers with more complex needs will continue to benefit from the guidance, specialised personal and practical support and funding for accommodation already available through existing channels at The Lantern Trust Hub.

During Safe Sleep, clients not already linked in with relevant services were offered referrals to receive specialised drug and alcohol interventions.

The Revd Neil Biles said:

"It was a real success and the findings of the 2019 report indicated that not only were the guests given a bed for the night, but also the intervention provided by staff resulted in significant numbers of people being referred and attaining successful accommodation."

Document Actions