Fulfilling Lives South East is finding new ways to support vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and has published an insightful report on its impact on clients and staff. The Fulfilling Lives South East partnership is led by BHT, with partners Equinox and Oasis Project.
Fulfilling Lives South East provides intensive and tailored support to those facing multiple disadvantage, many of whom have experienced a combination of homelessness, addiction, prison stays and mental ill health. More than 90% of the women on their caseload have also experienced domestic abuse. Their clients are already vulnerable and isolated, and are being affected in particular ways by the pandemic; the rise in domestic violence associated with the lockdown is one well documented example.
Like many others, the Fulfilling Lives team has had to rapidly adapt to new ways of working, and this new report shares some of the creative ways they have found to maximise the support they can give. Practical steps they are taking include ensuring clients have phones with credit and data where possible, and offering meetings on doorsteps for those less able to use phones or technology. They connect clients with recovery podcasts and online support groups, and encourage them to create and share artwork and photos via WhatsApp to boost self-esteem and distract from isolation.
The Project Lead for the Fulfilling Lives South East partnership, Jo Rogers, said:
This is a tough time for clients with multiple and complex needs, many of whom are living in unstable or unsafe accommodation and are battling addictions as well as struggling with mental and physical health problems. I am really proud of how committed our team are to helping those who are struggling at this time, and how flexibly they are able to offer their support. Clients have told us how much they appreciate having a reliable source of support despite having to change methods of contact. This report gives an insight into some of the challenges local services are currently facing, and we will continue to share learning across the sector as the situation evolves.
Fulfilling Lives South East conducted a survey with all their client-facing workers and team leaders across Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne, and Hastings in order to produce this report.