There is a qualified and experienced counselling service which is able to offer one to one sessions to people who use The Basement, this is both easily accessible, flexible and appointments are not always necessary. We are currently the only homeless project able to offer this service.
The main bulk of our workload revolves around advice, advocacy and support for clients who present a wide range of issues which include; finding a place at a hostel, finding a GP, obtaining statutory assistance from social services and the housing department, gaining help with alcohol/drug addictions and welfare benefits (to name a few). Some of the clients that use the centre have had negative experiences of dealing with agencies and suffered a loss of confidence in their ability to deal with them without some form of support. The staff team can regularly find themselves representing the needs of our service users and acting as an advocate to ensure that problems and issues are resolved satisfactorily.
Here at The Basement we have a user responsive approach to service delivery and as part of this we have regular service user forums where the clients themselves can have a platform to air their own ideas and opinions of how the project can improve. This has resulted in very positive feedback from those who have participated and as a direct consequence have felt valued and respected due to this credible and structured avenue for expressing themselves.
Other facilities available at the drop in are cooking, laundry and showers, all of particular importance to people who are sleeping on the streets. There is also the opportunity for service users to purchase and cook food with the support of staff; while this addresses people's basic need for food, it also teaches life skills and gives a sense of self esteem as there is no other place for someone who is homeless to get the opportunity to plan and prepare a meal.
By offering a free and confidential service to our clients, The Basement Advisory Centre is able to work closely with people to access a variety of mainstream services such as housing, employment, education, healthcare, and support these people in taking steps forward to explore their opportunities for their future. We believe that such a grassroots, frontline service is one of the key objectives of the government's intent to tackle rough sleeping and some aspects of social exclusion.
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