PCC visits homeless charity after group recently receives grant to fund digital referrals
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is helping to fund groups which offer support and rehabilitating activities to vulnerable people who may already be or are on the edge of entering into the criminal justice system – directly delivering priorities two and four of the Police and Crime Plan.
Last week, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson visited Devizes Opendoors after the group recently received a grant via the PCC’s Community Action Fund.
The charity runs regular drop-in sessions where they provide hot, home cooked meals for rough sleepers, those sleeping in sheds, vans and old boats, sofa surfers and those with their own homes but with issues that can make their tenancies vulnerable.
As well as the food and drink, Devizes Opendoors also offer guests the chance to shower, wash their clothes and collect free winter coats and toiletries. They can also access the internet using a shared computer and can be referred by staff and volunteers to other support services such as FearFree and Turning Point.
The extra funding will be put towards the introduction of a case management software and data system that enables small charities to work alongside guests to refer them into the appropriate support services and agencies.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Charities like Devizes Opendoors do incredible work within communities to provide much needed support and guidance to vulnerable people to ensure they stay safe and can get back on right path.
“My office will continue to invest in these, and other similar services to show our commitment to supporting the vulnerable, tackling violence and serious harm and reducing re-offending.”
A total of 90% of guests that attend Devizes Opendoors are dealing with substance abuse and 30% are already on probation.
Karin Cardiff, Chair of Devizes Opendoors said: “Our guests come to us with multiple issues. The help is out there but accessing it requires considerable patience, resilience, and persistence. It is not unusual for nine or more agencies to be involved in re-homing a person.
“This grant is great validation of the effectiveness of the crucial support we provide guests and also imperative pivotal need for robust case management and data systems to achieve good outcomes.”