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Progress case studies - Ben's Centre

Progress case studies - Ben's Centre - 16/11/2019

Progress looks different to all of us. For staff working in Sheffield services and charities supporting homeless and vulnerable people, having a client sit down and accept a cup of tea could be seen as huge progress. They may have been offering that cup of tea for days, weeks or months, and constantly being ignored. 

The general public may not think that's much to write about, but sometimes that first cup of tea and a chat leads on to much more - to people accepting support with housing, with addiction, and moving away from a life on the streets. And that's real progress!

Ben's Centre have shared some anonymous case studies with us to demonstrate what progress looks like from within their service. Whether it's reducing violence, accepting an offer of accommodation, moving away from begging or working on forming relationships, all of these case studies highlight how perserverance from staff working in the city have helped support these clients to move forwards with their lives.

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B attends Ben’s Centre because they find it a supportive place, and often feel that they need a ‘shoulder to lean on’ in order not to return to their previous lifestyle of substance abuse and resulting violence. B has misused a variety of drugs previously and gone through several detoxes, none of which has lasted. B’s partner, A, also attends Ben’s Centre.

Ben’s Centre successfully submitted a request for emergency food support for B and A who were having problems with their benefits. The couple usually eat at Ben’s Centre in the mornings before moving on for their day, and often receive sandwiches from outreach workers if they are spotted in the city centre later in the day.

Since being assessed by Ben’s Centre and starting to be supported by the team, B has not knowingly been violent, and continues to be pleasant during their visits.

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D has been supported by Ben’s Centre for a couple of years. At initial assessment, D was sleeping rough and regularly street drinking, with occasional spice use to help them sleep. D was on probation for an assault but had no other convictions.

Ben’s Centre staff supported D by adding them to the homeless list and supporting them to make a housing application, working alongside D’s probation officer. When things broke down with D’s accommodation, Ben’s Centre supported them in accessing alternative accommodation through Roundabout. D continues to access support at Ben’s Centre, enjoying hot lunches, using the internet, forming friendships and support networks. While D is known to suffer from depression, their mood is generally stable and positive within Ben’s Centre.

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S was first recognised by Ben’s Centre a couple of years ago. They were observed begging on the Moor and offered a hot drink. They didn’t want to talk or engage with the team. Over the next few months, S was visited 7 times by the team, and given hot drinks and snacks but still refused to engage or talk about his life. At this time S was sleeping rough and begging regularly.

S was seen several more times, and offered support, but refused every time. A month later, S arrived at Ben’s Centre, distressed and asking for support. Working with social workers, supported accommodation was arranged so S no longer had to sleep rough. S continues to attend Ben’s Centre for food and drinks and is making good progress with communication, although their mental health remains unsteady.

Ben’s Centre is providing S with the space to communicate in a safe space and begin to form attachments which were missing due to their upbringing and childhood.

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H suffers from anxiety and depression, coupled with alcohol misuse and first attended Ben’s Centre to work on their social skills. They were in full time employment with a stable income and their own home. An accident at work and H’s anxiety meant that they could no longer work. Ben’s Centre supported H to get some help with their injury.

Due to regular visits to Ben’s Centre and interactions with staff, H’s mental health seems more stable. H seems content visiting the centre, eating with others and working on communication, and their drinking appears to have reduced.

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To find out more about the work of Ben's Centre, visit their website: http://www.benscentre.org/