Brighter Futures’ Community Outreach Vehicle has teamed up with the North Staffordshire GP Federation to provide a mobile healthcare service for rough sleepers.
The aim of the service is to take support directly to the person sleeping rough. This will provide a safe, confidential space with no referrals – allowing access to vital services when needed.
The average life expectancy of someone sleeping rough is only 47 years old – and it can be difficult to support complex people into services. By giving people a chance to access support directly, it can prevent the risk of other long-term health conditions later in life.
The Brighter Futures Community Outreach Vehicle is fitted with curtains, seated facilities, clothing, and food – which offers a private and safe place for engagement.
Jane Morton comments: “It’s ideal for the customers because it’s immediate access to support. When I used to do outreach in a similar role, it was too cold to be able to provide the service we can now do with the Outreach Vehicle.
“The vehicle is great. We’ve always wanted to do this kind of project, but we haven’t had the facilities as we do now.
“There’s space for us to do assessments and there are even curtains to do it in a safe environment. There’s no referrals or waiting lists, and we can take support straight to people.”
As part of her role, Jane will also be spending time with staff from different agencies to improve knowledge of healthcare. This will help people working in services to identify the needs of people earlier, recognise the urgency of the situation and help them to identify the correct support.
She says: “It’s one of the things. If you don’t have the knowledge of healthcare, then why would you know the needs of the people out there?
“I’m making it my aim to improve this understanding. Hopefully, people can recognise needs in people earlier and link in with me, and other services, to offer support where we can.
“It’s all a work in progress – but part of a long-term aim in the city to change the lives of people sleeping rough.”
Brighter Futures Community Outreach Vehicle provides both physical and mental health support at a time and location to better support homeless people in Stoke-on-Trent – with funding by Stoke-on-Trent City Council supporting the employment of a full-time driver for the vehicle.
North Staffordshire GP Federation is a not for a profit membership organisation to all 70 GP practices currently serving the whole of North Staffordshire, including, Stoke on Trent, Newcastle under Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands. Members currently provide services to over 500,000 patients.
For more information on Brighter Futures services, visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk.