Tel: 0151 649 0111
Newsletter: January 2011Dear Supporters,
A Happy New Year to all, and an update into the work we are doing here at the Ark.
Another year has passed and many clients, both old faces and new, have passed through our doors at Mary Cole House or into Arkangel, our supported housing scheme. The problems remain largely the same, with alcohol issues featuring highly, but sadly in these days of economic turmoil, we are seeing an increase in those who come to our door through job loss and often the subsequent loss of home and family. They turn up here shell shocked and bewildered, unsure of which way to turn, and it's the skill and compassion of our staff who help turn broken lives around.
As I write this we are waiting to hear what cuts, if any, will be made to our service after the Governments Spending Review. We largely rely on funding from the Supporting People programme and at present we are facing cut backs to a service that we know will be more necessary than ever as the cuts bite amongst the poorest and most vulnerable.
On a more positive note our extension, the Irene Kennedy Centre, is now open from 7:30 am to 12:30pm weekdays to rough sleepers and anyone homeless or in insecure accommodation. Clients can access a snack and a drink, advice, a nursing service, a mental health nurse, and most importantly, company and someone to listen. Activities such as cooking and trips out are organised daily, and the numbers who attend are steadily increasing. It is now a hive of activity that we are hoping to extend to include the weekends when there is little else available.
Due to the generosity of many people, Christmas was a joyful event at the Ark for our clients with plenty of food and gifts for all. For many of our residents it was a Christmas they haven't experienced for many years and it produced tears and laughter in equal measure. A huge thank you to those who donated their time and energies, goods, and those who just sent us their good wishes. We are truly blessed by the thoughtfulness of so many.
Despite the financial insecurities of the moment we are looking to the future and expanding the services we offer, particularly towards those who find themselves rough sleeping. We are already working closely with other agencies and are looking at ways of joint working with other providers such as the YMCA to provide a better and more innovative service to all. We are currently looking at projects such as the care and support of female ex offenders, persistent offenders, and clients who need longer term support of a general nature.
We are again looking for volunteers, particularly at weekends, and if anyone has any particular skills they would like to pass on to our clients, then please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Joyce Lowe, either directly at Mary Cole House or via the contact form on this site.