We have been working in North Devon for over ten years and through that time have helped hundreds of people find , , and decrease their feelings of isolation and hopelessness. The value of the work to our local community is much wider than simply helping people to be whole again. Read on to learn more about our impact in North Devon.
On 19th February 2020, Selaine Saxby MP came to visit our Day Centre and learn more about the services we provide to communities in North Devon. This is what she said:
“It was great to see and hear all the excellent work being done by the centre to support those rough sleeping in the area, and also those with complex mental health and addiction issues.
“The Freedom Centre have integrated many local services to provide a wrap-a-round approach to ensure that those in our community who may need support and are sleeping on the streets are able to access it all within one facility. Working within the team at the centre are North Devon Council, mental health professionals, healthcare workers and addiction specialists…
“We are very fortunate to have such an excellent facility here in Barnstaple, which is so well supported by our local community. Thank you to the team there for everything they do!”
Devon High Sheriff and Magistrates court inspired by our work
On the 11th January, 2018, we were visited by two magistrates, Janie Lock, Chair of the Magistrates Association and Jayne Clemence, Chair of the Bench of Magistrates for North and East Devon. They were accompanied by Devon’s High Sheriff, Heleen Lindsay-Finn. All gave high praise for our work in North Devon’s communities.
The IPPR recognises our stellar work
In July 2017, the Institute for Public Policy Research recognised our work and used our Day Centre as a case study for good practice, recommending other charitable and housing organisations model their service provision on the same ‘one-stop shop’ format we use. By working in partnership with other agencies through our Housing Hub and Community Hub, we diminish the challenges people facing homelessness and poverty are presented with when trying to access multiple specialist services to help their situation.
Building confidence to create positive futures at our Day Centre
Thanks to the work carried out by our Day Centre team, 262 individuals reported a reduction in feelings of isolation and hopelessness along with feeling more confident and positive about their futures between June 2016 and May 2017.
Between June 2016 and May 2017, our Day Centre supported 309 individuals with digital support requirements (learning to use a computer, accessing job search engines and searching for affordable housing). By providing assistance with job applications, CV writing and identifying transferable work skills, people who come to Freedom needing help with finding work are given the confidence and skills to put themselves into the running for the jobs that are on the market.
Helping secure decent, stable, and affordable homes
Rural homelessness often goes unrecognised. People often find shelter in cars, garages, outhouses, sheds and barns which makes homelessness less visible, yet no less traumatic or difficult to endure. Between 2010 – 2016, homelessness in ‘mainly rural areas’ (such as Mid Devon and Torridge) rose by a staggering 32% and a leap of 52% was recorded in ‘largely rural areas’ like North Devon and Teignbridge by the IPPR.
We believe that everyone has the right to a stable, secure and decent home and this is why we work in partnership with other local charities, local authorities, probation and police services – so no one person slips through the cracks. In 2017, 139 people came to us with housing problems requesting assistance with their situation, of these we have been able to directly help 47 people into accommodation within our Freedom Housing project whilst others have been assisted via our Housing Hub and partnerships with other agencies.
33.8% of people needing homes find housing through Freedom Housing