Mark Diver, Project Assistant.
People are unique
People are unique. People have different personalities, experiences and beliefs. Every person has a different way of perceiving the world around them and has grown up experiencing different things. Some people like reading books and others prefer watching films.
Cyrenians Outreach Services recognise that not everyone can work with existing services in areas such as health, homelessness, criminal justice and substance misuse.
The service is designed to help people to work out and achieve what’s best for them. It’s focused on the needs of each individual rather than expecting everyone’s solutions to look the same. We think that when a person is in control of what they get support to do, they’re more likely to engage with that support and see it through.
We operate with an understanding that being cared for or supported may be difficult for people who have experienced trauma in earlier life. Therefore, the Services are shaped to ensure that building supportive relationships is of paramount importance with a belief that working in this way gives the best chance of reducing inequality and enabling inclusion.
It’s all about relationships
What if we were to look at people’s ability to form and sustain relationships as an indication of their wellbeing? Are you in touch with your family? Can you go to the shops and buy something you want? Can you go to the doctor and explain your situation as well as participate in any ongoing treatment?
If you cannot manage these relationships, perhaps as a consequence of your early experiences in life, then what impact does this have on your life?
Cyrenians Outreach Services recognises that there are people who experience these difficulties and may require services that operate in a different way. We look to develop relationship based support with people, in order to help them live the lives they wish. We do this by offering tolerant and flexible support to help people to navigate the range of services that aim to address their needs.
We offer services that helps people to develop their skills in making use of support, as well as offering an alternative model for others to work with people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage.
We employ people with lived experience in order to offer an alternative perspective on areas such as homelessness, criminal justice and substance misuse. We do so as to share experiences may carry more authenticity for some people than a more theoretical approach.
Outreach Services Projects
Cyrenians Outreach Services currently run four different projects, read more about them here.
Homeless Navigator Project
The Homeless Navigator Project is a new Comic Relief funded service within Cyrenians that seeks to address a visible problem with rough sleeping in Edinburgh. The project aims to offer an alternative opportunity for people who are experiencing homelessness and cannot, for whatever reason, make use of the current support services that exist in Edinburgh. The Homeless Navigator Project offers a peer support service, delivered by someone with lived experience of homelessness, for those who are rough sleeping or vulnerably housed.
How does it work?
The Homeless Navigator Project is deployed as a walking tour around Edinburgh in order to form supportive relationships with people and increase their uptake of services such as Housing, Health, Employability and Substance Misuse.
The Peer Worker is there to offer empathy and understanding in relation to the barriers and challenges that face individuals. When working with marginalized and vulnerable people, establishing trust is crucial. A peer approach works on the basis that someone who has been through it themselves is motivated by positive, caring reasons – they have been there themselves and they know how challenging it can be.
The project supports around 20 people each year to achieve positive outcomes such as:
- Increased use of available support
- Reductions in harmful behaviour
- Steps toward more secure accommodation
- Better health (physical and mental)
How do we do it?
- High quality support based on developing an open, trusting and respectful relationship with the person we’re working with.
- Access to Personal Change Budgets - an allocation of money to support a person’s own unique action plan.
- Promoting talking therapies (such as counselling) to help explore and unlock deep rooted behaviours that have been barriers to progress in the past.
This is an Action Learning project. This means we use the project’s findings to influence and contribute to public policy, so it makes a positive change at community level as well as on the front line.
The project is funded by Lankelly Chase as part of their Promoting Change Network. The network brings together a number of initiatives across the UK working to raise awareness about the experience of people facing severe and multiple disadvantage.
Inclusive Edinburgh Case Co-Ordinator
Inclusive Edinburgh seeks to address the needs of people who experience severe and multiple disadvantage and for whom the existing models of service are not appropriate or successful.
The Inclusive Edinburgh Case Co-ordinator offers a person-centred and relationship based approach – i.e. the relationship is the intervention. The focus is not on achieving immediate and measurable outcomes but on developing trust and a sense of mutual respect. This hopefully enables the person to take the risk of engaging in the support offered. The case co-ordinator supports the person to find solutions that work for them.
Edinburgh Peer Project
The Edinburgh Peer Project offers support to people who are involved with or have been involved with the Criminal Justice System. Peer support is used in order to help people think differently about offending as well as to take steps towards a positive future.
Peer Workers can offer non-judgemental advice and support on account of their lived experience that can be used to share feelings and frustrations. Peer Workers are able to help with connection with services, accompaniment to appointments, planning and other tasks.
The Edinburgh Peer Project can help
- men 25 or older
- who have been or are involved with the criminal justice system
- live in Edinburgh
- experience needs such as mental health, substance misuse or homelessness