Outreach Service Manager, Mike Wright, recently attended the National Summit for Tackling Multiple Disadvantage hosted by MEAM and wrote a reflective blog on what he took away from one talk in particular, and how reflects that in his work with the Outreach Project.
At the 2nd National Summit for Tackling Multiple Disadvantage in Milton Keynes I was fortunate enough to attend a session facilitated by a Consultant Psychotherapist on the difficulties in providing services to vulnerable people in these challenging times of austerity and limited resources.
The talk centred upon the pressure placed upon support staff who are challenged on every front by the distressing situations that the people we work with experience, as well as the disordered responses from the systems that seek to address issues such as homelessness, health and welfare benefits.
People who have experienced inconsistent care giving or trauma in their early lives may feel anxious about being in relationships, for example. They may find it difficult to be cared for and may drop in and out as it is too painful for them to remain in the same place for too long; replicating what they may have experienced themselves as children. Furthermore, this feeling can be reinforced by additional exclusion – such as failing a medical for ESA or not being accepted for a referral as your support needs are too high.
Therefore, the pressure on staff to work in a world where further exclusion has resulted from particular economic and social policies has increased. There are less and less services to access, and they often have long waiting lists or very specific remits. I was recently told that there are an estimated 660 people sleep rough on any given night in Scotland and statistics suggest that over 1 million people in Scotland experience poverty after their housing costs are paid.
People who work on the front line of services are caught between the pull of the complex and varied demands of their clients on one side and the crushing pressure of austerity that demands more for less. Without an opportunity to unload one’s own feelings and day to day experiences it can be overwhelming.
At Cyrenians we have a culture that promotes values and relationships and puts them at the centre of what we do. We reflect upon our learning, practice and experiences in order to continuously improve our services as well as crucially offering support and processing space to our staff team who do incredible work with some of the most marginalised people in our society.
23 May 2017