The Salvation Army in the Isle of Wight has had a good start to the year thanks to the addition of two experts who will boost the services for those experiencing homelessness on the island.
Welcome Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee has taken on the task of Homelessness Services Unit operations manager. She has extensive experience working in supported accommodation for vulnerable people, as she led teams dedicated to assisting those with mental health problems. She has also worked with those experiencing homelessness with a position as a housing officer for homeless families, and those with substance abuse problems and learning disabilities.
Rachel is responsible for all of the programmes and projects dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness on the island. This includes overseeing operations at the Fellowship House and Melville and Priory Lifehouses in Ryde and Newport. She also leads outreach services and winter night shelter for the Isle of Wight’s vulnerable people.
Commenting on her appointment, Rachel said that she intends working with service users to ensure that the support programme meets the needs of individuals, as opposed to a blanket, cookie-cutter approach. “I’d like our service to build on the amazing wok that already been carried out on the Isle of Wight in setting up the outreach support and winter shelters to help rough sleepers to access the services they need to make the transition from homelessness to moving into their own home.”
She added, “The ethos of The Salvation Army closely reflects my own core values and as an organisation, the opportunities we offer to some of the most vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight are broad and varied.” In this way, the support services available help at-risk people take responsibility for their lives and enable them to make the positive changes required to turn their lives around.
Welcome Janice Patterson
The second addition to the team is Janice Patterson, who specialises in outreach services. She’ll work closely with the community to identify vulnerable people and those already experiencing homelessness, and ensure they have access to support and shelter.
She is highly qualified, with a post-graduate degree in psychotherapy, and established TLC-GY, a Christian outreach charity, to support people at-risk and already experiencing homelessness in Great Yarmouth. She has experience working with people with mental illnesses and has also worked for the Isle of Wight Council’s education welfare team.
Commenting on her appointment, Janice said, “I love my role in the community with The Salvation Army because I feel I am making a tangible difference to individuals’ lives … going out to help people who are sleeping rough to find accommodation. My hope is to show each person I work with God’s love in action through treating each person who comes to us for support in a loving, non-judgemental and kind way.”
She added that her experience had taught her the importance of collaboration on programmes and initiatives. Rough sleepers themselves need to be included in the planning and decision-making processes.
“… I am currently building my own network of professionals and agencies on the island. My hope is to grow and develop this network, so that we can all work together to help local people find a way out of homelessness.”
You can help
The Salvation Army has partnered with the Isle of Wight Council to provide night shelter for rough sleepers. Service users enjoy a hot meal and a night out of the cold. The location of the shelter rotates between The Salvation Army in Ryde, St. John’s Church in Newport, and Newport Congregational Church.
Volunteers are always welcome. If you want to help out in the Isle of Wight, contact Janice Patterson on 07884 562895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
image source: The Salvation Army