Meet Hayley, our Community Support Officer.

Hayley (pictured) is responsible for the welfare, care, support and development of our companions, who are currently staying at home in our Hinckley accommodation. She reports on how important emotional support can be at a time like this…

“My job is to make sure our formally homeless companions are doing ok – helping them develop new skills and the self-confidence to get back on their feet.  The pandemic has been so hard for the people we support. They’ve already been through so much by the time they come to our charity for help.

When you’ve been through the experience of being homeless, it can really affect your mental health and your ability to cope emotionally when things go wrong. During lockdown, the guys – who normally would be helping to run our charity shops during the week – have been feeling trapped. Many are missing the stability and structure of their regular work routine.

I frequently visit the accommodation and I’m there as someone to drop-in and talk to (at a social-distance). They all know they can trust me and it’s amazing what difference it can make, just to be able to get things off your chest if you’re feeling low or frustrated. I’ve also encouraged them to keep busy because, as we’ve all found during the past year, having a practical project can be very calming for the mind. They’ve been redecorating the house and even gave the garden a bit of a makeover last summer.

We’ve also made sure that those who have been working with external agencies such as mental health services and substance abuse groups, are still able to access this support over the phone and via zoom meetings.”