Redbridge homeless charity receives National Lottery funding to deliver first-of-its-kind mobile consulting service

From: Big Lottery Fund
Published: Mon Dec 13 2021

East London homeless community group, Healthy Living Healthy Lives CIC, has received 10,000 of National Lottery funding to create a mobile consulting room to deliver healthcare to people who are homeless across Redbridge.

It is one of more than 320 charities and community groups across London to have been awarded a share of almost 10 million of National Lottery funding in the past quarter*.

Healthy Living Healthy Lives' new mobile consulting room is the first-of-its-kind in the region, and thanks to vital funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, it will be used to improve the health and wellbeing of people who are homeless by ensuring they receive appropriate support. This support covers all aspects of health needs including physical, mental, emotional and public health as well as signposting to other agencies if required.

The National Lottery funding is being used to purchase a van which will be adapted into the consulting room, allowing the charity to take its services to people across the community.

Stephanie O'Leary, a primary care nurse for over 30 years, set up Healthy Living Healthy Lives in 2006 to support the homeless population in Redbridge. The group had previously worked exclusively from the homeless day centre in Ilford but, due to the pandemic, people are now in various temporary accommodation throughout the community.

The new mobile consulting room is a ground-breaking initiative which will help Redbridge's community of people who are homeless, which currently stands at around 350 individuals. The group aim to have the van in operation within the next few months.

Stephanie O'Leary, Founder and Homeless Healthcare Manager at Healthy Living Healthy Lives, said: We are working on the ground right now, dealing with people on the streets where the environment isn't clean, and there is nowhere suitable to do a consultation. We've done consultations on the street and even under flyovers as we go to where our clients are.

This funding for a mobile consulting room will make such a massive difference because we will have everything we need in one place. It will be a clean, confidential space for us to continue our vital work for the homeless community of Redbridge.

Healthy Living Healthy Lives Homeless Healthcare Service is made up of a team of nurses, mental health nurses, counsellors and a podiatrist. The aim of the service is to ensure that every adult who is homeless in Redbridge has access to the Homeless Health Service. The organisation employs seven counsellors of different nationalities to ensure that there is equality of access to services. This means that those who are unable to communicate in English are also supported.

We support between 150 to 200 individuals and provide over 3,000 individual consults per year so the mobile consulting room will be helping hundreds of people in the community every year, explained Stephanie.

The service we provide is so incredibly important, if we weren't there, people that are homeless wouldn't be getting registered with GPs, wouldn't be getting the healthcare they are currently getting because they don't know how to access it. We are the advocates for these people, making sure there is equality of access to healthcare and that's why we set up the organisation to begin with.

The fully adapted mobile consultation room will include a private area for consultation and serve as a space for the group to provide their National Lottery funded Homelessness to Health project, which includes services such as an initial health check and ongoing support, GP registration and advocacy, mental health assessments, long term conditions monitoring, flu vaccinations, counselling and podiatry.

Stephanie added, We wouldn't be where are we are without National Lottery funding, it really is as simple as that. The funding allows us to operate, and this recent grant has been vital.

This funding announcement comes shortly after The National Lottery Community Fund released a new report, Putting Communities First, which sets out the impact National Lottery funding has had on communities across the UK over the last five years.

The report shows that on average 5.2 million people across the country a year were supported by National Lottery-funded projects, with 97% of grant holders reporting improvements in their participants' mental health, self-esteem and social contact.

Helen Bushell, Senior Head of Regional Funding for London, South East and East of England at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: Thanks to National Lottery players, this vital funding will have a huge impact on people's lives across Redbridge. This last year has been incredibly challenging for communities and we applaud the volunteers and groups that have been a lifeline to so many. As we all look to the future, we're excited to see how local groups will use this funding to further support their communities to prosper and thrive.

During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost 1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.

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Notes to Editors

* These figures are for funding awarded from 11 September - 19 November 2021.

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK - we support people and communities to prosper and thrive.

We're proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.

Our funding has a positive impact and makes a difference to people's lives. We support projects focussed on things that matter, including economic prosperity, employment, young people, mental health, loneliness and helping the UK reach NET Zero by 2050.

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We're privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

National Lottery players raise over 30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, 43 billion has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects - 255 projects per postcode area.

Company: Big Lottery Fund

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