St Vincent De Paul Centre Southend
A centre for homeless people set up in Southend during the pandemic has already positively impacted 3,000 lives.
Having turned a warehouse into a night shelter, Daniel Cauchi has developed the St Vincent De Paul Centre to now offer a wide range of services and activities for those finding themselves without a permanent home.
Just 22 months after setting up the facility, the team is on the streets five nights a week to ensure the homeless community know there is help available.
Now, immediate assistance of food and emergency support to vulnerable people will be available round the clock, thanks to extra funding.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £10,000 to St Vincent De Paul Centre from the 2022-23 Crime Prevention Fund to fund an increase in outreach work.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “What an incredible achievement in such a short space of time – and during a pandemic, too!
“Protecting vulnerable people is one of our priorities and it is great to see thousands of lives positively impacted in this way.”
Centre manager Daniel said: “This funding has really given us the confidence to continue to develop everything we are doing. The PFCC has seen everything we are trying to achieve.
“People on the streets are in a desperate situation. We are giving wrap-around care to those who need it, sorting food, temporary accommodation, clothing; whatever is needed. We are trying to stabilise people’s mental health, with short, medium and long-term goals in partnership with 36 groups and services.”
Throughout the week, the centre offers activities to support people’s mental health, reignite passions and talents and to develop confidence.
One man, who attended the centre with no fixed address and no bank account, mentioned a love of football – as a result, a football club has been launched, giving him back his fitness and confidence, making him feel calm and happy.
Daniel said: “We are keeping people busy and off the streets. As a result of our activities, people are getting into social enterprise and work.
“We make them feel welcome and set about getting a plan in place, so they do not go back. They come here for a free lunch and we talk until we understand their situation and help them to make the necessary changes.
“We are really impactful in moving people forward.”