I’m sure like me you’re all looking forward to warmer weather and lighter evenings. We’ve gained more freedom with the changes to Covid protocols and restrictions, which for many of us means more social events with friends and families, holidays to look forward to, trips to the theatre or drinks in a pub garden. It’s a shame that this has been marred by the spiraling cost of living crisis. I have shared concerns with friends, family and colleagues who are worried about how we will meet our financial commitments in the coming months – this has highlighted the challenge that many of the vulnerable people that we work with on the lowest incomes will manage and survive in the coming months.
We seem to have a perfect storm of circumstances that will see people who are already struggling in a much worse position. Medway is in the bottom 1% as an area of deprivation in the UK. So, our community is going to be hit very hard, and we are already seeing an inevitable increase in people needing our service.
AMAT UK hasn’t escaped the effects of increased costs, like so many others have experienced, our energy provider went bust a few short months ago. The remaining energy providers have capitalized on this and increased the cost per unit of gas, which has had a devastating affect on our finances. We’ve been researching what funding support is out there but to no avail, leaving us in the position of more people needing us and less resources to help them with, so we’ve been liaising with our utility consultant to search out what resources and support are available for our residents, exploring how we can make our service more energy efficient and ensuring that budgeting and debt management help is available to all members of our community.
Our community project 411 HUB is open Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm. As well as a space for people to access activities, events, advice, and guidance or just pop in for a chat, we also offer free tea and coffee and a warm welcome. We hope this reduces people’s bills and their social isolation in equal measure.
I am reviewing our fundraising strategy to look at how we can increase our efforts to mitigate the financial impact. Every penny of what we raise goes directly into providing homes and rebuilding lives. We will be kicking the fundraising drive off with a party night on 22nd April. Local band The Redfords our hosting the event at the Cob Tree Golf Course. Tickets are £15 each and all proceeds will go to AMAT, you can purchase a ticket by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be a raffle on the night. Please come along and see this fantastic band in action and raise some much needed funds by dancing to some classic party tunes.
Since my last blog, we’ve also had a full staff meeting. The first order of business was to thank our amazing staff for their hard work and dedication. We were able to update them on our future and carry out a reflective practice exercise with them. It’s clear that my colleagues have a lot of passion for what they do and take pride in their work and appreciate their teammates. I was glad to hear that they were pleased with the progress that has been made and that over all the people on the frontline, feel like we are “getting it right”. We asked for their ideas for developing the service and received some fantastic suggestions. The Management team will be discussing the ideas and looking at how we can implement them. Also, on a personal note – I’m really pleased to say that I finally won a coveted AMAT quiz Champion mug after 5 years of trying! I feel totally entitled to my bragging rights and will be parading it at every in person and zoom meeting I have here after!
Our celebrations for the 25th “AMAT’aversary” are shaping up nicely. I will be giving a more comprehensive list of what exciting things we will be doing in my June blog so please watch this space.
I want to end my blog on a more positive note, the world can seem like a pretty bleak place at the moment with the cost-of-living crisis, and the conflict in Ukraine filling the news, I find its important to search out the lighter moments, the small wins and the silver linings. As well as consulting with our staff, we regularly check in with our residents about whether they think we are getting it right. Here are some comments from our recent Resident survey: –
We asked our residents what they think of our support service.
“The support service is good because you can ask anything & they will try to answer everything to you”
“Helping people organise their & housing needs so residents can move on safely”
“Support worker (Amy) polite, sunny & credit to AMAT”
“Help with filling forms & supporting/covering letters also help with Homechoice”
“That you are never judged by all staff & they are always there to help when you need them most”
We asked residents what they think of our community project 411 HUB
“I think getting involved in some of the activities is a positive thing, I feel good when I leave the hub. positive. I really can’t fault anything about the hub”
“It’s good, there to help me”
“The fact that the support workers try as hard as they can to help the residents with their various needs & situations”
“The support service is tops, giving you the help with certain things. They know what they are doing, without them helping me i would have messed things up because certain things i don’t know about & what to do with them”
“The staff are there for you whenever you need them. They are very helpful & understanding to all your needs. They provide food & support whenever you need it”
“If you have a problem they will listen”
This right here folks is the reason I love my job, why despite the pressures of fundraising, lack of resources and lack of sunshine, there’s nowhere else I would rather be, and why I am so proud of what we have achieved.
Speak to you all in a couple months.