April 2024

1st April 2024

As we’re entering April, the countdown is on for a personal milestone of mine as I turn 50 in May.  These big birthday’s give us an opportunity to reflect on our lives and set intentions for our future.   Mine are to continue to work hard at work worth doing, and spending time with the people I love.

Speaking of working hard at work worth doing:  AMAT have been awarded some funding from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for a project we’ve called Talking Heads.  It’s a suicide prevention project and will be an expansion of our current service to meet the increased needs of the people that we work with, alongside the employment of a dedicated Suicide Prevention Worker. Additional support will be delivered through several key initiatives and will enable us to provide specific support for the prevention of suicide in homeless adults.  As part of this, all front-line staff will receive training in mental health first aid, and we will have dedicated support workers who will receive training in suicide prevention to work with homeless adults.

Did you know that Men from the lowest social class, living in the most deprived areas, are up to ten times more likely to end their lives by suicide than those in the highest social class from the most affluent areas. Men in mid-life are the age group most at risk”? [Samaritans Men and Suicide Report 2021].  AMAT UK is located in River Ward, Chatham – falling within the 1% most deprived neighbourhood’s [2019 Multiple Deprivation Index England]. £156 is the average spent on an individual in Medway accessing mental health services in Medway – compared to a UK-wide average of £201 [Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Mental Health Watch Kent and Medway report 2022].

63% of the individuals that we accommodate are middle aged men and 77% suffer with mental health issues.  A generation of men that still find it hard to express their feelings and reach out when they need help because of perceived shame attached to not being able to ‘man up’. “Suicide is the second most likely cause of death for homeless adults in the UK”. [Office of National Statistics]

100% of the homeless adults and vulnerable members of the community that we work have experienced trauma, and often they are not only dealing with the trauma of homelessness, but additional traumatic experiences like addiction, mental health, adverse childhood experience and domestic abuse. 77% of the individuals that we work with have a mental health issue – this has increased from 48% last year.

Projects like this one, and also our 411 Hive really do make all a difference to Medway.  We’ve welcomed more partners to the building as Forward Trust – River run a satellite service from the Hive daily and MSA operate a soup kitchen every Thursday evening.  This has involved MSA moving from their usual car park venue for one day a week and has meant that people can take shelter from unpredictable and often bad weather, and in addition access our IT suite, Hive support services, shower, and use a toilet.  We’ve seen an increase in people attending our food-based events and an increase in footfall generally as 264 people access this support, which is a 78% increase.

Since my last blog we held a full staff meeting with the team.  It was an opportunity to tell them all about what is coming up for AMAT, remind them of the progress we’ve made and the difference they make to Medway’s homeless adults and the community we live and work in.   We also had a quiz with the prize of a much-coveted Quiz Champion 2024 mug!   Whilst we send out quarterly staff newsletter, so the staff are informed, we find the face-to-face meetings are better – as people can ask questions and because the team works out of different office spaces, they also enjoy being able to interact with their colleagues they don’t usually see as often.  Sometimes it’s important to just get together and celebrate without achieving a milestone – this was one of those occasions – we always want staff to know how amazing they are.

A new business plan for 2024-2027 is finally completed and approved by the Board.  The team and I are keen to get started and continue to make a difference to so many people in Medway and Kent.


Till next time

Jodie. x

How you can help AMAT

There are lots of ways in which you can help support AMAT to ensure that we can continue to provide our support to the homeless and vulnerable people in Medway.