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Christmas Connections

29th November 2021

With the clocks falling back, the cold weather settling in, and the shops starting to put out their festive displays, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”. I love getting my home decorated and I’m one of those people who starts Christmas shopping for the family way back in July!

I know how lucky I am.

When I think of the 245 plus homeless people who will staying with us at AMAT UK this Christmas, it really reminds me of how this annual season of celebration and goodwill, can be incredibly painful for some of our Residents.  Homelessness can have a profound effect on an individual’s mental health. AMAT UK operate a 365 days a year service, we recognise that homeless adults don’t stop being homeless at Christmas, and that this is potentially when our residents need our support more than ever. During the festive season we ensure that we provide activities that reduce social isolation, and increase self esteem and wellbeing, as well as having staff available to speak to our residents whenever they need it. ALL AMAT UK residents receive a card and present, we want them to know that we value them, and that we care at this and all times of the year.

Our commitment to helping our residents improve their self- esteem and mental wellbeing at all times of the year and is one of the reasons we are so proud to have been presented with the 2021 Outstanding Contribution to Mental Health award from Better Medway.  AMAT UK was selected because of the way we adapted our service during the COVID-19 lockdowns and continued to provide support to our Residents and the local community. This is one of several ways in which we’ve recently been gaining recognition for the vital work we do in supporting homeless people.

Our 411 HUB was visited by Greg Headley, Homeless Link’s Partnership Manager for London and the Southeast. Greg came in to find out about our trailblazing Nurse Practitioner service where Homeless Adults an vulnerable members of the community can access health advice, prescription services and health testing even if they aren’t registered with a GP, in a safe and comfortable environment., it was also an opportunity for me to update Greg about AMAT and share with him how things have been for us.   I am so pleased to say that Greg was impressed with what he heard and saw, hopefully we can catch up with him again soon.

We were thrilled to be presented with a cheque for £2,270 by members of the Greenwich University project ‘STARRT’, a support group for people with physical or mental health issues, and for those with learning disabilities or difficulties.  They completed a sponsored hike of Mount Snowden in the summer. We held an event in 411 HUB to thank them in person with a performance from our choir Alive and singing, It was lovely to meet the team.

Connecting Residents and other homeless people in the community through the arts and arts-based activities and events has been something that I’ve championed in my time as CEO which is why I’m thrilled that we’re running the Big Give Christmas Challenge to develop Creative Connections – a programme of arts-based activities and events to support vulnerable and homeless adults.  These activities give participants the opportunity to develop their personal and social skills and explore their creativity.

All donations made this week – between Tuesday 30th November and Tuesday 7th December – are doubled, so any small amount will make a big difference.  Please click on the link and donate to this worthwhile project: https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a056900001tyxG4AAI

I would also like to welcome Angela Bostock our newest Board member to the team.  Angela is a long-standing Medway Resident, who is a qualified counsellor with her own private practise.   Prior to this Angela worked for the local authority in children’s safeguarding.  Angela is keen to bring her experiences to shape the support provided to the Residents whilst ensuring that we are a workplace that looks after our staff and their wellbeing.

Reflecting on 2021, I know that AMAT has had a very positive impact on the community, and I feel proud of what we’ve achieved.

I would like to wish you all a healthy and happy 2022.

 

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.