Supporting vulnerable people
Commissioned by ‘At Cor’, a Community Interest Company based in Dunfermline, Yes-U-Are has been supporting vulnerable people found begging in the streets of Dunfermline. During the period of over three years that this help has been provide and action research was conducted Yes-U-Are became increasingly aware of the street violence and other difficult circumstances that these vulnerable people experienced on a day to day basis. Yes-U-Are’s work recognized and recorded the severe deprivation they had experienced, much of which related to trauma in early life which was the precursor to their current difficulties.
Yes-U-Are developed holistic ways to support people living chaotic lives who wanted to escape from the downward spiral of chaos caused by previous mistakes and suffering. The work also highlighted the added difficulties they experienced because the statutory sector found it problematic to provide consistent joined up and informed pathways out of addiction and deprivation.
This work has provided ten people with very consistent levels of mentoring, financial relief, companionship and skills development to assist them in their quest for wholeness and stability. Yes-U-Are also worked with another ten people on a less regular basis.
This pioneering work is the source of a wealth of information and insights provided by professionals and beneficiaries alike. The report ‘Road to Recovery,’ published by AT CoR, was launched in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2015 in an effort to draw attention, through its conclusions and recommendations to how public policies and procedures can be improved to better support this vulnerable group of people.
In an effort to support the development of new skills and provide work experience, Yes-U-Are piloted a variety of short term projects within the community at large. The following photographs show some of the activities in progress.
The Family Support Project
This has supported families who were coping with extremely difficult external factors which could otherwise have jeopardised their ability to provide a secure family setting for their young children. The project also assisted one of the families during a difficult pregnancy.
For the duration of the project Yes-U-Are worked closely with Fife Council Children’s services and through their core child support meetings with various other statutory services.
The project assisted two families to stabilise their situations and with this much needed support they were enabled to develop various skills such as positive parenting, budgeting, self-advocacy, conflict resolution and neighbour relations. The clients reported relationships with service providers, local neighbours and family members were greatly improved as a result of the project. They also report improved resilience in dealing with crises and bereavements.
The Writing Project
Twelve people were invited and supported in contributing pieces of writing as a supplementary source of information to the Action Research aspect of the wider At Cor/Yes-U-Are project. This enabled people not simply to develop their writing skills, but also to reflect on their earlier lives and the difficult and at times traumatising circumstances and problematic choices which may have preceded their current situations. Their words have also provided information and insight about the positive and negative features of their experience of local statutory and voluntary sector services. Participation enabled them to review their lives as they are today, and their prospects for a safer and more successful future. In two cases stories and songs relating to clients’ earlier lives have received very positive responses when published through social media outlets.
The Court Case Support Project
On several occasions Yes-U-Are has successfully intervened to present Sheriffs with background information and insight about both the very difficult factors in clients’ lives and the progress of our clients in gradually beginning to turn their lives around, avoid crime and deliver positive community outcomes through our skills development programmes. This information has on every occasion been taken on board by the Sheriffs who have as a result passed non-custodial sentences despite previous breaches of court orders.
The Gardening Project
One of our main community development projects is the restoration of the derelict former St Andrews Erskine Church building. The Gardening Project enabled Yes-U-Are to maintain the grounds and prevent any further degradation outside the building. It also helped our clients and volunteers to gain experience in gardening.
The Dog Walking Project
We currently have three wonderful dogs, Flora, Lia and Missy, at our charity that our clients can take out for walks or even just come and play with. For many of our clients, it is the connection that they have with our dogs that really brightens up their day and makes a difference to their lives. By walking our dogs they have the opportunity to make a difference to our dogs’ lives as well. The trio love their walkies and play time.
The Art Project
We have worked with local artists and volunteers to develop many different Arts & Crafts activities, such as dress making, puppet making and using recycled materials for art. This project benefited children, adults and vulnerable people in our community. It allowed them to come and have fun creating some magnificent art and gain new arty skills that they were able to use in the future.
The Events Project
Our clients have also provided servitor support by catering at several AGM meetings. The served nibbles and drinks as well as getting to meet all our members. Clients helped us to promote our charity as well by handing out information leaflets and reports to possible new members.