St Martin’s Frontline Network

Each year, St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity launches their BBC Radio 4 Christmas Appeal and this directly supports people through The Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields and across the UK through the Vicar’s Relief Fund and the Frontline Network. The Vicar’s Relief Fund helps homeless and vulnerably housed people through small-sum, rapid response grants to prevent eviction, access accommodation or set up home. Grants are given to individuals across the UK through frontline workers.

The Frontline Network exists to harness the ideas, energy and experience of those at the frontline working with homeless and vulnerably housed people, by building relationships, sharing best practice, developing solutions and communicating the experience and views of the frontline.

For the past year, Target Housing has been a Partner Organisation of St Martin’s Frontline Network, and has successfully renewed its partnership for 2017-2019 along with nine other national organisations across England, Scotland and Wales. Further information on the Frontline Network can be located at www.frontlinenetwork.org.uk or https://twitter.com/SMITF_frontline

Going forward, Target Housing will be organising a number of events and activities to bring together and amplify the voice of frontline workers across their networks. For further information on the Network activities, please contact Sirea Jabar on Sirea.Jabar@targethousing.org.uk

Case study

Richard was referred to Target Housing by Rotherham Council.  He suffered from depression, anxiety, stress related psychosis and tinnitus.  As a result of this he had constant ringing in his ears and heard voices.  Around 5 years ago, Richard suffered a nervous breakdown caused by the stress of living with these conditions.  He was in denial at the time and refused any help that was offered to him.  He began to isolate himself, didn’t go out and didn’t see any of his family.  He turned to heroin as a coping mechanism, which resulted in him suffering from DVT in his legs.  Richard is now engaging with drug services and is on a methadone prescription.  He hasn’t used heroin for over 2 years.

Around 1 year ago, Richard began playing his music and TV loudly, to drown out the noise and voices he was hearing constantly. However, this resulted in complaints being made by his neighbours and an antisocial behaviour (ASB) investigation.  Richard was threatened with eviction because of this.

Richard has now started accepting support and is working with several services. He has been supported to get help with his mental health and is now taking antidepressants.  He is also being supported to address issues with his property that have built up over the years.

Richard was awarded a St Martins grant for carpets to be put down in his living room, the room in which he spent the most time, and where his TV etc. were. This helped with reducing the noise levels heard by his neighbours.  He also invested in some headphones, which he said helped with the ringing in his ears and voices.  The ASB investigation was closed and there is no longer a risk of eviction.