Over the past few months the Gypsy Traveller & Boater Outreach team, Connie and Sam, have made some good progress working with one of their contacts, N.
N is a long-term heroin user and domestic abuse survivor, suffering from high anxiety levels and depression. She struggles to navigate the housing benefit system, resulting in mounting arrears to Elim Housing. Over the last few months our staff, Connie and Sam have gained N’s trust enough to have an honest conversation about her history of abuse and her ongoing drug-use, something she was previously reluctant to do. N has agreed to consider support with her addiction and feels ready to access the Freedom Programme where she will be supported through attendance at those critical first appointments. Support was also given with housing benefit and Elim Housing where a problem was found and solved preventing N’s tenancy being at risk.
Health is a vital issue that Sam and Connie work with. For N it was possible, with support, to move from unplanned regular emergency visits to A&E to planned visits to a GP surgery where she is now signed up. A subtle but powerful sign of change is getting contact again from her sister, a relationship which had strayed. She has made an incredible transition from existing in almost complete isolation with no functioning support network, to living in a supportive community, being in-touch with her family and making plans for her future. N told Connie and Sam that without the positive changes they supported her in making over the last few months she would never have expected to see her family again, and has since been much happier.