Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Mutual support, please

May 20 2009
An outreach charity has lamented the lack of co-operation between service centres in London Tim Nicholls, director of the Simon Community, wants more mutual assistance from night shelters to give better to support to London's vulnerable rough sleepers. "Our outreach teams often meet people in crisis late at night," Mr Nicholls explained. "Despite repeated attempts to secure referral rights into the St Martin's night shelter, we have been refused, for no reason." He and his colleagues were aware that the night shelter was often only half full. "In the interests of the people we meet, it would be good to be able to get those in deepest need away from the streets and into a safe environment," said Mr Nicholls. "This is just one area where I think there could be effective co-operation." Mr Nicholls has consistently stated that his organisation is pleased about the increased investment in building-based services. "It is silly to assume that building-based services need to be in conflict with the range of outreach services offered by the likes of the Simon Community," he said. "It is wrong to assume that there is a 'one size fits all' approach to tackling the issues of rough sleeping and homelessness; there is a sizeable group who cannot - or will not - access building-based programmes." Mr Nicholls felt that the support services offered on the streets needed to be improved, but they should work alongside those offered by day centres and other buildingbased providers. He voiced concerns of a 'blame and shame' culture against smaller agencies such as the Simon Community and hoped that the sector would grow up: "It's time for all agencies - voluntary, local government and central government - to return to this serious matter and work more effectively together to support those both on the streets and in hostels."
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