Funding of over £560,000 has been secured by Leeds City Council to support a range of on-going proactive work in the city to help rough sleepers tackle drug and alcohol issues.
Following the successful bid to Public Health England (PHE), plans are now being progressed with Forward Leeds, which is the city’s designated alcohol and drug service, regarding the creation of a new designated outreach team to work closely with those in need. Linking in with the city’s wider Leeds Street Support Team, which through a partnership approach provides a variety of support to rough sleepers, the new team will be available to work flexibly in the day and at night time to engage and provide individuals with immediate and expert specialist assistance to meet their specific mental health and physical needs to tackle drug and alcohol dependency.
Currently, the Forward Leeds team working with rough sleepers comprises of a street-based complex needs worker and street support team worker. The arrival of the outreach team next spring will support existing Forward Leeds work and also play an important role in informing and improving how through a joined up approach, key partner agencies which form part of the city’s Street Support Team can reach and engage individuals into treatment.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said:
“I am really pleased that our bid to Public Health England for over £560,000 of funding to support the proactive work that is being undertaken in the city to help rough sleepers tackle drug and alcohol issues has been approved.
“Being able to offer immediate and specialist help on the ground to those in need both in the day and night, is absolutely critical to our work. The creation therefore of a new designated Forward Leeds outreach team is very much welcome, and a very positive addition to the city-wide partnership approach we are undertaking regarding rough sleeping here in Leeds.”
Lee Wilson, Regional Director of Humankind who are the lead partner in the Forward Leeds service, said:
“It’s fantastic that PHE and Leeds City Council have recognised the need to increase in the level of support Forward Leeds offer those living on the streets of our city. This allows us to expand significantly the work we do with a group of people who usually face multiple disadvantages in life, often including past traumatic experiences and mental health issues.
“Supporting this community is not a quick fix and it’s never a 9-5 job. It involves working closely with the individual over a long period of time and supporting him or her into treatment at their own pace.”