Lottery boost for service

Roger Nuttall with Jenny Penfold of the Conquest
Roger Nuttall with Jenny Penfold of the Conquest

HOMELESS people will get more help to turn their lives around after a support charity received a lottery boost.

The Sussex St John Ambulance received £272,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to extend the scheme which identifies and supports vulnerable and homeless patients at the Conquest Hospital.

There has been a successful 14-month trial of the service funded by Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust but this money will secure the scheme’s future for the next three years.

Nurse coordinator Roger Nuttall will visit patients who staff feel may need help when they leave the hospital and he will discuss housing, clothing and food needs with them.

He said: “This kind of support is essential to break the vicious circle of homeless people reaching crisis point, ending up in hospital then going back on the street until they’re in crisis again.

“Besides this being a human tragedy, it’s also a waste of NHS resources,” he added.

“Our intervention will help people take control of their own health and we’ll give them the tools to start turning their lives around.

“The investment is relatively small but the potential benefits are incalculable.”

The homeless service includes 14 volunteers including nurses, a mental health worker and a podiatrist, working with other local charities to offer treatment and support to Hastings and St Leonards’ homeless population.