The Seaview project has been helping vulnerable and homeless people in Hastings and Rother for more than 30 years.
It provides a warm place to stay, a hot meal and counsel for people on a wholly individual level.
A range of services are provided by this charity group, the hard work of volunteers, peers and paid staff is what keeps the most vulnerable in the area able to battle the problems they may have.
The Seaview Project originally started up in 1985, led by family members of people discharged into the community from long term psychiatric placements. Care in the community came into effect and the Seaview Project was born.
In the early years, not enough pre-planning had taken place. Put this alongside the closure of the county asylum at Hellingly and you end up with many pushed out of supported psychiatric care and left to the outside world. Homelessness became a problem. There was a gap in the system that needed to be plugged.
Thirty years on and the Seaview Project is more necessary than ever. The services provided are growing to provide tailor-made help for every individual.
With an expansion in services, the Seaview Project now see’s 60-80 people use the facilities every day, with an average of 45 meals served. The project has in place a crisis accommodation unit to assist people with finding permanent residence.
This is paired alongside a rough sleepers outreach service that verifies individuals for Hastings Borough Council and refers them to the appropriate support service.
There is a health clinic in conjunction with St John’s Ambulance service and a range of money planning workshops to help people to find their feet.
All of the services aside, what the project further offers is a place of dignity and a platform to be heard. Based on Southwater Road, the project gives individuals the chance to take care of hygiene discreetly and a place to engage in activities that contribute to the welfare of themselves and others.
In spite of Government cuts, the Seaview Project continues to grow and is fast becoming a leading light for the vulnerable in times of a financial squeeze.
Annie Whelan, Chief Officer, said: “Seaview has continued to operate in response to local need. That need has changed and there have been ebbs and flows over the 30 years we have been in existence but it has never gone away.
“I believe we would still be needed regardless of government cuts, the reasons that people may find themselves rough sleeping or homeless are many, but are not purely financial.
“Current demand and need for our support and services is growing however affected by the current financial climate.”
To take the project to the next level, Annie Whelan said: “I would increase understanding and support for people to receive care and support holistically where individuals are facing a number of simultaneous challenges, for example: mental health, substance misuse and physical health. I would increase access to health care and recovery support for people who do not have their own address.
“I would increase opportunities for people to begin to take steps forward into volunteering as a precursor for employment when they are not ready for employment opportunities.
“I would build or develop accessible affordable housing for people with multiple and complex needs with different levels of support dependent on need. I would encourage financial investment in the all of this as ultimately the gains will be cost saving and humane.”
The Seaview project continues to expand and provide help on a daily basis.
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