Staff Spotlight: Kevin

Kevin has worked for EH for approximately 15 years as a general support worker and specialises in Benefit Support. We asked Kevin about his role with us.…

“It is a very varied job. Meeting lots of different people and helping people to resettle is a highlight.  It is really hard knowing that some people will struggle to move on. I lead the Art Group which I love. The social inclusion across such a wide range of vulnerabilities is really great. It isn’t just about getting someone a place to live; it is also about helping with mental state and wellbeing. With the Art Group, it gives people something to belong to and be involved in. We sometimes have guest artists and people can see some of our work exhibited in the Surface Gallery, twice a year.  The group is currently planning an installation for Light Night with the theme ‘Life on Earth’. The centre will be open to the public on Fri 7th Feb from 6-9pm to come and enjoy the celebrations.”

Talking about specialising in Benefit Support, Kevin explained how he works with homeless and vulnerable adults to help get them back on their feet…

“Benefits are the first stepping stone to independence. Without them one is in destitution.  Supporting someone in obtaining benefits is the front line of ending poverty. In recent times it seems that fewer people are being awarded their benefit claims and if they are awarded the claim there is usually a waiting period of 6-8 weeks before  payment comes through. During this time people are able to access the basic services at the drop in; breakfast and lunch, clothing, shower, laundry. It appears as though the criteria has become much tighter and people are asked to provide evidence of their condition, which for people with mental illness can be difficult and can actually make their symptoms worse. Waiting is stressful for people and a failed application will then also trigger more stress and uncertainty.”

We offer support for people on this journey. We are able to help them to provide a high quality of evidence needed for a benefit claim. We offer support and encouragement and access to basic service, advice and social inclusion activities can help to reduce the impacts on mental health. We are able to look at alternatives if the application fails.  We are the safety net for people to catch them in their time of crisis.

Other services that are available at Emmanuel House Support Centre are; 1-1 support with mental health support, signposting for drug and alcohol support, legal advice, access to healthcare professionals…