At the start of January, John Greenwood and I visited Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) to assess a grant application to go towards a health coach to support the homeless community in Slough.
On the day, we met up with Mandy McGuire; Project Manager, Steve Headley; Chief Executive and Sally Russell; Fundraiser.
The issue at hand:
The Slough region is an urban environment of vast extremes and diversity. While a large number of successful international companies have identified Slough as a place to set up their offices, on the other side, the town is also badly affected by homelessness and social exclusion. Statistics have shown that roughly 15% of Slough’s residents live in communities that are among the 20% most deprived income areas in the country.
Mandy explained that the average life expectancy for a rough sleeper is just 47 years, where a large majority of these fatalities are caused by avoidable illnesses. Unfortunately, this is largely due to the fact that the homeless find it difficult to visit a GP.
Who is SHOC?
SHOC is a day centre whose objective is to care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Slough. Since establishment in 1997, the centre has provided crisis care and long term transformational help towards independence to over a thousand people. Being the only centre of its kind within a 20-mile radius, SHOC has their work cut out for them, having over 300 clients and helping over 40 people each day at Serena Hall.
The hard work has truly proven to pay off, with SHOC being awarded the Slough Mayor’s Charity of the Year award in 2011, and a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2012.
John and I were extremely impressed by the impact made by SHOC and look forward to hearing about more of their work in the future.