Our sister charity SHOC (Slough Homeless Our Concern) has been helping local people struggling with homelessness and social exclusion since its formation in 1997.
One of its most recent beneficiaries is Steve. He is nervous around other people but feels comfortable enough around some of the SHOC staff that he can chat to four of them.
“I’m on my own, so it’s nice to have a bit of company,” Steve says. “The staff are very friendly. We crack the odd joke, and it just brightens up my day.”
Steve believes the service SHOC provides is “vital in the community”. He says the staff really care a lot about the people who attend the day centre – no matter their circumstances.
“Everyone’s situation is different,” Steve says. “People have personal struggles, some physically, and some mentally. They help build people’s confidence.”
SHOC staff also recognise the importance of assisting people with medical conditions. Steve says they help people get their prescriptions and ensure they take the medicines they need to improve their health. He believes that “just having that watchful eye really helps some of the most vulnerable people.”
Another aspect of the work done by the charity is the ability to notice who is most in need of support – even if they are not willing to admit it.
As Steve says, “There are some people who will turn around and say, ‘I’m alright, and a heck of a lot of people do that when they’re not alright.”