Steve coordinates the Recovery Programme here at The Connection, which offers a timetable of groups and activities designed to help people build skills and provide opportunities to move away from the streets for good. During the pandemic most group work had to stop, but now restrictions have eased, group activities have restarted including art therapy, music therapy and discussion groups. We also offer a gardening group as part of the Recovery Programme. Activities such as gardening can allow the clients feel the sense of achievement that comes with planting flowers and plants.
All our groups offer the chance for clients to take part in the design, implementation and delivery and we want everyone involved to share their skills and resources. By collaborating, we can empower our clients, help to build their self-esteem and use their feedback to inform our service, ensuring it meets everyone’s needs.
At The Connection, we operate within a framework of co-production, meaning that clients are involved in considering which groups would be most beneficial to them and are actively involved in designing and facilitating them. This allows clients using the services to benefit and to learn skills that they can apply to other areas of their lives. These groups, alongside all services at the Connection, are set up to ensure that we take into consideration the psychological and emotional needs of the clients involved. In these recovery groups, clients can take part in workshops with a fixed period of exploration to encourage them to close chapters of their recovery and instil the idea of moving on. With the workshops drawing to a close, it can also allow the participants to take part in exhibitions of their work if they wish to participate and to celebrate what has been achieved. Over the summer, we ran a photography project titled ‘Unlocking London’ whereby clients were encouraged to take photographs of London as the lockdown restrictions lifted. This project ran across all three sites of The Connection and culminated in an exhibition in the St Martins Crypt.
The gardening group we run offers a valuable opportunity for clients to engage in therapeutic activity outside of the resource centre and this year they have make wonderful changes to St Martin’s House, which is our supported housing project in South London. As well as transforming the gardens at St Martins House, the group has installed and maintained 35 beautiful planters in the courtyard of St Martins Church.
Our exhibitions sometimes have specific themes. For example; we’ve held Christmas exhibitions in the past and have led craft sessions around the festive season. Christmas can be a particularly hard time for people who are homeless so we work on ways to support this. A lot of discussion groups in the winter are centred on the subject of Christmas and overcoming the challenges which come with it. There are many conversations around Christmas discussing family and togetherness, which are not always possible for people who are homeless and can make this time particularly challenging. The festive period can also further highlight some of the problems that people have, for example issues which have caused them to sleep on the streets, relationship breakdowns or a lack of familial support. This can be hard for people to deal with, further amplified by a societal expectation of being excited to celebrate the festive season. These recovery groups help people to explore this concept and build resilience.
There is often extra provision during the winter that many clients enjoy participating in. This isn’t, however, always the case for everyone. People who are still on the streets are often included in Christmas celebrations such as group meals; which some really enjoy. These can be fantastic for our clients to participate in as everyone should have a seat at the table for a festive meal. However, it doesn’t always make it easier for people who are rough sleeping. That’s why we’re there all year-round to support people through the difficult periods of January and beyond.
Recovery groups lead by Steve’s team continue long after the Christmas decorations have been packed away and operate all year. We’re here to support all year round to help people with their recovery.
We hope you can help us be there for those at Christmas, but also every other day.
£200.00 Could help someone to start receiving support from our recovery services which includes activities like art and gardening.