Helping The Archer Project rebuild lives in Sheffield

by Aviva Community Fund | Mar 06, 2024 | Learn

Helping The Archer Project rebuild lives in Sheffield

The Archer Project gives vulnerable people the tools to rebuild their lives. They raised over £125,000 through the Aviva Community Fund, which allows them to continue their three-tier service offering which helps homeless people at each stage of their journey towards a more stable and fulfilling life. 

What started out as breakfast tea and toast served by the congregation of Sheffield Cathedral has, over the last 30 years, developed and expanded into a holistic range of services that support homeless people on their journey from ‘living on the streets’ to safe housing and stable employment.

Most people’s first encounter with the Archer Project comes through their street level engagement service, which offers two hot or cold meals a day to the vulnerable and homeless. From there, people can address the emergency needs that arise from being homeless – getting access to showers and laundry facilities, alongside toiletries and clothes, professional haircuts and in-house doctor and dental visits. 

The Archer Project will also work with emergency agencies to start the process of helping people get off the streets, into housing and receiving the correct benefits. 

But that’s not the end of the story. What the Archer Project has learnt over the years is that gaining a home and keeping a home are very different achievements. Routine and confidence-building are vital to avoiding a slide back into the patterns that may have led to homelessness. So, once an individual’s emergency needs are met and housing has been found, the next step is to focus on stabilisation – encouraging volunteer work and attendance of the social stability groups The Archer Project run, which include group exercises, activities, and informative sessions. There’s no perfect formula to tackling homelessness but team at The Archer Project have found this is a vital step to success that gives volunteers purpose, a daily routine and a sense of belonging. What’s more, it inspires those who are still sleeping rough to see the route through The Archer Project’s process towards rebuilding their lives.

The final step in The Archer Project’s programme is the fulfilment stage where, when they’re ready, individuals are guided through the process of getting a job and can access one-to-one counselling sessions to help them manage the new ongoing challenges they face. A vital element of this stage is ‘Printed by Us’ – a social enterprise staffed entirely by people who have been through The Archer Project programme. Printed by Us designs, screenprints and sells a range of clothing, mugs, art prints and more, while offering an invaluable employment opportunity to ease people’s transition back into the working world.

It’s a way of working The Archer Project has refined over the years. Trustee, Surriya Falconer, told us “The satisfaction one gets is being able to see somebody who was prepared to engage and talk to you. And to think about what the next step could be to helping them. Once they’re on a better footing, they often work at the project as a volunteer with experienced team members, so you’ve got a mentoring system from people who’ve been there.”

It’s a process Chris Lynam knows inside out, having lived on the streets and experienced homelessness, drug addiction and prison before finding The Archer Project, where he’s now worked for seven years. “They helped me in more ways than I could quantify” says Chris. “For someone like me, to go from prison and walk into an employment setting, and not just to be given a job to ‘keep me busy’ but to be given a real job – it changed everything for me.

Does your cause support financial wellbeing? Apply to the Aviva Community Fund today and you could be eligible for match funding.

Funding is available for organisations looking to raise up to £50,000 and eligible causes can apply at any time.