We did it
On 7th October 2020 we successfully raised £823 ( + est. £107.50 Gift Aid ) with 14 supporters in 42 days

To continue to provide much needed support to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community, increased caseload due to Covid-19.

by Emma Boast in Aldershot, England, United Kingdom

Who are we?

The Vine Centre exists to serve the community. We support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community; adults that are socially isolated, long term unemployed, homeless or poorly housed, suffering with mental health, addiction or learning difficulties. Often individuals will approach us for one service, then when more comfortable and have built up a good level of trust they will engage with other services or activities that we offer. With our wrap-around service we are able to support a client on their whole journey, reducing any barriers to progression or engagement they might face. We take pride in being a safe and welcoming centre, where adults of all ages and nationalities feel comfortable to access.


We provide training and development opportunities, addiction support, mental health and anger management, budgeting and benefit support, homelessness and housing sustainment. One of our huge successes is our Silvers group, a group for over 55s to tackle social isolation. Our job club, known as My Space, opened in 2013 and has seen 28% of long term unemployed secure employment through this programme. This is a huge achievement, not only for the individuals but for our community. Having less unemployment in the area reduces anti-social behaviour, social isolation and vulnerability of individuals and improves the local economy. We continue to develop our services based on the needs of our clients and feedback that we receive from them; addressing rising issues when they are first presented. 

Over the course of 2019 we supported 522 individuals, many with multiple needs and our support workers provided close to 800 intensive 1:1 support sessions. We often see individuals for one support issue and through the trust and positive relationships we build with them, go on to support them with further difficulties they might be facing. 

The image below helps to show the ways in which we work with an individual, moving between different hexagons to provide the best support for them as an individual 


2020: Covid-19 Impact on The Vine Centre, The Community and Our Response

Covid-19, as with everyone, has had a huge impact on our charity and the community we support. We were able to alter our support methods quickly and efficiently, with a great team of flexible staff to get the new projects going. We introduced vineline and Vine Dining deliveries. We have supported people remotely via telephone, or in person where absolutely essential. Delivered care packages - which include 3 frozen meals per week. In 12 weeks of service we delivered 1620 care packages and taken 1618 support calls; 352 of which were intensive support around mental health, addiction or anger management.  We extended our reach by providing a remote art project to help keep people creative and busy whilst isolating, sharing mental health tips online - both reducing negative mental health impacts on individuals who may not even be accessing support services. We have supported individuals remotely with form filling, job searching, CV advice and general reassurance. All the support we have offered aimed to keep people safe, reduce isolation effects on mental health, bring an isolated community together through online projects and reduce pressure on statutory services. 


Our caseload has increased substantially with a huge focus on mental health, and whilst we are at capacity now and able to manage - the story will be different in a few months when our volunteers have returned to work and we start to try to do more face to face work again. Some of the new beneficiaries we have taken on are even more isolated and vulnerable than our beneficiaries pre Covid-19; we feel it is essential to be able to continue our support to them - dropping them could be hugely detrimental to their progression.


Our Support Breakdown During Covid-19

Our caseload has substantially increased over the course of the pandemic, and does not look like it will slow down or plateau. It is interesting to see where our support has gone across Hampshire and Surrey, then a further breakdown to the wards of Rushmoor. Cherrywood, Aldershot Park and North Town - which tend to be the areas receiving the most support, are those that are  in the top 20% of the multiple deprivation index. Being surrounded by the affluent areas of Surrey and Hampshire, these areas often feel left behind, with an inner city feel in a non-city area.




Why The Vine is Needed More Than Ever:

Social prescription will see us take on even more referrals and with our already increased caseload our small charity – still running on same staff, but with double workload - will find it difficult to manage. There is no other provision in area for adults to receive support around mental health, addiction, anger management, social isolation etc. We aim to increase our groups to bring individuals 'under our wing' where we may not yet have the capacity to support them 1:1.


What Will We do Post Covid?

When safe to do so, we want to be able to bring people back into our centre - for more face to face support, peer support and groups. We aim to continue with vineline, develop more co-created projects with beneficiaries and other organisations. For example, a young carers group in conjunction with Hart & Rushmoor Young Carers. With our increased caseload and wider area of support, many new beneficiaries cannot afford public transport fare to our centre – therefore we are looking at ways to improve and increase our outreach work. Covid-19 has shown how much people rely on technology to be able to thrive at home, we want to improve on our digital skills offer to be able to teach our beneficiaries to be able to navigate the technological world and regain some independence. Without boosting and improving these digital skills those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged will get left behind – furthering their disadvantage.

What We Will Do With The Money:

This funding will provide us with unrestricted funding to1593604401_artboard_6donations.jpg support our core costs. It will enable us more freedom to progress with projects that are in the planning stages - do soft launches of projects whilst we wait for further funding, provide better support for our beneficiaries and employ new staff to help with our increased capacity.


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