Arc Taunton reflects on a year helping the homeless

A TAUNTON charity has experienced many highs and lows this year, but they are so grateful for the support they have received during the coronavirus pandemic.

Arc, a charity who supports the homeless, have been reflecting on the milestones of 2020.

This year, the team have installed an external lift at Victory House, held a virtual sleepout which raised over £14,000 and launched an in-house GP surgery.

Somerset County Gazette: New lift at Victory House

Rosie Hather, fundraising and communications manager for Arc, said: “It’s certainly been a tricky year but with the lows, there have been many highs and we’re so grateful to our wonderful staff, volunteers, donors, and our clients too, who keep lifting our spirits with their gratitude.

Somerset County Gazette: New lift at Victory House

“The new lift at Victory House has enabled our veteran clients with physical disabilities/wheelchair users to access the communal area.

“139 people sleeping in their gardens raised £14,338 for the homeless – it was our most successful sleep out ever.

“The in-house GP surgery includes a treatment room and consultation room and forms part of our ‘Reach Centre’, a well-being clinic we hope to grow even further in 2021.

Somerset County Gazette:

“Currently residents of Arc and rough sleepers are able to access GP appointments, foot care, counselling and liver care and in the New Year more services will be available.

Somerset County Gazette: Dr Horman and a client at the new GP surgery

“We face ups and downs each year. We witness many sad stories and people living through incredibly tough times. But supporting and watching our clients grow and overcome those difficulties really make the highs shine brighter than the lows.”

The coronavirus crisis has created many challenges for Arc, but they have adapted to keep themselves and their clients safe – managing to stay Covid-free all year.

And in total, they have supported 250 homeless people since the pandemic hit in March.

Somerset County Gazette: Virtual sleep out for Arc

The charity has had to reduce the number of people staying in the accommodation as well as organising additional cleaning and PPE. They have also offered support over the phone rather than in person.

Unfortunately, Arc has seen an increase in homelessness in the past year.

“The impacts of the pandemic have left many in financial difficulty as well as putting strain on people’s relationships,” Ms Hather added.

“We’ve witnessed many people losing jobs and becoming homeless, as well as increased cases of domestic violence and relationship breakdowns.

“We are preparing for these impacts to continue in the new year and are ensuring we have the support and housing available to meet the demand on our services.

“But we would like to say a big thank you to those who have supported us this year. We know it’s been a tough year for everyone. Arc are very proud to be part of the local community where they witness so much kindness.”

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Somerset County Gazette | News