Lynette Brophy is the Contract Manager at Look Ahead’s Edward Alsop Court Homelessness Service. She has watched the service grow since she helped set it up several years ago.
I first joined Look Ahead as a support worker eight years ago. Before long, I was sent to help set up our Edward Alsop Court hostel. What I thought would be a brief secondment turned out to be the greatest career step I ever made.
I applied to be a team leader and worked my way up to contract manager. Throughout my time, the service has grown into a unique “one stop shop” meeting all our customers’ needs.
We support men – currently ranging from 29 to 88 years old – who have experienced homelessness. This often comes with alcohol dependency and/or substance misuse too. We also work together with the local GP surgery to provide ten health beds as temporary accommodation for people experiencing rough sleeping who are being discharged from hospital or who have severe health issues.
Our customers have various support needs, and over the years we have built partnerships with Westminster Council, local NHS providers and the voluntary sector to meet these in the best way possible. We have set up an onsite clinic with NHS nurses four days a week, and both a GP and social worker make weekly visits to the service. We bring in psychologists and an art therapist to support customers with their mental health as well. Then there’s Turning Point and Change Grow Live, who customers can engage with for advice and support with substance misuse and dependency.
We also provide an office at the hostel for a care agency which gives our customers flexibility in how they are supported. A DWP Officer comes to help with benefits too.
Palliative care is intrinsic to our service, and we collaborate with an occupational therapist, Royal Trinity Hospice nurses and others to support some of our customers with end-of-life plans, and making their final years as comfortable, easy, and happy as we can.
Every customer has move on options via Westminster pathways, and palliative customers are sometimes able to move on into new placements too. When possible, others prefer to stay here at Edward Alsop Court. To us, this is the greatest and most humbling compliment of all.
My outstanding team are the glue that holds all these partnerships together, their drive and dedication is at the core of everything we have built here. This is what makes Edward Alsop a place where customers feel at home.