The Booth Centre won first place for Excellence in Co-Production at the Homeless Link Excellence Awards 2018. In this feature their Development Manager, Amy Hinks, explains how the Booth Centre involves people with lived experience of homelessness in everything they do, and the impact it has.
“Championing co-production has a huge impact both within the organisation and externally. People who are involved say it helps them feel more confident, builds their self-esteem and gives them a sense of purpose. There are also better outcomes for employment, resettlement and improved wellbeing. The Centre itself is more welcoming, well used and respected; it can be responsive, continually adapting and developing based on the skills, inputs and needs of everybody that uses it, and homelessness services in Manchester have benefitted from our input.
The Booth Centre has pioneered and will continue to champion co-production in day centre services. We believe it makes a better, more effective, service for everyone. We will continue to share our learnings with other services and work with Homeless Link to share good practice throughout the sector. Co-production should be everywhere.”
Davey is a peer mentor at the Booth Centre. Davey explains how peer mentoring has helped her:
“After leaving the army my marriage broke up, I was rough sleeping for four years. I ended up in Manchester at the Booth Centre. I didn’t stay long on my first visit and hardly spoke. But soon they got me involved in the activities and helped me to sort benefits and accommodation. From day one I was made to feel welcome and part of a family where my skills and experience were valued. I helped to create the peer mentor programme using my experience of finding it hard to come to the Centre the first time. Now we have peers welcoming new people every day. I have a passion for poetry and so I write poems for events like the memorial service we had at the Booth Centre. I’ve also used my experience of getting a flat to work with Manchester Council to design and commission a new resettlement service which measures success by whether the person has made friends and has a purpose and not just by if they pay the rent. I’ve helped shape the Booth Centre service and used my experience to improve services in the City of Manchester. We’re all one big unit, that’s what I enjoy. It’s not just the staff, it’s the volunteers, and people using the centre; everyone has the capacity and opportunity to do something positive to help. We work as one. It has helped build my confidence. At first, I was so quiet and now you can’t shut me up. The Centre enables people to find their voice.”
Read the full article on the Homeless Link website: https://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/features/2018/nov/20/people-at-heart-of-booth-centre