What we do

 
 
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We believe it takes more than a roof over someone’s head to end homelessness

Since 1985, we have been providing temporary supported-accommodation to people who are homeless. Our initial ambition was to offer a bed, a meal and a sympathetic ear but since that time, we have been continuously striving to improve the services and facilities we can offer the people we support.

We have been at the forefront of new developments for over 30 years now and are proud to have incorporated many innovative approaches to support provision. Times have changed and jargon has changed, but the need to find hope and dignity is still the overriding aspiration for those who come to Signposts.

The people we support offer many skills and talents that often lie dormant but are ready to be used for the benefit of the individual and the community. With the support of our staff, we are extremely proud to see these wonderful people achieve more and more for themselves and the people of Luton and Central Bedfordshire.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Signposts as a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE)

A PIE is “one that takes into account the psychological makeup – the thinking, emotions, personalities and past experience - of its participants in the way that it operates.” [1] It’s an approach to supporting people out of homelessness; in particular, those who have experienced complex trauma [2] or are diagnosed with a personality disorder. It also considers the psychological needs of staff to include developing skills and knowledge, and increasing motivation, job satisfaction and resilience.

In June 2017, the Signposts Board of Trustees made a commitment to develop all of Signposts’ services in line with the five principles of PIE:

1. Relationships 

Relationships are key to supporting people out of homelessness. With this in mind, over five years ago we established Team SP to help build relationships between our staff, the people we work with and their community.

Team SP’s strength-based, supportive approach empowers people to identify and achieve their aspirations. This approach also helps people strengthen their local community and to help overcome the stigma surrounding homelessness.

Those offered accommodation with Signposts will be encouraged and supported by their coach to engage in Team SP activities. This environment enables our coaches to develop a strong and supportive relationship, while delivering in line with the 5 Ways to Mental Wellbeing (connect, be active, take notice, learn and give).

2. Staff Support and Training

In conjunction with sector-wide compulsory training, all our staff are trained in the five principles of PIE, Trauma Informed Care, Mental Health First Aid and ASSIST. A key addition through PIE is the implementation of facilitated reflective practice for all staff. We have recruited a Health Psychologist to facilitate these groups, while also consolidating the psychological framework within which we work.

The facilitated reflective practice sessions provide access to ongoing motivational interviewing training and psychological interventions, thus equipping staff with the confidence and tools they need to establish lasting recovery capital among the people they support.

3. Physical Environment and Social Spaces

We have embarked upon a refurbishment plan to ensure all of our properties provide:

  • A non-institutional, safe and welcoming service, which facilitates interaction between the people we work with and our staff
  • Choice and control over how and when people engage
  • A sense of physical and emotional safety for all
  • A culture of health and wellbeing

4. Psychological Framework

Our Health Psychologist has developed both a psychological framework and a reflective and thoughtful environment, which aims to increase staff health and wellbeing, while enabling those we work with to thrive.

5. Evidencing

We will be commissioning an evaluation of PIE and its impact on people outcomes, as well as staff health, wellbeing and job satisfaction.

[1] Robin Johnson, co-author of “Psychologically Informed Services for Homeless People” Good Practice Guide 2012. Department of Communities and Local Gov. and developer of pielink.net 
 

[2] Complex trauma refers to the psychological problems and linked patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours, which tend to result from prolonged exposure to traumatic experience (Good Practice Guide 2012)

 

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Workshops

Our community team provides a learning environment in which people can learn, share, develop and use the skills which will enable them to achieve their goals and establish their place in their wider community. This is achieved in our projects through the delivery of a number of workshops, with themes including:

• Welcome to Signposts
• Making the most of your money
• Signposts Active
• Vegatastic
• Media Group
• Togetherness Creates Community
• Arts & Drama

 

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Team SP

This project was founded in 2010, and aims to challenge the stereotypes surrounding homelessness by ensuring that people who live at Signposts are able to contribute within their local communities. The project has grown year on year, underpinned by our belief that communities works better in partnership. We deliver thousands of volunteer hours, relationships are built, and we get to know each other better as we work together to create a great community.

Our team regularly marshals at local festivals and big events such as Love Luton Half Marathon, organises litter picks including the annual Great British Spring Clean, and supports environmental projects which benefit our green spaces.

 
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"Team SP have been fundamental to the delivery and success of many community events, in particular, Summer in the Sun, where the team worked to build the man-made beach. This is no mean feat and takes two days to build using 100 tonnes of sand."

Sinead McNamara, Love Luton

 

Marshalling

The team supports numerous events with marshalling, and we are delighted to contribute to the safety and enjoyment of these occasions. The team are always proud to be part of these events, and derive a great deal of satisfaction from their professionalism being recognised by customers, visitors, the police and the event organisers.

Litter clearance

Team SP has become well known for litter clearances - our aim is to work together with schools, community groups, residents and our local authority to identity and clean up areas which are no longer maintained. We hope that creating cleaner spaces will encourage a sense of pride in our town.

Environmental

Over the years we have cut acres of grass, chopped down trees, dug ponds, cleaned out a moat and helped renovate churchyards. Our work has made a huge difference and been extremely beneficial to our local environment, and our efforts have been recognised and rewarded with donations to allow us to purchase gardening equipment.

 
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"Chopping down hedges was great fun and hard back-breaking work! There was a good atmosphere, people walking thought the churchyard saying hello and chatting. We were able to have a laugh and a joke while we worked."

Member of Team SP

 
 
 
 
 
 
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People's stories

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"Thank you Signposts, Luton, Team SP and all those who believe in me and have supported, and not judged me throughout this journey."

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"There were so many nice people and the staff were amazing, I really loved it there. It was so nice having meals cooked, eating together - I felt comfortable and safe."

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"For the first time in many years I felt I had achieved something, after many years of wrong choices I felt the consequences of those choices were now behind me. It’s just amazing - like I am free again”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Get involved

We invite individuals, groups, schools and corporate staff teams to volunteer in partnership with us across a range of community projects. You could volunteer at one of the larger events we support, such as the Love Luton Half Marathon in October or the Great British Spring Clean in March, or at smaller events such as summer festivals, year-round environmental projects or litter clearance events.

In addition to our community volunteering, we are currently reviewing the role of volunteering for people living at Signposts. We want to make sure volunteering opportunities offer people the chance to use, develop and enhance their skills.

We are also keen to offer external opportunities to anyone with a passion for sharing their skills with us.

For more information, please contact info@signpostsso.org

 

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Be a part of someone’s journey to a brighter future

We have been at the forefront of new developments for over 30 years, and we are extremely proud to have incorporated a number of innovative approaches to support provision. Times have changed and jargon has changed, but the need to find hope and dignity is still the overriding aspiration for those who come to Signposts.

The wonderful group of people we support possess an array of skills and talents, which sometimes lay dormant, but can be used to benefit both the individual and our local community. Our aim is to provide a culture of using and sharing these skills, learning new skills, and working together to create a great community. Your generous donation will be used to fund our work.

You can donate using Virgin Money or JustGiving using the links below.

If you are interested in donating on a regular basis or want to fundraise for us, we would be delighted to hear from you. For more information please contact info@signpostsso.org.

 
 
 
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