A Gateway to better things

Gareth Farmer – Gateway Officer

Life in the Gateway is never dull, far from it. From housing emergency, help with understanding a benefits form to finding somebody a clinic, at the Gateway we see all! We never know which order these issues might present themselves or the background of the people bringing them to us.

To bring you up to speed, the Gateway is the first point of contact the people we help go through to access our Services. As well as meeting some of the most vulnerable people in South Westminster and ‘sign posting’ them to our lead Services, the Gateway provides information, advice and advocacy assistance. We are the conduit if you like, to a client’s journey, a triage if you will.

In the case of Michelle, her journey at the Gateway began from hearing about the Centre from a hostel. Michelle had managed to refer herself to this insecure tenure but then realised there was a ‘what now’ aspect to her situation. From our initial contact assessment with Michelle we found that she needed support in a variety of ways. She was on the run from an abusive relationship with her family and as a result her mental health was not good. Michelle knew that being housed in a hostel was not a sustainable solution to her accommodation and she wished to do something about this. She wanted to find work and knew that improving her IT skills would better her chances.

We listened, we discussed and we took action. Firstly we made an appointment for Michelle to see a women’s counselling service which the Centre has links with. Michelle was met by a housing advisor and the road to getting into housing association property began. In the meantime Michelle started to use the Centre’s computer room to get going on her IT skills and our Mentoring Team found her a computer whizz to further help with this. Michelle’s demeanour throughout her time with us (and continuing) has always been inspirationally positive, despite her situation.

To meet with Michelle today and to talk with a confident, positive, forward thinking lady is reward enough for us Gateway-ers. If you need some advice or support please come to the Gateway, I would love to help.