Aberdeen Cyrenians continues growth plans despite COVID-19

Aberdeen Cyrenians has pressed ahead with expansion plans to deliver more crucial services for vulnerable people despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The charity, which works with people who are homeless, fleeing abuse, or battling alcohol, drugs and mental health issues, have designed and launched three new services and recruited 13 new staff members since the outbreak began.

The new services include specialist support for survivors of historic abuse, run in partnership with Penumbra, a digital skills and hardware gifting programme for people who are homeless, and a redesign of the Summer Street food hub, giving people in poverty more choice and dignity.

Mike Burns, chief executive, said: “COVID-19 has brought into sharper focus the impact that abuse and exclusion has on resilience and mental health, making survival in lockdown even more difficult. Despite the challenges of operating during COVID-19, we were determined to press ahead and bring these services alive to increase support to some of the most vulnerable people in our region who have really been struggling.

“At the same time, we’re thrilled that during these uncertain times with so many impacted by unemployment, we can offer these opportunities. We have some really exciting roles we’re still recruiting for including a Housing First consortium service manager, a great opportunity for someone with leadership and strategy experience to lead a ground-breaking project that has turned homelessness on its head.”

In response to COVID-19, the charity also launched AC2U with partner charities to ensure vulnerable people can access food and other essential items throughout the pandemic and exit strategy, recruiting two new practitioners in April for this service.

Ruth Ogilvie, residential services lead, added: “These new services would not have been possible without taking on new staff. In current circumstances, there are many people looking for new roles that may not have considered a career in health and social care before, but we’re able to offer training opportunities for the right candidate. We would encourage people to consider how rewarding such important work can be in helping people to recover from trauma and rebuilding their lives.

“The Housing First role and other positions we’re advertising currently, are great opportunities for talented and committed individuals to join a values-driven organisation at a really exciting time, and lend their expertise to ending homelessness for good.”

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