Rachel and Janice bring their expertise to Isle of Wight homelessness support team

published on 25 Jan 2019

rachel and janice hsu

TWO Isle of Wight women, who are experts in working with people who are vulnerable, have joined The Salvation Army’s homelessness support unit team on the island.

Rachel Lee is the organisation’s new Homelessness Services Unit operations manager and has overall responsibility for The Salvation Army’s homelessness services on the island. Her remit includes running the Fellowship House, Melville Street and the Priory Lifehouses in Ryde and Newport as well as winter shelter and outreach services. 

Janice Patterson is an outreach support worker. She works out in the community to make sure that people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness on the island are getting all the support that’s available to them, such as a winter night shelter.

Rachel lives in Wootton and moved to the island as a young child and before taking up her role with The Salvation Army, she was a team leader for mental health supported accommodation for the Isle of Wight. Rachel has also worked as a housing officer and with homeless families, people with substance misuse problems and those with learning disabilities.

“My aim is to work closely with our service users to tailor our programme of support to ensure that it truly meets the needs of those we work with. I'd like our service to build on the amazing work that has already been carried out on the Isle of Wight in setting up the outreach support and winter shelters to help rough sleepers to access the services they need to make the transition from homelessness to moving into their own home”, said Rachel.

“The ethos of The Salvation Army closely reflects my own core values and as an organisation, the opportunities we offer to some of the most vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight are broad and varied. This means that those who may be unable to access other services can receive the support from The Salvation Army that they need to make positive changes to their lives.”

Janice has lived most of her life on the Isle of Wight and has now and settled in Ryde after moving there from Norfolk recently.  She has a degree in counselling, a postgraduate degree in psychotherapy, and set up and led TLC GY - a Christian outreach charity which supported people experiencing homelessness in Great Yarmouth. She has also previously worked as a support worker in a psychiatric unit and for Isle of Wight Council’s education welfare team.

“I love my role in the community with The Salvation Army because I feel I am making a tangible difference to individuals’ lives by handing out warm drinks and bedding and going out to help people who are sleeping rough to find accommodation. My hope is to show each person I work with God’s love in action through treating each person who comes to us for support in a loving, non-judgemental and kind way”, said Janice about her new role.

“My experience has shown me the benefits of everyone working together to provide collaborative support for rough sleepers. That’s why I’m currently building my own network of professionals and agencies on the island. My hope is to grow and develop this network, so that we can all work together to help local people find a way out of homelessness.”

The Salvation Army runs a winter night shelter in partnership with Isle of Wight Council where rough sleepers can have a hot meal and a bed for the night. It operates on a rotational basis and moves between The Salvation Army in Ryde, St John’s Church in Newport and Newport Congregational Church.

The Salvation Army’s Isle of Wight outreach service needs volunteers. Please contact Janice Patterson on 07884 562895 or email Janice.patterson@salvationarmy.org.uk for further information.