Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury Ark in the running for major award

Shrewsbury Ark, which provides ongoing support and day centre facilities for the homeless and vulnerable in the community, has been shortlisted for a major award.

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Karl Deakin service user talks to Emily Bell from the Ark

The organisation has been shortlisted in the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards in the Collaboration (Integration) category.

Markel UK is a leading insurer of not-for-profit organisations and an awards ceremony will take place on March 3 at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham.

Now in their ninth year, the awards recognise and reward the hard work, dedication, innovation and excellence of the not-for-profit sector and all those who make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Annie Waddington-Feather, a trustee of the Ark, said: “We are extremely delighted to be a finalist in the Markel Third Sector Care Awards and this is a huge credit to the team, and is a massive achievement for the charity to be recognised on a national level.

“This award recognises ways of working in partnership with other organisations or services, achieving outcomes that would otherwise not have been achieved.

“We were nominated for this category for the collaborative work we do in many areas, but particularly in supporting and improving people’s physical and mental health.

“For whatever reason, people experiencing homelessness or other vulnerable people are intimidated or do not feel comfortable accessing health and care services through usual routes.

“Since we relocated to larger premises, through strategic partnerships and working with a wide variety of health, and mental healthcare specialists and organisations, we can now offer the most vulnerable in our community vital access to appropriate services in a space where they feel respected, safe and secure.

“This includes essential GP services run by Dr Nicola Roberts and team from Riverside Medical Practice, a heptology clinic run in partnership with Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, and through The Hepatitis C Trust.

“Oral health is being improved by a partnership with Healthy Smile team, Oral Health Improvement and Shropshire Community Dental Services, and many are given access to appropriate clinical dental services.

“As well as working with the Shropshire Recovery Partnership team, we offer Intuitive Recovery courses, an accredited abstinence program that gives people the tools to say no to drinks, drugs, or gambling, happily and with confidence.

“Individual trauma intervention sessions are delivered by SALUTE and Axis counselling provides support to survivors of all types of sexual abuse.

“We are also thrilled Shropshire Council invited us to be a part of a multi-disciplinary team to provide substance misuse treatment and support for rough sleepers and people at risk of rough sleeping.

“On a daily basis our team of staff and amazing volunteers provide hot breakfasts and lunches for 30-50 people.

"The showers, washing machines and driers are in constant use; creative activities discover hidden talents while other sessions and activities, such as working in our allotment, teach basic life-skills and support personal development.

“As a charity, we never charge for our services, and rely entirely on grants and donations."

Neil Galjaard, divisional managing director at Markel UK, said: "Every year we hear some fantastic stories about how charities up and down the country are supporting those in need and this year is no different.

“The Shrewsbury Ark was one of the many outstanding entries.

"We are delighted to see them in the shortlist and wish them the best of luck in the final."

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