Charity Services South East London

Introduction and Organizational Overview

The evaluation undertaken herein is about a homeless charity organization that is located in South East London. For purposes of this paper, I will be referring to the organization as XYZ Club, which is not the real name, for privacy and confidentiality purposes. The XYZ club is a registered homeless charity organization with specializations in provision of a wide range of essential services to vulnerable individuals living with a variety of insurmountable challenges and problems. The area of operation is Lewisham and the larger South East London region. They provide the services to individuals from these areas who are aged 18 years and above.

Founded in Deptford in the year 1992, the XYZ Club has developed into an important charitable organization offering immediate assistance and long term support to susceptible individuals with various problems ranging from; the homeless, the poverty stricken people, those who are isolated and segregated, to those who have been victims of domestic abuse and crime, ex-offenders and even to the people who suffer from various mental health illnesses as well as alcohol and drug addiction. Currently, XYZ Club runs a day center located in Deptford, whereby the various helpless individuals with problems aforementioned come to socialize with others, receive personalized support and advice services, or even see a health practitioner, for instance a nurse, who regularly visits the center.

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Ever since the charity organization was founded, they have subsequently expanded the range of services offered to the homeless people, at the center of Deptford Broadway, where they are currently situated. These services are grouped under the broad program categories of Gateway services, Advice and Support, Employability Support, Learning and Activities, Night Shelter and finally Health and Wellbeing. The organization also covers other people who may not be homeless, but still sleep rough, for instance those who are sofa surfing, those who live in temporary accommodations and the people who are vulnerably housed (Sanghera, 2015).

The Gateway Services center is basically community in which various individuals meet and have significant discussions about life, their goals, and how to reach them. Additionally, the people who have nowhere to live, usually go to the Gateway Center whereby they can have showers in the bathing cubicles, they can do laundry and even eat breakfast. The Advice and Support service entails informing the members and giving advice about important life matters such as managing of personal finances, finding accommodation, and others. For the Learning and Activities, the XYZ Club also offers a variety of lessons and training in contemporary subjects such as Information Technology (IT), drama, poetry and acting, art classes, anger management lessons, cooking and recipe classes among others. As mentioned earlier, a health professional, usually a doctor or a nurse regularly visits the center on specified days. This covers for the Health and Well-being programs. Also, mental health therapists, advisers, podiatrists, and qualified counsellors visit the center during specified days, like first Monday of every month, to directly engage with anyone who needs help. The Night Shelter program covers for the provision of hot dinner meals and basic night accommodations, especially during winter when it is very cold outside. Finally, the Employability Support entails helping subscribers with the job hunting process, by matching them with vacancies, setting them with interviews and overall advising the members the various aspects of employment as well as offering CV support services.

The Gateway Services center is basically community in which various individuals meet and have significant discussions about life, their goals, and how to reach them. Additionally, the people who have nowhere to live, usually go to the Gateway Center whereby they can have showers in the bathing cubicles, they can do laundry and even eat breakfast. The Advice and Support service entails informing the members and giving advice about important life matters such as managing of personal finances, finding accommodation, and others. For the Learning and Activities, the XYZ Club also offers a variety of lessons and training in contemporary subjects such as Information Technology (IT), drama, poetry and acting, art classes, anger management lessons, cooking and recipe classes among others. As mentioned earlier, a health professional, usually a doctor or a nurse regularly visits the center on specified days. This covers for the Health and Well-being programs. Also, mental health therapists, advisers, podiatrists, and qualified counsellors visit the center during specified days, like first Monday of every month, to directly engage with anyone who needs help. The Night Shelter program covers for the provision of hot dinner meals and basic night accommodations, especially during winter when it is very cold outside. Finally, the Employability Support entails helping subscribers with the job hunting process, by matching them with vacancies, setting them with interviews and overall advising the members the various aspects of employment as well as offering CV support services.

Now that I have presented an introduction and overview of all the important processes of the organization, the next sections of the paper will be a critical review and evaluation of these programs, based on the goals and aims of the XYZ Club. This shall then be followed by an analysis of the various organizational aspects such as the hierarchy, the funding sources, the philosophy, and promise (Liu et al., 2014). Finally, an evaluation of the Club’s commitment to privacy and data protection rules and regulations that guide their activities and management of collected personal information is also presented.

Gateway Services

As aforementioned, the gateway center at the XYZ Club offers a variety of essential services to individuals who are vulnerable, particularly the homeless. As with every other city, London in general is faced with a housing problem. Accommodation is very expensive which means that some individuals don’t have access to a decent housing. Statistics show that the number of homeless people is very high in London. Most of these people who are accommodation-wise challenged are forced to find some other options survival which is not suitable for a human (Ray, 2014). For instance some people choose to sleep within street alleys or find other temporary accommodation. This can be evidenced by the number of people who visit the gateway center at Deptford for the gateway services. With this program, the XYZ club has really helped a great deal of individuals in Deptford Broadways and the larger South East London, offering them breakfast, as well as a place to shower and do laundry. The gateway center is open to these people during weekdays. According to the organization’s program, they are meant to open their doors to these people from 9 a.m in the morning to 12 noon, for those who are sleeping rough, while those who need accommodation and housing advice visit the center from 10.30 a.m to noon. However, during the time that I have been there, they usually open a bit later (like 10 minutes or so). As such by the time they open their doors, there is already a group of people, some of who arrived earlier who have to wait outside. XYZ Club should address and find a way of making sure they open at the exact time as specified so they don’t keep these vulnerable waiting outside the gate too long.

The XYZ Club has done well with the Advice and Support service as well. This is evidenced by the number of individuals who stream into the center to find out about various services. The organization has employed experts who go a great deal in giving these people financial advice, finding cheaper and decent housing, income generation among other significant life skills.

The XYZ Club offers every individual who comes into the center with the opportunity to be assisted in looking for employment. The main motive behind this is that, most of the homeless people are caught up in such conditions because they lack proper employment. Thence, by helping people get jobs, they can help them get off the streets (Kun-Hsi Liao and I-Shung Huang 2016). To get this help however, there is a small catch; one has to be legally allowed to work in the UK. There are computers that these people can use to register in various job listing sites, such as the Universal Job match. Further, there is an employability support worker who can to people about their skills, the job that they want, and consequently the job that they can get based on their skills (Sayer, 2011).

Within this area, the XYZ Club is really doing a commendable job. For the time that I was volunteering, there were different workshops to take part in almost every day. This program is meant to help these people learn new skills and build their confidence. Some of the basic skills include reading and writing, learning English and basic computer skills. The courses and workshops are also offered as part of the Employability Support program. XYZ gives people the opportunity to register and take on some nationally recognized qualifications including first aid certificate and food safety. This program has really had a great positive impact for the people who choose to take part in it. Some people have testified how they’ve been able to express their creativity, especially with the art, yoga, gardening and cooking lessons. The club has truly given these people a chance of trying something new and different in a very friendly environment.

Organizational Hierarchy and Funding

Currently, the club has thirteen regular members of staff including a chief executive officer, finance manager, a manager or coordinator for each of their programs, that is, a homeless support manager, an advice and support manager, a gateway center team leader and employability coordinator. Additionally, XYZ has employed other project personnel, such as an overall project worker and the Night Shelter project workers. There are about fifty seasonal volunteers as well. The club is also registered with the Fundraising Regulator. The commitment to best practice has seen them earn the Advice Quality Standard (Ohana et al., 2013).

For funding, the club is part of the Lady Florence Trust which forms the largest part of their financing. There are also other donations and fundraisers done by various institutions such as local schools and businesses, community groups, lottery companies among others. In a bid to extend their services and continue making a big difference to those they help, the organization has received a government funding as well. This is to cover for additional members of staff and some of their projects, such as increasing the night shelters.

More recently, the XYZ Club has secured funding from Comic Relief. Comic Relief Building Stronger Communities (CRBSC) is a community group that funds and gives grants to grassroots charity organizations that help the homeless. The head of fundraising in XYZ Club has announced they won a two year funding from Comic Relief which will serve as vital contribution to their core funding. He further said the grant will help in settling some of their essential costs such as water and electricity bills.

Organizational Philosophy

In their mission statement, the charity’s philosophy is stated as ‘We see people as having not just needs but also goals and capacities’. As such they work hard to ensure that they understand everyone’s goals and the assist them in expanding their capacities and life skills to meet their respective needs. XYZ Club believes that everyone has some untapped potential and the people who seek help, such those sleeping rough, have not been able to develop, use or express their potential fully, due to various challenges. The club therefore helps in identifying their needs and how to go about them.

The club invites anyone who is sleeping rough and qualifies for their programs to come into their gateway to use the various services described. When a person comes in for the first time, they are usually asked a range of questions to help determine the most suitable services. A case manager is then assigned to help the person get the most from the club (Ridder and McCandless, 2010). For instance, is a person is entitled to benefits, they help in application. For more complicated cases that need intensive support, the case manager arranges for a meeting with a person from the Advice and Support program.

The vision of the club is to consistently support the vulnerable people, to assist them in finding the resources within themselves to be able to live independently, be stronger and more resilient. The services provided give these people the opportunity to gain the required confidence, skills, and expertise to transform their lives. XYZ’s commitment is to ensure best practice in a very clear and transparent process.

The XYZ Club has set out rules and regulations in terms of handling of personal information. The organization’s values include treating everyone with dignity and as such they take privacy and protection of information very seriously. They have a clear privacy policy that lets people know the kind of information that they collect their legal obligations to that kind of information and what they might use it for. Further, XYZ has rules that guide the daily activities of the members and staff. Alcohol and any drugs are strictly prohibited within the premises, no smoking is allowed and all guests have to sign an agreement that outlines the house rules. The club also doesn’t tolerate any kind of violent or aggressive behavior. Breaking of rules leads to a ban in which one loses their place in the organization.

In their mission statement, the XYZ Club promises all their stakeholders that they consider privacy and safety in every dimension of their activities and services. Even though matters of privacy as we know are usually complex, XYZ has made theirs as clear and concise as possible (GOV.UK. 2019). As such, the organization aims to achieve their objectives of helping vulnerable people from South East London with various services while at the same ensuring that they operate within the realms of the law.

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Conclusion

The XYZ Club is a reputable charity in Deptford Broadway and South East London as a whole. The organization has several years of experience that has enabled offer the best services to help vulnerable people, especially those who are sleeping rough. The staff is competent enough and they are aware of their professional boundaries. They also ensure privacy and confidentiality of personal information and credentials. With their expansion plans and a few changes here and there especially in terms of time management, they are poised to continue giving their service users opportunities to gain required skills and confidence to transform their lives.

References

  • GOV.UK. (2019). Available [Online] www.gov.uk/data-protection. [Accessed on 24/02/19].
  • Kun-Hsi Liao, I-Shung Huang (2016). Impact of Vision, Strategy, and Human Resource on Nonprofit Organization Service Performance, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences,Volume 224, [Accessed on 24/02/19]
  • Kun-Hsi Liao, I-Shung Huang (2016). Impact of Vision, Strategy, and Human Resource on Nonprofit Organization Service Performance, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences,Volume 224, [Accessed on 24/02/19]
  • M. Ohana, M. Meyer, S. Swaton (2013). Decision-Making in Social Enterprises: Exploring the Link Between Employee Participation and Organizational Commitment. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42 (6) (2013), pp. 1092-1110
  • Ray L., (2014). ‘Shame and the city – ‘looting’, emotions and social structure’, The Sociological Review, 62 (1): 117–136.\
  • H.G. Ridder, A. McCandless (2010). Influences on the Architecture of Human Resource Management in Nonprofit Organizations: An Analytical Framework. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39 (1) (2010), pp. 124-141
  • H.G. Ridder, A. McCandless (2010). Influences on the Architecture of Human Resource Management in Nonprofit Organizations: An Analytical Framework. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39 (1) (2010), pp. 124-141
  • Sanghera B. (2015). Charitable giving and lay morality: understanding sympathy, moral evaluations and social positions. The Sociological review, 64(2), 294-311.
  • Sayer A., (2011). Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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