We chose to engage informally, through attending a drop in session, and we chose to focus on this specific group of people, as they are particularly vulnerable and never more so on discharge from hospital.
This method of engagement enhances the ability of this hard to reach group to engage more effectively than a more formal survey. Added to this, they are also a group in society who are hidden, whose voice is seldom heard and who are often excluded from more formal methods of engagement.
The homeless centre, based in Weston super Mare, is run as a charity, receives no statutory funding and relies entirely on donations, in a large part from local churches.
It is open during the day, serves free hot drinks and a two course cooked meal each day it is open, and offers some facilities such as showers, a clothes bank, a head massage therapist and a space for people to talk and be listened to in confidence. They can also issue food bank vouchers.
The organisation makes referrals to other voluntary sector groups in the area, for example those who deal with substance misuse and deposit guarantees to help people into rented accommodation.