The Seaview Project based at the Southwater Centre in St Leonards was deemed to have made such an impact on the community it serves that it’s one of only eight national winners of a GSK/Kings Funds Impact Award this year.
Local MP Amber Rudd visited the project last week and met with Annie Whelan, the Chief Officer and members of her staff to find out more about the work it does and to congratulate them on their award.
The GSK/Kings Fund awards are made to voluntary sector organisations which are seen to have had an ‘exceptionally positive impact’ on the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.
Seaview has been providing an open access wellbeing centre since 1985 and is currently the only such facility focused on homelessness and mental health in East Sussex outside Brighton and Hove. Currently Seaview Centre and its activities are funded from a mix of statutory funding, grants and charitable donations, and delivered with an open access approach to people experiencing a range of issues including mental health, learning disabilities, substance misuse, physical disabilities, social isolation, rough sleeping and homelessness. Last year Seaview served the needs of 1,400 people.
Amber said: “Every time I visit Seaview I am always impressed by the many services which the project provides, including hot food and drink; a safe and friendly space where service users can enjoy friendly company and the support of the staff; access to computers; and the services offered by St John Ambulance.
“I’m particularly heartened to know that Seaview rough sleeper workers go out at 4am several times a week to check on the welfare of rough sleepers. The dedication and commitment of Seaview’s staff to service users is truly impressive.”
Annie Whelan said: “We were delighted to receive a visit to our wellbeing centre from our MP. She spent time meeting service users and staff and finding out more about what we do at Seaview.
“Seaview provides a pathway of support for individuals on the edge of society . We reach out to people rough sleeping in Hastings and St Leonards, checking on their welfare and inviting them to link with further support. Within our wellbeing centre we provide laundry, showers, clean clothes, healthy meals, a gym, healthcare and most importantly an opportunity for people to connect with friendship and community.
“As the numbers of people rough sleeping or feeling on the edge have increased year on year, we have had to increase our fundraising to meet the needs. We are determined to continue to provide this integral support locally and responsively. We were very happy to be able to give Amber a tour of our centre and to discuss with her in some detail aspects of our work and our approach.”