30 October 2018
2018 Charity Award Winners: Cathedral Archer Project
It is 2 degrees in Sheffield today as we put on our warm coats to go and visit the Cathedral Archer Project in Sheffield. A stark reminder of how fortunate we are as some of the people we are about to see have slept outside last night in the freezing temperatures and are now also heading to the same place as us to find warmth, a good breakfast and a warm welcome. We are greeted at a busy reception by Tracy and Emily who are to show us around the building and to let us see how and where the Sheffield Mutual Charity Award will be spent. Our members and members of the public voted the Cathedral Archer Project in first place for this year’s Charity Award, earning them a donation of £5,000.
We then move in to the communal area where we see a seating area and there is tea and coffee which is provided by the project for vulnerable and homeless people to help themselves to. There was a group of around fifteen people who were making use of these facilities. Moving into the next space there is a dining area and kitchen where the volunteers and chef prepare hot meals. Some of the staff in the kitchen are now employed by the project after finding their feet and some much needed confidence through attending the project in years gone by.
Also available is a medical room, which we were not able to go into as the doctor had a patient in with him. There is no appointment system in place here, people can just ask to see a medical professional which could be a doctor, dentist or even sometimes a chiropodist and then wait until the room is free.
There was also a room which contains guitars which again was occupied as a session was in place.
The centre is rarely quiet. Yoga, art, and photography classes are some of the courses available which are beneficial as they create confidence and build self-esteem. They also offer a range of social activities in a safe and warm environment.
As their confidence grows and their lives become more stable, they can move on from using the facilities to volunteering and helping new attendees and eventually sometimes moving into employment as they put their new found skills and confidence into practise.
The project centre is actually linked to the Cathedral and there are a number of artifacts within the centre as you approach the entrance to the Cathedral.
One of the things that made me realise how important the Cathedral Archer project is was something that Tracy said to us when we first arrived. She was saying that people who first attend look on life as ‘today’, every day is just ‘today’, but after a while when their confidence starts to grow and they see that there is a future and things to look forward to, they start to refer to tomorrow, which is a huge step and helps people realise that things can get better and their lives can move on.
Tracy also told us a number of success stories one of which in particular sticks in my mind...
'When MW, first came to the Cathedral Archer Project he had just split with his girlfriend, lost his job and his home. He was drinking very heavily, had no confidence and didn’t like himself very much.
MW was asked if he would like to volunteer and he was so happy he had been asked to help. He first started helping with groups and one was with learning how to play the guitar. In this time MW’s confidence was growing , so then went on to volunteer in the kitchen. This is his role now and has become a valued part of the team, he has come into his own; he is always laughing and joking with the other volunteers and some of the guys that use the centre. During this period MW has been supported to gain his own accommodation and applied for some jobs. He has recently been offered a position in the NHS in Sheffield.'
This project is truly not only life-changing but life-saving too.
To give you an idea on how the money will be used, Tracy said it will have supported MW to have food and one to one time with a project worker. It will have paid for his training to be a volunteer and for the support time of the Kitchen manager and his training in the kitchen. It will also have helped us provide the food he prepares every day for his peer group to help them take similar steps.
There is so much more to this charity, find out more about the Cathedral Archer Project and how you can help here: http://www.archerproject.org.uk