The Chief Executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie visited the North East of England this week and spent time with national charity Changing Lives, visiting numerous projects designed to assist vulnerable people in the region.
Though Changing Lives is a national charity, its roots are in the North East and the organisation has been established for over 40 years. The work the charity undertakes is to help and support the most vulnerable and hard to reach people in communities, and people who often have complex and multiple needs. The charity support around 6,000 people every month who struggle with substance misuse, offending behaviour, homelessness and domestic violence.
Selbie went out with the organisation’s CEO Stephen Bell OBE together with the charity’s outreach team, who from 6am search daily the streets and parks of Newcastle searching for rough sleepers and offering support, accommodation and food. Selbie then went onto visit a day centre where clients are offered various levels of practical and emotional support, before he then went on to visit a recovery centre to meet staff and clients who are recovering from addiction. Selbie also heard from the charity about the work that is underway around women’s issues and work in the transforming rehabilitation arena.
Duncan Selbie, CEO of Public Health England commented on his visit saying:
“Public Health England exists to protect and improve the public’s health regardless of people’s circumstances and to address inequalities. Changing Lives are working with the most vulnerable in our society and they make a positive difference to peoples’ every day. Their name, ‘Changing Lives’, is an absolutely accurate reflection of their work. Listening to their views of those with the least about what matters the most to them, it is not surprising that this begins with a roof over their head, enough money to live on and someone to talk to. It was a great privilege to spend time with Changing Lives and meeting some of the homeless people and those in recovery. The charity do a fabulous job.”
Stephen Bell OBE, Chief Executive of Changing Lives comments: “We are very pleased that the work our 380 staff from Changing Lives has been recognised by a visit from Mr Selbie, it was a real boost for our staff to have their work acknowledged. As an organisation, our commitment is to help people with complex needs and issues to regain control of a sustainable, healthier and positive lifestyle. We do this by providing a number of innovative support services which help to engage some of the most disadvantaged people in our society. Uniquely, around 25% of our employees have come through services like ours.
“We showed Mr Selbie a range of our projects and how we assist people in gaining control of their lives and migrating back into the workplace and independent living.”
Changing Lives develops evidence-based approaches to support people to make sustainable changes and build positive futures. The charity runs over 80 projects across England and Wales and supports over 6,000 people every month, of which over 70% are female and 20% are children and young people.
“We hope that Mr Selbie’s visit will help to highlight the issues that many individuals face daily as we work towards increasing awareness on a national level,” concludes Bell.