Project Compass is developmentplus’ project that supports people sleeping rough in Lincoln. Currently based in the heart of the City at Lincoln Baptist Church, the project advocates for those unable to directly access the invaluable support available to them on their own. The support available includes the City of Lincoln Council’s rough sleeping team; mental and physical health support services; addiction services; The Probation Service; benefits providers and family.
As most people that attend Project Compass have no means of being contacted, they also rely on the team as a messaging service, relaying appointments and maintaining engagement.
Project Compass also provides food and drink, washing facilities, clothing, and phone charging. As well as offering a safe place to shelter, rest, and interact with services.
People with no access to accommodation and therefore sleeping rough has continued to be a significant issue in England and in 2018 developmentplus was commissioned by the City of Lincoln Council to undertake research on homelessness in the City. The report identified a clear need to better support people in a way that did not duplicate the amazing work already being delivered by partner organisations. As a direct response, Project Compass was set up in 2019. Since then the project has been funded through contributions from Comic Relief, Arnold Clarke Community Fund, The Albert Hunt Trust and a Lincolnshire Emergency Grant. At the beginning of 2021, the project also received funding from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)’s Winter Pressure Fund to support delivery costs through the cold weather.
The project continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when many other services decreased or stopped their face-to-face delivery. The team were able to provide information about keeping safe including the lockdown rules and regulations. They also supported the delivery of a Covid-19 vaccination clinic specifically for people who were homeless, as well as a recent booster clinic.
In 2021, a research team at the University of Lincoln undertook an extensive evaluation of the project including interviewing staff, volunteers, partner agencies (including health, housing and the criminal justice service) and those people directly supported by Project Compass. During a nine week period the following activity data was collated to show the number of occasions support was provided;
105 people used the service
270 food and drinks
163 takeaway food
136 clothing, sleeping bags and toiletries
23 housing support
51 other agencies support
72 health support
32 food bank referrals/vouchers
Feedback from people using the project
“If it wasn’t for this place. I’d still be sat in a tent. Which, yeah, it was these guys that actually helped me. Yeah. 100%. I went into a mental health unit. I’ve been in hospital. They helped me all the way through it…[staff] was 100% support when I was in hospital. She was like my mom and she was ringing making sure I was ok and that”
“If it wasn’t for [staff], I wouldn’t be. They wouldn’t have got me where I am today, not a chance”
“It is a hub to help people like me … kept me alive … if it weren’t for them I would be dead”
“Being an alcoholic as well I am reliant on alcohol, I drink more than I eat. This place reminds me to eat more, little things like that to keep me alive”
Overall the evaluation concluded that Project Compass added value to the delivery of services to those sleeping rough in Lincoln and there would be a negative impact if the service was to end. Using the evaluation, Lynsey Collinson, CEO, and the Project Compass team, worked hard to seek long term funding. In early 2022, the project was awarded combined funds of £180,000 from the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington and The Tudor Trust to continue this invaluable work over the next three years. His money will also enable a study to be undertaken to explore different sites for a possible future move, and a team from the University of Lincoln will be supporting this work.
With the new funding beginning in April, the team have been busy preparing and have made some changes to the service they provide. From Monday 4 April 2022, Project Compass will be open 9.00am until 3.00pm, Monday to Friday with a self-service breakfast of toast and hot drinks. During this time the team will be on hand to provide advice and support, along with the opportunity for a friendly chat.
The Project Compass team can be contacted at;
Address: Lincoln Baptist Church, Croft Street, Lincoln LN2 5AX
Becky Frost, Lead Development Worker
Libby Liberty, Development Worker
Sue Oliver, Development Worker