Project Compass

Following the report on homelessness in 2019, undertaken by Developmentplus, there was a clear need for a service which would fill the gap for rough sleepers.  Those who had been asked to leave hostels, prison leavers without accommodation, newly homeless people who had not yet been found (verified by P3) and rough sleepers who were not engaging in services were the target group.

There was a plan to find a place to meet, somewhere to have breakfast and a hot drink, an opportunity to wash and change, and most importantly, access to workers who could engage, support and signpost this group.

Lincoln Baptist Church already had a community support  group, which mostly worked with the homeless and those in local hostels. It offered a meal once a week and an opportunity to talk. The church was in an excellent position, geographically. It also had a large number of volunteers and a heart for working with those living on the streets.

In March 2019, what is now known as Project Compass, began. In the early days, it was a bowl of cereal, a cup of tea and some basic signposting advice. The numbers grew from 5 or 6 to 20 or 30.

In 2020, Covid meant that there was a review and change in focus and delivery.

Currently, there are 4 paid staff and around 10 volunteers. Breakfast runs from 8am until 9.30 am 5 days a week and guests are able to come inside until 1 o’clock. There are established links with the probation service and the police, the HHH (holistic health for the homeless), mental and physical health nurses, the city intervention team and the council rough sleeper team. Hot meals and clothes are provided and we are a ‘hub’ for rough sleepers, where support to get into housing, addiction and other services is provided.

In 2021 developmentplus worked with a research team from The University of Lincoln to design and conduct a piece of research to provide an evidence base to inform future delivery of Project Compass, our homeless advocacy project here in Lincoln city centre.

The research was undertaken with the overall aim of addressing what was working well, what was not working well and what needed to happen in the future.  They spoke to staff, volunteers, partner agencies, including the City Council, police and health; and many of the rough sleepers that use the Project.

Their findings included;

Project provides a vital lifeline for many people living on the streets throughout the year. It does this through a broad range of responsive activities which meet the needs of each person in a person-centred needs-led manner. Many of the activities are small scale but create a big difference to people. Project Compass has also been central to broader safety, safeguarding and community impacts.’

‘There was very little in the everyday delivery that was not working well and many successes. Project Compass clearly adds value to the delivery of services in Lincoln and there would be a negative impact if the service was to end. With sustainable funding, increased resources and a new venue, there is every indication that the Project will continue to develop and offer enhanced support to people experiencing rough sleeping.’

You can read the full report here;

Project Compass Evaluation Report – October 2021

Lincoln Homelessness Report

Commissioned by the City of Lincoln Council in 2019, the stories and data that have been collated within this report have been both challenging and harrowing at times. It is our hope that this document will help pave the way towards a collaborative solution in supporting those individuals who are most vulnerable and in turn need the most intensive wrap around support there is. Please feel free to get in touch should you have any questions on the report or indeed thoughts and ideas of working collaboratively in the future addressing some of the recommendations.

Click here for the report