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 1999, 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.