A group of Czech social workers have been in Leeds to see how agencies in the city work together to help the homeless and vulnerable adults.
The six visitors from Prague and Brno have been learning about projects helping rough sleepers and people with mental health needs by meeting dedicated staff from a range of outreach programmes.
In their home country, all six visitors work with agencies that support communities including the homeless, people with drug dependency, sex workers and other groups.
Projects they visited over three days in Leeds included Leeds City Council’s adult social care Mental Health Homeless Team (MHHT), which helps the homeless find housing and mental health support as well as the council’s Lovell Park base which provides a range of community support services.
The visit also included a look at the work being done by homeless charity St George’s Crypt, the CRI Leeds Street Outreach Team, which supports rough sleepers and beggars and the UK Federation for Detached Youth Work, which helps the city’s vulnerable younger people.
Dennis Holmes, Leeds City Council’s deputy director of adult social care, who met with the visitors, said:
“It’s been a pleasure to welcome colleagues from the Czech Republic and to hear about the work they do.
“Visits like this give us a chance to share the good work we’re doing in Leeds with those who are supporting vulnerable adults in other parts of the world and also gain an invaluable outside perspective on the way we’re helping people living in very difficult circumstances.
“Leeds has some superb partnership work to support the homeless and vulnerable adults, involving a number of different agencies coming together and helping those at risk to improve their lives. We’re very proud to share that work with our visitors this week.”
Hilary Brooks, team leader at St George’s Crypt, added:
“It was great to welcome our visitors to the Crypt and show them how we work to support the homeless.
“During the visit, we were able to show them how we lead clients through the process of getting the help they need and assist them to move on from the Crypt safely.
“As part of the visit, the social workers were also able to spend some time chatting with clients using the service so they could see first-hand the difference we are making to the lives of homeless people in Leeds.”
As part of the visit, the group also saw the work being done at the York Street Health Practice.
The practice provides care to the homeless and vulnerably housed people of Leeds who may also have a range of issues including mental health, alcohol and drug use.
Rehan Majid, a client support worker, at the York Street Practice said:
“We were very pleased to welcome the delegation to the practice to find out more about our work.
“The visit is part of an ongoing relationship we have with community organisations in the Czech Republic, in addition to several European universities, to learn and share practice with one another, in a continued bid to improve the lives of homeless people.”