Just before 9am on a chilly Wednesday in November crowds of people were queuing outside the Clarendon Centre on New England Street, Brighton. We had been planning the Homelessness and Health Conference for almost a year and the event had been fully booked almost since the day bookings opened. Delegates were now checking-in in good spirits, setting down in the huge reception area and helping themselves to a complimentary cup of tea or coffee.
This was the second conference of its type, hosted by Arch Health CIC & The Frontline Network. It is a day designed to inspire, connect and equip people who work in homelessness services with lots of practical information about the health needs of homeless people with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes in this vulnerable community. A total of 134 delegates from over 60 different organisations joined the conference throughout the day, including; GPs, occupational therapists, nurses, support workers, counsellors project workers and the like.
The program included workshops on themes around mental health, physical health and substance misuse as well as opportunities to contribute to the council’s new homelessness strategy and think about self care. Delegates enjoyed input from the Arch team and a wide range of organisations who shared their experience and expertise. Special guest John Conolly, Lead Counsellor from Westminster Homeless Health Service, delivered workshops on ‘Trauma Informed Communication’ and also gave a keynote speech to the whole conference during an afternoon session which also included a Panel Q&A.
This was a free conference sponsored by Arch and the Frontline Network. Delegates also enjoyed a complimentary lunch and refreshments throughout the day which enabled extended networking times and an opportunity for workers from different services to meet each other and build on working relationships as well as meet new colleagues.
The feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive and we have already begun to plan next years conference. Maybe we’ll see you there.