• Referral is made by a local employee, via

  • Our team react to the referral on their next street shift. They meet a young woman begging. She has no shoes and is avoiding eye contact. She does not want to talk to us.


  • We continue to approach the woman. We bring food and drink and continue to introduce ourselves and to establish rapport.

  • We eventually establish a rapport. The woman tells us her name - Kelly - and asks to be visited by a female outreach worker. We discover she is on the streets after running away from a violent partner. She has health problems and is dependent on alcohol.

  • We address her health needs by bringing nurses from the NHS out on shift with us. We also offer harm minimisation advice and introduce Kelly to our partners at Turning Point, as well as a specialist domestic violence support worker. Kelly begins to trust us more.


  • We are then unable to locate Kelly for a few weeks. We are worried as she is vulnerable.

  • We re-establish contact with Kelly again. We give her a mobile phone. She can now call us if she feels unsafe or needs support, which makes her less vulnerable.


  • We continue to build the relationship, and Kelly decides that she would like to access accommodation - we refer her into our overnight Emergency Accommodation.

  • From there, we are able to make a referral into a hostel. This is supported accommodation suited to Kelly's needs.

  • Kelly finds it difficult to adjust to her new accommodation. She falls back on old coping mechanisms. Eventually, she is evicted for drinking and anti-social behaviour.


  • Kelly starts rough sleeping again and disengages from support services. She suffers regular seizures due to alcohol and is hospitalised on several occasions.

  • The team persists by meeting her on the street and working at her pace. They once again offer food, drink and other basic items, harm minimisation advice, and access to health care.

  • When Kelly decides that she would like to access accommodation again, we are ready with a suitable offer. We support her into a B&B with the use of the team's Personalised Budgets.


  • Kelly's health improves and her drinking decreases. Kelly attends more appointment and accesses support services again.


  • Kelly reapplies for her hostel bed and is accepted. She settles in well this time, and regularly attends more groups at The Connection such as the Art Room.


  • Kelly becomes more independent and is put forward for longer-term accommodation - which leads to her own flat.

    She still visits The Connection to meet her friends and take part in the groups that she enjoys. She even starts volunteering at the centre. She wants to "give back" and help other people to recover as she has done.


  • £6,000 support for an episode of mental ill health
    £7,000 treatment of Tuberculosis (TB)
    £24,000 cost associated with serious wounding, as a result of assault, to both health and criminal justice services

    The dangers of the above examples are all too real for individuals who are sleeping rough. The longer a person remains isolated, without appropriate support, the more likely they are to occur.

    As you can see from Kelly's story, The Connection at St Martin's makes life-saving interventions leading to recovery and a much brighter future.