A Brighton homeless service has been handed a grant of £15,800 to help expand its outreach services for homeless people in the city.
The cash will enable the Brighton Homeless Service to employ a podiatrist and purchase special equipment to meet the needs of homeless people in the Brighton and Hove area.
St John Ambulance’s Brighton Homeless Service received the money from People’s Postcode Trust, which is funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The service provides nurse-led health care, podiatry and first aid to homeless and vulnerably housed people through its outreach drop-in clinics.
The new podiatry clinic, held every Thursday at the First Base Day Centre, will aim to alleviate painful foot conditions.
The charity said people experiencing homelessness are often out and about for long periods of time, sometimes in ill-fitting shoes and worn-out socks. Foot problems are usually the result of inadequate footwear, prolonged exposure to moisture, long periods of walking and standing, and repetitive minor trauma.
Markie Barratt, Sussex homeless service manager, said: “We’re extremely grateful for the grant from People’s Postcode Trust. Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable in our local community. Poor health and foot problems are a big issue, and our outreach clinics prove to be invaluable for the homeless to access.
“Being out in all weathers makes it difficult to maintain good foot hygiene; they may be on their feet for long periods of time, and may not have a change of socks. Problems commonly encountered include blisters, calluses, long nails, fungal skin infections and very often pitting keratolysis due to prolonged wet conditions as well as wounds. Rain, in particular, affects homeless people long after it stops, as there is nowhere for them to dry shoes and socks, and thus wet footwear stays on resulting in foot conditions, which are often infected and malodourous.”
For more information about the work of St John Ambulance go to www.sja.org.uk