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In January 2017, St John Ambulance received a £15,800 grant from the People’s Postcode Trust to help expand its Brighton Homeless Service.

Our Homeless Service provides health care, podiatry and first aid to homeless and vulnerably-housed people in the Brighton and Hove area. We'll use the grant to employ a podiatrist and to buy specialist equipment.

New podiatry clinic

The new podiatry clinic runs every Thursday at the First Base Day Centre. It aims to treat painful foot conditions, often experienced by homeless people. These are caused by poor footwear, prolonged exposure to moisture, long periods of walking and standing, and repetitive minor trauma.

St John Ambulance Brighton Homeless Service volunteers

‘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 are invaluable for homeless people.’

- Markie Barratt, Sussex Homeless Service Manager

Thanks to the grant, we are able to continue to support people like James.

James was recently made homeless. He came into the podiatry clinic after a night sleeping in heavy rain. He complained of a painful toe which had an infected ulcer. The ulcer was caused by the pressure from his ill-fitting shoes, poor living conditions and reduced sensation in his feet. After his toe was cleaned and dressed, he agreed to return to the clinic every week to have his wound redressed until it healed. We were also able to provide a pair of better fitting shoes thanks to the People's Postcode Trust. Without any medical attention, he might have ended up with a bone infection, sepsis or a foot amputation.

From May to July 2017, the clinic has been used by a total of 61 clients. 69% of those were sleeping rough. 23% were in hostels and temporary or emergency accommodation.

Learn more about the St John Ambulance Homeless Service.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity.