Cyrenians is an independent Scottish Charity which was founded from a deep concern for people who felt as though they were on the outside of society and thought that they had no way back in. The charity was formed in 1968 by local people out of concern for the evident problem of homelessness in Scotland’s capital city. Cyrenians’ vision is of an inclusive society where all have the opportunities to live valued and fulfilling lives.

Today, Cyrenians has over 24 different services designed to support people excluded from family, home, work or community on their life journey; their work has also spread out of Edinburgh city to East and West Lothian and Falkirk.

Lankelly Chase funds Cyrenians’ Changing Lives Service to provide flexible, self-directed support for people with a history of repeated contact with crisis services, especially in the homelessness and substance misuse sectors.  Clients receive individualised, one-to-one support – including a unique mix of ‘talking therapies’ and personal budgets for people to use on the support they really want – the approach is based on the belief that when clients are able to determine their own goals and outcomes, they are more likely to achieve them.

This Changing Lives project is being independently evaluated in real time to gain as much learning as possible as the work is undertaken, and to examine its impact on issues such as financial management, engagement in employment, education and training, health, wellbeing and relationships. The evaluation also includes analysis of how a focus on assets, capabilities and aspirations (rather than just problems and deficits) can benefit people facing severe and multiple disadvantage, and what lessons the wider homelessness sector can learn from the programme of self-directed support.

Previously, Lankelly Chase supported Changing Lives’ development of a social enterprise which engaged homeless people in renovating old church pews into bespoke furniture.

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