Charity partner highly commended in awards

Providing life-saving and life-changing access to doctors and dentists has led to a charity partner being highly commended in a national award.

The Lantern Trust helps rough sleepers with health provision and assists residents unwilling to attend medical appointments, in addition to helping with housing solutions.

The Trust’s work to rectify health inequalities has been judged to be in the top 20 charities in the country when pitted against hundreds of others.

The judges said: “To be one of only 20 shortlisted organisations is recognition of The Lantern Trust’s important work…and is an enormous achievement.

“The GSK IMPACT Awards have been running since 1997, with over 350 applications each year from national and local charities, all of which demonstrate an impressive commitment to the health and wellbeing of their communities.”

Dorset Council contributes partner funding to The Lantern Trust, based in Ranelagh Road, Weymouth, to provide services in the town.

(l-r) Mike Graham, CEO at Lantern Trust, Andrew Billany, Director for Housing at Dorset Council and Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Portfolio holder for housing stood together for a picture
(l-r) Mike Graham, CEO at Lantern Trust, Andrew Billany, Director for Housing at Dorset Council and Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Portfolio holder for housing.

Chief Executive Officer of The Lantern Trust, Mike Graham, said the charity assists rough sleepers, those on the verge of losing their homes and people mistrustful of traditional authority figures. With services delivered where the individual feels the most comfortable, engagement is high.

One man who felt unwell visited the charity instead of a medical practice. On-site healthcare staff used an ECG machine to ascertain he was having a heart attack and he agreed to go to hospital.  He has since made a good recovery.

Mr Graham said: “The work of The Lantern Trust can only happen with the secure source funding available from Dorset Council.

“It means we work with people who do not traditionally trust officials like people in health care or the council due to various trauma which they may have experienced in their lives.

“All our services work in a personal centred way for all areas of someone’s life.

“We provide physical, dental and mental health care, access to housing officers, benefits support and dedicated support workers which helps people and stops them getting to a crisis point in their lives and using critical services like the police and hospitals.

“We build trust and lasting relationships with people to prevent more serious issues and can intervene and offer assistance and help before problems become too big.

“We talk to landlords if residents tell us they are slipping into rent arrears so we can act quickly before situations become out of control and leads to bigger issues.”

Councillor Graham Carr-Jones, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said The Lantern Trust is a service committed to helping some of the most vulnerable.

He said: “It is so good a charity which started so simply and has grown to include services they recognise people need, has been honoured in such a way.

“Although people maybe wouldn’t speak to the council or a housing officer, by having a representative in their building they feel comfortable in, we are able to work with them and find solutions to their issues.”

Mr Graham and the Trust’s Chairman Ian Walton will attend an awards ceremony at the Science Museum in London as guests of GSK Impact Awards, at the end of the month.

The work with the Lantern Trust is part of the council’s A Better Life strategy where the right range of housing options are available, which includes homelessness accommodation, care homes, supported living affordable homes to buy and rent.

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