Scarf Your Better Self project report.

Whenever reporting a project, one should always start with a thank you to The National Lottery Community Fund for funding our Scarf Your Better Self project. thanks to their support, we were able to help hundreds of migrants in Worcestershire, vastly improve our skills and amount of people we cooperate with, as well as have a much better understanding of the needs of our community. 
Throughout that project Yellow Scarf has grown significantly. Not only have we overdelivered the project aims by a large margin, but we have also enhanced our professional capacity and learned a great deal about our community in the process. Even after having to work through the Covid-19 pandemic, we have managed to adapt and overcome the barriers for support, which resulted in the community recognising us as the number one mental health services provider in Midlands for Eastern Europeans.
 

Delivery numbers

Throughout 3 years of 2019-2022, we have helped over 3000 beneficiaries.
1132 people have attended our support groups, and 74% of them have remained sober for more than 6 months after attending the group.
An additional 1300+ people have received support with life struggles, securing better employment opportunities, improving their English, finding new hobbies, and enriching their lives significantly.
Over 800 people participated in our online workshops and events, focused on understanding emotions, personal communication and managing their mental wellbeing.
Also, we have provided over 3000 hours of 1:1 dedicated support through our therapists and facilitators.
 

COVID-19

Just a year after our program launch, when we’ve just managed to launch our full capacity and we were looking to establish new groups, the world got hit by the deadliest pandemic since the beginning of the XXth century. 
Considering how vast of a negative impact would it have on our beneficiaries, we understood that we absolutely cannot stop providing our support to people in need during these crucial times. As such, all our groups moved on to online delivery – that was particularly difficult, as majority of them were not technologically astute, which required a lot of time showing people around and helping them learn on how to connect. Luckily, not only our volunteers and facilitators stepped up to the challenge, but people in support groups have also supported each other significantly – which allowed them to switch to the new method of delivery efficiently.
To summarize, instead of suspending our services for the time of the pandemic, we have noticed quite a spike in service delivery. From the initial 100+ people that have joint us for substance misuse support, we have also noticed over 600 new beneficiaries enlisting for emotions-handling and mental wellbeing groups to get them through the pandemic safely.
 

Events

During our project’s duration, we have organized 44 events for our group’s participants. They were not massive in size but were aimed at strengthening the bonds people in each group have. Apart from occasional sports and hiking meetings, we have of course kept up with the tradition of Christmas Eve’s meeting for everyone, New Year’s Forest walks, as well as arts meeting, musical sessions for everyone, dancing, and body classes. 
Our physical activity encouragement has also resulted in plenty of beneficiaries stepping up and organizing themselves outside of our scope, with plenty of gym groups, cycling groups, hiking buddies and tourists visiting different places. As such, the hidden benefit of events was not only getting our beneficiaries to feel better, but also- establishing plenty of friendships along the way.
 
Development
One of the biggest benefits for our Charity, and something we can only sincerely thank the Lottery for, was the opportunity for our staff to develop and deliver better support for everyone.
Our CEO, Rafal, has managed to finish his training, becoming a level 5, certified psychotherapist. 
We have finished our registration with Addiction professionals and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, greatly improving our working standards and giving us access to professional knowledge necessary to step up with professionalism of delivery.
Finally, the number of facilitators on Board has increased to a total of 8, greatly improving our basic capacity. Of these 8 people, 4 of them are willing to develop further towards becoming psychotherapists, and new beneficiaries are inquiring about becoming a facilitator every week. 
 

What have we learned?

The project was not only a great improvement in terms of delivery numbers and personal development, but we have learned a great deal about the needs of our Community as well. We now have a much better understanding of how substance misuse connects to other issues and how it affects the people who are the closest to our beneficiaries, which allows us to offer much more targeted and effective help to everyone. 
We have also enhanced our Community Services scope by partnering with number of different organisations, such as Migrant Support Centre, ASIRT Birmingham, Transition Worcester etc. 
 
On behalf of all of our team, we would like to sincerely thank the National Lottery for this opportunity. We absolutely could not have done it without them!

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