The AT Beacon Project provides health and well-being services to underserved communities. By working with local faith and community leaders – underpinned by the support of our local public health and NHS colleagues – it runs well-being hubs, community events, church outreach programmes, mental health outreach and webinars.
Having launched in Spring 2021 and clinically led, the AT Beacon Project was started by a dedicated team of Christian Medics called Five2Medics, at the Ascension Trust. Ascension Trust, known for pioneering Street Pastors across the UK, has been a trusted voice and part of the tapestry of communities for over 30 years. Les Issacs, its founder, is one of Southwark Cathedral’s Ecumenical Canons.
The Beacon project has established five well-being hubs in churches, a barbershop, a social supermarket, and a Housing Estate unit to reach individuals from vulnerable communities, and those who are otherwise disengaged from health services for many different reasons. The two church hubs are in St Mark, Kennington and St John, Angell Town. It is good that the local church can be involved in helping to provide for the services that their communities need.
The Beacon team delivers basic health checks in tandem with one-to-one discussions to build trust and signpost individuals with health concerns, mental health and social issues. The Trust seeks to reassure communities that the systems in place to look after them should be called upon when needed and the Team also helps to navigate the process.
It is particularly important that the GPs, nurses, and Beacon Health Ambassadors understand the cultural and social complexities of the many communities that they serve. For example, some team members can deliver information in several relevant languages and dialects, such as Yoruba, Igbo and Jamaican Patois. Health surveys have also been translated into Spanish. The goal of the project is to ensure that no one is left behind. Under the Beacon Nurse’s guidance, the team provides a reciprocal link between the community and healthcare services by raising questions and awareness of the concerns on the ground.
The work of these projects will help to ensure that those with mental health and well-being issues are cared for and helped to access the services that they need to be as well as possible in today’s difficult circumstances. Please consider how you can best support these important projects through prayer and through your Lenten giving. Find out more at southwark.anglican.org/lentcall.