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Catching Lives saw 22 per cent increase in need for services in 2023 

Catching Lives Canterbury garden
The Catching Lives day centre garden in sunny weather

Visits to Catching Lives increased by 22 per cent to 11,040 in 2023, according to new figures. Catching Lives saw 291 new clients in 2023, a 33 per cent increase on the previous year. In 2023, we helped a total of 502 clients at the Centre, which was a three per cent increase on 2022. We served 12,238 meals, a 54 per cent increase on the previous year. 

Tasmin Maitland, Chief Executive of Catching Lives, said: “We are already seeing a much higher number of people in the first half of 2024. This reflects the growing need for our services as small charities are left to fill the gaps left by cuts to local funding and pressure on public services. 

“The Catching Lives Day Centre is open every single day of the year offering essential facilities and 1-1 support to people experiencing homelessness and insecure housing. The fact that so many people are relying on our services and that need is increasing is a pressing issue, especially as we approach a General Election. We are calling on the next government to commit to ending homelessness.” 

These figures relate to our Day Centre drop-in every day between 9am and 2pm. Our services include breakfast and lunch, computer use, phone use, device charging, clothing, laundry and showers. Clients receive 1-1 support with our project workers and mental health specialist. We also supported people beyond the day centre, such as through email or phone support, or via outreach and tenancy sustainment work.    

In the afternoons, we ran various structured activities for clients throughout the year. These included creative arts, gardening, days out, cooking activities, games and competitions and yoga.  

In 2023, we had 80 kitchen volunteers who completed shifts with us and 40 people volunteering in our bookshop in Palace Street, which raises significant income for our charity.  

Other key figures from 2023 

  • We supplied household goods such as furniture, kitchen items and curtains to clients 36 times.    
  • We provided access to 109 food parcels to 61 different individuals (either through a voucher to Canterbury Foodbank or through parcels put together from our donations). This helps clients deal with a short-term difficulty and often signposting and referrals for longer-term solutions to their situations are completed at the same time.    
  • 64 per cent of our clients were male, 32 per cent female and 4 per cent non-binary 
  • The average age of our clients is 50 

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