Earlier this month we said goodbye to our Manager Wendy Faulkner, who has guided us through three years of unparalleled change and unprecedented challenges at the Shrewsbury Ark.
Joining in July 2019 as a full-time volunteer coordinator, Wendy quickly became an integral part of the Ark team, recruiting, interviewing, supervising and training our 50 plus Queens Award for Voluntary Service volunteers.
Recognising her skills and talents, the charity shortly after promoted Wendy to deputy manager and interim manager in October 2019.
Just ahead of the start of the global pandemic, in January 2020, Wendy was promoted to Manager, whereupon she had what can only be described as a ‘baptism of fire’.
Steering the Ark through unprecedented times
As the COVID19 pandemic hit, and restrictions were enforced in March 2020, Wendy rose to the challenge of ensuring the most vulnerable in our community continued to be supported in that unprecedented time; she implemented safe working practices, coordinated care and support, and was key in the implementation of the council’s “everyone in” scheme, ensuring those experiencing rough sleeping were safely accommodated.
Under Wendy’s unwavering leadership, the Ark remained a vital lifeline for well over a hundred people in this period, and with the support of Council, it helped 10 people move into a new home in 2020.
Supporting our clients, and staff and volunteer team throughout the pandemic was a mammoth responsibility, and one that Wendy tackled with characteristic good humour and complete dedication, often at the expense of her personal life.
Taking the charity into a new era
As the COVID restrictions lifted, and the opportunity of a new home for the charity arose, Wendy’s next major challenge was to move the Ark’s Day Centre to 32 Castle Foregate.
This was a massive undertaking, as the former Rock and Fountain pub required a complete refurb.
Again, Wendy rose to the challenge, coordinating teams of tradesmen and volunteers ensuring the refurb and upgrade met all the latest building regulations and other OHS requirements. In just a few months, we were able to move into our new home in February 2022, and the new premises were officially opened in June 2022.
Capitalising on the building’s increased space, and together with her deep commitment to supporting the people who use our services, Wendy increased the services delivered from the Ark by quickly establishing a range of essential and vital health and mental health care partnerships.
As well as continuing our partnership with Riverside Medical Practice so people have access to regular GP clinics, new partners Wendy bought on board include counsellors, mental health practitioners, oral health teams, substance misuse teams, and hepatitis nurses. By establishing these partnerships, she has greatly reduced the inequalities people who are experiencing homelessness often face when accessing health services.
Wendy also played a significant part in developing the recently announced Shropshire Council’s multi-agency team, which will provide holistic wrap-around support and drug and alcohol treatment for rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping across the county. This partnership with Shropshire Council and the other organisations, some of which we already work with, will add to the services we already host in the Ark.
Quite simply, in her role of Ark Manager, Wendy dedicated herself to supporting and giving opportunity to vulnerable people, going above and beyond the call of duty, and constantly delivering way above expectations.
From spearheading major new partnerships to cleaning the toilets, Wendy gave us her all; crucially, as well as welcoming the people who came through our doors and ensuring they had life’s basics and were cared for, she has created new support services and other opportunities to support people to move forward with their lives.
Thank you and good luck!
Whilst she will be greatly missed, we are delighted Wendy has an exciting new position in a completely different sector.
Thank you Wendy for leading us through some incredibly challenging times, your tireless hard work and unconditional dedication to help and support the community’s vulnerable.
We wish you all the best in your new role.