A TOP nurse made a special visit to spend time with colleagues who have helped homeless people across Colchester during the pandemic.

NHS chief nurse Ruth May, who is from Colchester, visited the clinic at Beacon House to learn about the work they do.

During her time there she met and spoke with Michelle Wilkinson and Hannah Mulvey about their job supporting people in the town.

Mrs May was visiting as part of a collaboration with community nursing charity the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

Both Michelle and Hannah were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Nurse title back in 2016 for their work at Beacon House.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak the charity had had to adapt how it supports homeless people across the town.

Michelle said: “It has been unique and we have had to triage patients through a window.

“We did a lot of outreach at the beginning and we have offered a 24 hour call line to all our homeless patients.

“Ruth came to look around and see how we had managed work with the homeless patients during Covid.

“It can sometimes feel quite isolated as a homeless nurse as we are in pockets around the country.

“To have her come down and recognise us was absolutely uplifting. It was a real boost after Covid.”

And Michelle said Ruth was keen to use her visit to help nurses of the future.

She added: “She was really keen for student nurses to have experience of working with the homeless when doing their training.

“She was also keen to see if we could find some of our patients who have had success and moving forward see if we could get them into work with the NHS.

“It would be taking someone from the streets and following their journey with Beacon House - helping with job searching, CV writing, drug and alcohol addiction - into achieving a job with the NHS.”

Beacon House is regularly in need of donated items to keep running its services.

To help visit www.facebook.com/BeaconHouseColchester/.