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Tags: multiple needs

Association of Charitable Foundations event

VOICES ACF article
By Andy Meakin, Director, VOICES   We were delighted to welcome colleagues from the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), Homeless Link, and the National Lottery Community Fund to Federation House at the end of March to discuss the relationship between homelessness and criminal justice. VOICES pulled together examples from across the Fulfilling Lives partnership of what works well in these contexts for our customers based on our learning. We summarised these in to five key approaches:   Service coordination / navigation An assertive case worker and advocate to offer immediate help working from a strengths-based perspective.  Someone to guide and engage people in the services that they need.  A determined and persistent worker that focuses on solutions.  Navigators steer people to and through services (and vice versa), assist people to overcome practical barriers using a personal budget, and compile a multi-agency plan to move towards people’s aspirations. Multi-disciplinary working People with complex needs often face multiple exclusion from services.  This leads to situations where people may feel or become ‘stuck’ outside of the system.  Multidisciplinary working allows professionals involved to take a solution focused approach.  This will often necessitate dealing with exceptions through compromise and sharing identified manageable risks. Trauma informed care People that have been through harrowing… Continue Reading

A Model of Specialist Welfare Advice and Advocacy at VOICES

VOICES CAB report
VOICES Stoke-on-Trent seeks to empower people with multiple needs such as mental ill-health, substance misuse and homelessness to change their lives and to influence services. The programme is aimed at testing alternative approaches to supporting people with multiple needs through casework and assertive advocacy to help people access services, with Service Coordination being at the core of the programme.   A Citizens Advice (CA) adviser in work and benefits from Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent (CASNS) is funded by VOICES and embedded full time in the VOICES team. This report presents the findings of a small-scale independent evaluation of this model of  providing benefits advice to people with multiple needs. The findings are based on analysis of monitoring data, case studies and interviews with the CA Adviser, a VOICES Service Coordinator and the VOICES Director.     To find out more about how VOICES and Citizens Advice North and Stoke-on-Trent are working together and how this impacts on the support we are able to provide click here and read the full report.… Continue Reading

Small change to system change in Stoke-on-Trent

VOICES small change to system change
Lee Dale – Expert Citizens C.I.C. Mandy Jago – Volunteer VOICES and Expert Citizens C.I.C. Board Member Sharon Sharman – Learning and Evaluation Manager VOICES   A Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) “…is one that takes into account the psychological makeup – the thinking, emotions, personalities and past experience – of it’s participants in the way that it operates” (Robin Johnson http://pielink.net/ 2012).   Many of the customers homeless services work with may seem to have difficulty managing their emotions, can appear impulsive and may not consider the consequences of their actions.  They may also appear to be withdrawn, isolated and seemingly reluctant to engage with support and / or exhibit anti-social type behaviours.  The purpose of PIE is to help staff understand where these behaviours are coming from and, therefore, work more creatively and effectively with people. (adapted from Psychologically Informed Environments; Westminster City Council 2015)   How can we create a psychologically safe environment in our Emergency Department for people who have experienced multiple emotional traumas and are experiencing homelessness?   This conversation started some time ago with Julie Norton, an Accident and Emergency (A and E) consultant from the Royal Stoke University Hospital.  Julie had approached VOICES to seek ways of supporting departmental staff in developing best practice to support… Continue Reading

Making the case for systems change

VOICES change the system
Dean Spruce, Communications and Media Coordinstor, VOICES In my role for VOICES the term and the concept of ‘systems change’ is never far from the front of my mind. Having previously worked in a number of support based roles within the sector (rough sleeper outreach, homeless hostel and tenancy support officer within a housing team) the list of things I perceived could be changed for the better was quite a long one when I arrived in my current post. Making the transition from front line operations to an office based role was quite a culture shock however, and did require adjustments on my part, in both my thinking and in my approach. Discussions relating to ‘the system’ and ‘how we can change it’ were increasingly seeming more abstract to me, often being approached from a much wider angle than conversations I’ve previously had on the front line, and leaned more towards the political than the practical I’d previously been used to. What is ‘the system?’ Where does it begin and end? Is there one, or are there many? Which parts need to change? Which parts can we change? Who do we need to influence to affect these changes? How do we talk about… Continue Reading

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