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Tags: Fulfilling Lives

Sharing Learning with the Fulfilling Lives Projects

System Broker Diane Allman talks to us about the teams recent visit to the Blackpool Fulfilling Lives project.… 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

Ensuring our customers achieve their financial entitlement with a SAWBA

VOICES courtroom
By Karen Dunn, Specialist Benefits Advisor, Citizens Advice Staffordshire North and Stoke on Trent At VOICES the customer risk assessment process involves giving much consideration to a person’s levels of safety and wellbeing in addition to other risks identified and is termed a Safety and Wellbeing Assessment (SAWBA) in preference to ‘risk assessment’.   Each SAWBA identifies the level of risk to: the emotional well-being physical health of the customer risks associated with their substance misuse, behaviour, offending and homelessness / housing risks from others   The SAWBA also considers the financial capability for each person. These are all highly relevant factors for PIP and ESA claims and can be used to support entitlement and other criteria; for example:  evidence of why a customer is unable to attend an assessment and / or evidence of why a customer is unable to return a completed form in time.  The SAWBA includes information contained within each risk category that provides the reader with valuable context, background and history.  Being able to communicate a ‘bigger picture’ is particularly useful when medical evidence is not available. Once a SAWBA is completed I am able to use the information to prepare for my first meeting with the customer. It provides me with… Continue Reading

Connecting and Learning with Local Organisations

VOICES staffordshire university
*Article originally featured by Staffordshire University, School of Law, Policing and Forensics Written by Sarah Page, Senior Lecturer Sociology & Criminology, Staffordshire University Staffordshire University works in partnership with Expert Citizens C.I.C. and VOICES; a local Big Lottery funded project in the national Fulfilling Lives: supporting people with multiple needs programme. Customers of VOICES experience a combination of homelessness, mental ill-health, substance misuse and offending. Their lives have been seriously affected by events and conditions over a prolonged period and, as a result, may present frequently at emergency health care facilities, drug and alcohol services, homelessness or mental health services. Recently, Anna Mather (VOICES) and Lee Dale (Expert Citizens C.I.C.) joined our Sociology and Criminology undergraduate students to talk through the Solution Focused and Asset Based Approach that they use with customers. Students had the opportunity to learn from customers about their experiences of substance misuse and they found out about services at VOICES and in Stoke-on-Trent that have helped them to significantly change their life. VOICES and expert Citizens C.I.C. use customer stories to help to improve services across the City and to educate people in the issues faced by customers experiencing multiple needs. The group of Sociology and Criminology students – from within the School… Continue Reading

Exciting Opportunity – Join the VOICES team

VOICES team
VOICES is a partnership of voluntary, statutory, and private sector organisations that works to create cultural and systems change in the way that services are delivered for people experiencing a combination of homelessness, addiction, mental ill health and offending. People with multiple needs often encounter difficulties in accessing support and often experience exclusion from services. VOICES supports its partners and relevant agencies in their efforts to engage people with multiple needs and to articulate an authentic and legitimate ‘community voice’ for people with a lived experience of those needs.   Working as part of a vibrant and supportive team we are now recruiting for the following key positions:   1 x Service Coordinator, Salary: £20,971.60 plus benefits.   Working as part of a vibrant and supportive team of System Brokers, Service Coordinators, Community Development Coordinators, Expert Citizens, Students and Volunteers you will be creative and understanding of the needs of customers who are experiencing multiple needs. You will be proactive in developing effective service coordination plans and advocate the case for customer access through the available service systems by encouraging a focus on their strengths and assets as appropriate.   Closing date for the post is Monday 30th April 2018, at 5pm.   Interview date (if shortlisted) for the… Continue Reading

Making Sense of Social Prescribing

VOICES social prescribing
By Steve Barkess, Community Development Coordinator, VOICES This month as a member of the community development team here at VOICES I attended a workshop focusing on social prescribing. For Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire this new approach will look at different and more holistic methods of supporting people who are experiencing mental ill health, loneliness or isolation to replace sometimes unnecessary medical interventions. The concept of social prescribing recognises the various factors that contribute to a person’s overall health. This includes the socio-economic and psycho-social factors of everyday life for people of all ages by utilising what is available within the local community and how this can be accessed. Individuals will be referred to social prescribing by a healthcare professional such as GP, health visitor, or community nurse as an example. The event: The social prescribing event was well attended, which demonstrates the range of public and third sector organisations that have a keen interest of this model of support. To kick start the day we were provided with evidence based presentations of pilots throughout the UK which showed that this model has the capacity to work well not only for patients but also to reduce the pressures on already stretched GP and frontline services.… Continue Reading

From First Impressions through Reflection to Fulfillment

VOICES peer mentoring - Dan
Author: Dan Jones, VOICES Peer Mentor & Expert Citizen A Journey from Volunteering to Higher Education “Am I in the right place?”   “Me…at University?” “OK – I’ll give it a go”   My first day at University These were my first thoughts.  I was at University because I am a volunteer Peer Mentor in the VOICES partnership and had been provided with the opportunity of completing a level 3 Peer Mentoring qualification which meant that I needed to attend university for 6 weeks.  I felt, at first, that I was doing it for VOICES, not for me – ‘a bit of an obligation’.  I thought of the course as being ‘separate’ from my mentoring. I was just an addict who, through some miracle, had gotten clean and could provide some visual recovery to others whilst the professionals did the important work. When I arrived on my first day I was made to feel very much at ease by the two course tutors whom I soon felt comfortable with.  They introduced themselves and began to give an overview of what we would be doing on the course; what we would achieve together; what it was all about. My defences began to come down and I felt… Continue Reading

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