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Brighter Futures, working with local partners, are leading an Inquiry into the experiences of people living with mental ill health in Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire and the services they use.
The findings of the Inquiry will be summarised within a report which will be launched at a day-long conference held on Wednesday 4th June.
The Inquiry is asking people about what it is like to live with mental ill health on a daily basis and also the impact services have on their life.
Gill Brown, Chief Executive of Brighter Futures says: ‘Brighter Futures are pleased to lead this initiative. The Inquiry will give a voice to people living with mental ill health and an opportunity to share their experiences. It will allow those whose voice is seldom heard to ‘speak’ to service commissioners.’
The report will capture people’s experiences and give service providers, commissioners and policy makers a greater insight into the lives of people with mental ill health and help to shape the future of support services.
ENDS | Issued 24th February 2014
Notes to editors: Brighter Futures are working with North Staffs Users Group, Active Carers Forum, North Staffs Combined Healthcare Trust, MIND, Citizens Advice Bureau, North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, North Staffs Users Group, Active Carers Forum, Lifeworks, South Staffs Healthcare NHS Trust and Stoke Expert Citizens on this Inquiry.
Supporting people with multiple needs in Stoke-on-Trent
It was announced today that a partnership of local organisations led by Brighter Futures has been successful in attracting more than £9m from the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives programme. The project, which will be delivered over eight years, will help people with complex and multiple needs in Stoke-on-Trent to recover from crisis and transform the services they use. The project will provide employment for up to 20 people in Stoke-on-Trent and create a wide range of volunteering opportunities.
Providing practical support for at least 360 people, the project will help their journey to recovery from the kinds of crises that living with complex needs can provoke. People with such needs are defined as those with histories of at least two of the following: homelessness, mental health, addiction, or offending.
People with lived experience of multiple needs often become experts in the way front-line services provided by the voluntary, statutory, and private sectors work. These include services in the fields of housing, social care, health and criminal justice. An independent Expert Citizens group, comprised of people with personal experience of living with complex and multiple needs, has helped to lead the development of the project. The project will support a network of Expert Citizens groups to ensure that their voice is heard and that their experiences are used to drive service improvements in all these areas.
The key objectives of the project are as follows:
• Services change to focus on individual pathways from engagement to a fulfilling life, building on the strengths, aspirations and choices of 3 cohorts of 120 people with complex needs
• 360 people with lived experience of multiple needs become acknowledged expert citizens, are trained as peer mentors and lead the design, delivery and evaluation of services
• 360 people lead fulfilling lives, having received support from someone they trust, bringing together what they need and sticking with them for as long as it takes
• Most Stoke services acknowledge the expertise of citizens with experience and its influence on their understanding, culture, systems and practice
• Policymakers, commissioners, services and academics visit Stoke-on-Trent to learn from our experience
Mike Wolfe, Chair of the partnership’s Core Group, said: “This is really good news for the City. For years many of us have tried to help people with complex needs, but our efforts have been hampered by the fact that we have worked in separate organisations and we have done our best without listening to the experience of those whose lives have fallen apart. This partnership will really join up all the help that is available and will ensure that we only do things which our ‘expert citizens’ who know how it feels to be in crisis tell us are effective. Our early achievements demonstrate that a new way of working will result in services that are more person centred, effective and empowering.”
Steve Gratton, Chair of the Expert Citizens group, said: “I’m really optimistic that Fulfilling Lives will help many more people through their recovery and to become Expert Citizens. By listening to people with experience of multiple needs, we hope that services can improve for everyone and that our voice will make a big difference to our City.”
Gill Brown, CEO of Brighter Futures, said: “We’re really excited to be involved in this amazing partnership and project. We want to help people with complex needs to tell their stories and influence a wide range of services to change for the better. We’re hopeful that through these stories, we can also help people to see the huge potential of those with complex needs rather than the stereotypes.”
Gwen Hassall, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for social care, said: “This is excellent news for the city. This exciting project promotes co-operative ways of working, listening to those who have first-hand experiences, and will provide practical support for at least 360 people with complex and multiple needs. We are pleased to be part of this partnership. The project will also provide employment for up to 20 people in Stoke-on-Trent, as well as creating a wide range of volunteering opportunities. It is a great opportunity to involve local ‘expert citizens’, to share their experiences and to ensure their voice is heard by those delivering commissioning and designing front line services.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Fulfilling Lives project
The media is invited to an informal event to celebrate the announcement of the partnership’s success in bidding for the Big Lottery Fund. Members of the partnership and Expert Citizens group will be available for interviews and/or photographs. There will be a short signing ceremony to mark the beginning of the process to sign the formal partnership agreement.
The details of the event are as follows:
1pm – 2pm, 12th February 2014, Brighter Futures Academy, Whittle Court, ST1 2QE
The initial Stoke-on-Trent partnership includes:
Stoke Expert Citizens
North Staffs Mind
North Staffordshire YMCA
Staffordshire Housing Association
Staffordshire Probation Service
Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice Bureau
Stoke-on-Trent City Council
For more information contact:
The Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 we have awarded close to £6bn.
The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
Independent evaluators, working on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund, will evaluate the outcomes of the project throughout the eight years.
For more information contact:
Big Lottery Fund
0161 261 4615
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