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NEW RESEARCH REVEALS STOKE FACES ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES OF SEVERE AND MULTIPLE DISADVANTAGE IN ENGLAND
Gill Brown, Chief Executive of Brighter Futures and two members of VOICES Expert Citizens group are off to the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 17th March to talk to the all Parliamentary Group about complex needs and dual diagnosis. They are joining LankellyChase Foundation who have recently released the most extensive research to date on severe and multiple disadvantage in England.
The research reveals that Stoke has one of the largest numbers of people facing severe and multiple disadvantage in England. Stoke has over twice the number of people experiencing this type of disadvantage than the national average, making it the ninth most affected local authority in England.
The research draws together previously separate datasets covering homelessness, offending and substance misuse. It also takes into account available data around mental health and poverty. It delivers the latest and most comprehensive statistics on people facing severe and multiple disadvantage - where they live, what their lives are like, how effectively they are supported by services and the economic implications of that support.
It is estimated that around a quarter of a million people in England each year will experience a combination of homelessness, substance abuse and contact with the criminal justice system, leading to higher levels of poverty, social isolation and mental health problems.
Key headlines reveal:
• There is a huge overlap between the offender, drug misusing and homeless populations. Two thirds of single homeless people and offenders are also found in one of the other datasets. One third of homeless people show up in all three datasets.
• The 20 local authorities which report the largest numbers of people facing severe and multiple disadvantage are mainly in the North of England, in seaside towns (Blackpool tops the list) and central London Boroughs. However, even in the richest areas, there is no part of England that is untouched by the issue of severe and multiple disadvantage.
• People found in homelessness, drug treatment and criminal justice systems are predominantly white men aged 25-44
• As children, many experienced trauma and neglect, extreme poverty, family breakdown and disrupted education. As adults, many suffer alarming levels of loneliness, isolation, unemployment, debt and mental distress. All of these experiences are considerably worse for those in overlapping populations.
• Contrary to popular belief, the majority of these men (69%) are in contact with or are living with children.
• The support received from services is often short-lived and ineffective, and this gets worse the more problems people have.
Brighter Futures and the Expert Citizens are calling for far-reaching changes to address this issue from government, local authorities and the voluntary sector.
Gill Brown says: ‘It is clear that we can’t think about or commission services in silos. Placing conditions on people to “comply” with services that don’t work for them will not succeed. Blaming or penalising people for the situation they find themselves in simply adds more complexity rather than curing.
We cannot afford to go on failing, spending money on services that don’t work is simply wasteful. Appropriate effective services come from listening to experts, those experts with lived experience.’
Darren Murinas, Vice Chair of Stoke Expert Citizens and a man who has lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage, welcomed the launch of the report saying.
‘I recognise the lives described in this report. I’ve lived it myself. I was lucky. I got the help I needed to become a clean, sober and responsible citizen after a childhood of neglect and a lifetime of crime.
I am really glad that LankellyChase Foundation is focussed on this issue and continues to relentlessly ask questions about why more progress is not being made to help all who need it become engaged citizens of their communities. Change is possible, but only if the system recognises it needs radical change.’
Brighter Futures leads the VOICES partnership, a £10m Big Lottery funded programme, working with commissioners, services and ‘Expert Citizens’ to improve services in Stoke.
Staff from BASE 58 will be attending an event held at Staffordshire Police Headquarters on Wednesday 18th March to talk to officers about the service they provide in Stoke on Trent. The event is being held to mark Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.
Stories of children being sexually exploited surface in the press with depressing frequency. The city of Oxford has recently been in the news when a series of alleged failings came to light. Other areas that have been in the spotlight include towns and cities such as Rotherham and Rochdale.
The problem is not confined to these areas. It is a very real problem all over the country, it is a problem in Stoke on Trent. Local charity Brighter Futures works closely with Police, Social Services schools and young people to protect children and support those who have been sexually exploited.
Gill Brown, Chief Executive of Brighter Futures says: ‘The sexual exploitation of young people, particularly ‘looked after’ children is not a new problem. We have been working to raise awareness of this problem in the City for many years.’
Brighter Futures scheme, BASE 58 supports young women and men who are at risk of or are being sexually exploited. Specially trained Support Workers build the confidence of young people and help them to have control in their lives. It also helps young people to stay safe by making them aware of danger, teaching them how to recognise risky situations and how to get out of them.
Are you are concerned about yourself or a young person you know? To find out more about the support available at Base 58 call 01782 286862 or text 07500 444115.
Brighter Futures in partnership with a number of other partnership organisations have taken part in ground-breaking research on long-term homelessness in the UK. The research shows that the Housing First approach in tackling long-term homelessness in England, can potentially reduce the number of people who are homeless, whilst providing significant cost savings.
The Housing First model which helps people straight from living on the streets, or who are caught up in a cycle of hostels, sofa surfing, prison or hospital into their own permanent accommodation was developed in the United States has demonstrated high degrees of success in both housing and supporting those who are in a cycle of being chronically street homeless and who have multiple and complex need.
The executive summary and the full report can be found at http://www.brighter-futures.org.uk/about/publications
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