We received a lovely email from Community Learning Works with an update on their project. We would like to thank them for the thank you and the work that they do. Here is a copy of their email, we thought it worth sharing far and wide:
Community Learning Works supports people who face the most significant challenges and are furthest away from the job market to get better access to learning opportunities.
We are a partnership of 7 community organisations who offer courses from learning centres and outreach venues across Kirklees:
Paddock Community Trust
Crosland Moor Learning Centre
Proper Job Theatre Company
Ravensthorpe Community Centre
Workers Educational Association
Since our launch in September 2017, we have supported over 1000 people to get involved in learning activities. Over 70% of them have gone on to do some further learning. 38% have progressed to formal courses, or have gained work or volunteering placements.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of dozens of community groups and organisations who have worked with us to deliver lots of creative, fun and engaging workshops and courses. These activities have been funded through the Community Learning Works small grant fund. People have taken part in a wide range of fun activities including cooking, gardening, crafts, DIY, IT, drama, make up, yoga, self-defence – boosting their confidence and motivating them to learn new skills.
So, a massive thank you to all the groups who have worked with us, including: Yetton Together, Kirkheaton Community Centre, Boothroyd Parents Group, Ravensthorpe Carers Group, Support 2 Recovery, Kirklees Local TV, Salfia Centre, 2020 Foundation, Nature’s Footprints, The Basement Recovery Project, Masoom Care, Grow to School, Ravensthorpe Juniors, Diamond Wood Academy, Brackenhall Trust, Castle Community Hub, Womencentre, Meltham Carlile Centre, Meltham Deacon Close, Global Diversity Positive Action, Oak Primary, Aspire Cooperative Learning Trust, Face Forward, Growing Works, Dalton Community Centre, Action for Children, Batley Smile, Bagshaw Museum, Brunswick Centre, Platform One, Hoot, Circle of Sisters, Honeyzz, Creative Connections, Men’s Talk, Dalton Gospel Choir, Keep it Real, Trillz, Community Skill Centre, Hillhouse Community Centre.
We are working with many more local groups to develop future activities; so, if you are a community group interested in running a learning activity or workshop in your area, we would love to hear from you.
email@example.com – 07540434573 You can also follow us on Twitter & Facebook
Learners had a fantastic time at crafting sessions run by S2R and the Basement Project recently. Snow globes, Christmas trees, painted rocks and more were made and learners enjoyed meeting new people.
and following the success of these, we have just announced new groups starting 17th January 2019
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Over the last 12 months, The Basement Recovery Project has been developing a pilot therapeutic treatment model for a 24/7, peer-led, sober living house in Kirklees, called Freedom House. The house is now fully occupied and has delivered some outstanding outcomes. We have achieved our main objective of offering a comprehensive programme of recovery support for individuals (for whom no housing would be a barrier) to continue their recovery journey in their natural community surroundings. The last 12 months have seen Freedom House offer all of the predicted interventions listed below, plus an assortment of unexpected outcomes:
Planned completion of treatment
Reduction in harm associated with drug and/or alcohol use
Reduction in re-offending and anti-social behaviour
Referrals made to appropriate treatment services or for legal or specialist help and advice
Independent living established and maintained
Enhancement of community safety
Reduction in homelessness and incidences of repeat homelessness
Maximised income through welfare benefit, debt and money management advice
Increased participation in resident’s local communities
Stronger links with other agencies
Better use of resources through co-ordinated access to housing and complementary support
Opportunities for new life choices explored e.g. return to education, training or employment.
Localised sober living alternative to in-patient rehabilitation
Cost savings to the local authority and other services
2. The Story at 12 Months
At the beginning of the pilot project, we had identified a gap in the provision of female-specific recovery housing in Kirklees. Initially, three local women came forward who were at the beginning of their recovery journey and were currently living in unstable housing.
It took weeks to identify the right building which was in keeping with our values. We set about renovating the property to meet our high standards for residential sober living accommodation before developing a typical programme of activities for potential residents. With positions advertised for Residential Support Worker, we were fortunate that one of the successful applicants was a female WY-FI navigator, who had previously come through our recovery programme some years ago and was looking to move back to the area. In addition, regular meetings were convened with Emma Hanley, Contracts Manager for Kirklees Council. With Emma’s support, we quickly managed to acquire enhanced housing benefit rates for residents, making the project sustainable into year two.
Freedom House has now been continuously and fully occupied for the past twelve months. All residents have been referred into the WI-FI peer mentoring training programmes and have benefited greatly from the support offered by our partner service, for example, a successful application for funding was made to the WY-FI personalisation fund to enable the residents to take themselves and their children to Flamingo Land in Warrington. Due to the success of the pilot, we now have a waiting list for stage one accommodation which we feel further evidences the need for abstinent based therapeutic housing locally.
The new financial year will see TBRP coproduce our therapeutic community living model alongside Fusion Housing. They will help to add some local knowledge and experience of housing related issues, ensuring the model has an opportunity to embed itself within the Kirklees community, allowing for further growth and continued sustainability.
3. Referral / Assessment Process and Ongoing Support
We have worked closely with the WY-FI team and as a result, we have seen the original assessment process modified and adapted to address some of the initial issues that we first encountered during the early stages of delivery. The end product is a coproduced, client centred, responsive referral and assessment process that responds effectively to the needs of our client group.
All residents of Freedom House attend or have completed, TBRP’s recovery programme which consists of group activities, held in our town centre hub, every day. In addition, all residents have proactively volunteered across both our Huddersfield and Dewsbury recovery hubs adding an element of continuity, structure and warmth to the environment.
Freedom House residents have passionately engaged in their own self-written, person-centred support plans, achieving many planned and unplanned personal goals along the way. An average support plan includes, but is not exclusive to, some of the below:
Random alcohol/drug testing
Weekly key worker sessions, including support plan updates
Attending weekly resident meetings/activities
Attending TBRP structured group programme
Attending a minimum of three Here and Now / alternative therapy meetings per week
Attending six mutual aid meetings per week
Encouragement to take on service positions in local mutual aid meetings
Volunteering in the Breakfast Club
Completing a DBS Check
Adhering to a weekly house rota
Completing weekly food shopping together
Completing housing application forms
Referral to other external support services (CVS, college, Fusion Housing etc.)
Receiving support in liaising with relatives and significant others involved in their support network (including children)
Encouragement to meet own aspirations for employment, education, training, social and leisure activities
Provision of relevant information to help access other appropriate services, such as counselling, advocacy or mediation.
Receiving advice on issues around home maintenance and self-care
Developing confidence in budgeting and domestic skills
Assistance with securing Housing Benefit and maximising welfare benefits income
Assistance with reducing rent arrears and debt
Weekly house meetings to discuss and air any potential issues
Assistance with finding and moving into permanent accommodation.
Identifying appropriate agencies to provide specialist support or healthcare, and assisting with access to these to prevent admission to hospital or other residential establishments
Provision of basic life skills i.e. cooking, cleaning and general budgeting skills
All clients are assigned their own key worker. Each resident is expected to work towards agreed goals and show motivation and commitment to their recovery and tenancy with us. Staff devise individually tailored plans in agreement with clients. These meet their needs as agreed in 1-1 sessions. Staff focus on following this plan as a structure for client support and as a guide to evaluating progress made. It is important that residents participate in planning their support and that they can involve other people in this should they wish to do so, for example, a family member or another worker they are confident with.
Key working sessions are conducted once per week but there is support 24/7 to assist with client’s needs. All key workers are in long-term recovery which clients, past and present, have found to be of great benefit. Key working sessions are an opportunity for the client and their key worker to discuss matters which underlie their drug and/or alcohol problems. Matters relating to welfare, resettlement, health, family, indeed anything at all can also be flagged up for action. Clients are encouraged to develop a rapport with their key worker and vice versa.
Freedom House has a living room, kitchen, bathroom and each individual has their own bedroom. The house is fully furnished and equipped, and residents can bring their own belongings to personalise their room. We prohibit television viewing in an individual’s room to avoid ‘isolating’ behaviour. All residents are encouraged to cook and eat communally in the evenings during their stay.
By working alongside the local navigators, all clients are also part of the system that is supported through the Multi-Agency Review Board (MARB), made up of representatives from Mental Health, Substance Misuse, Housing and Probation services. At the time of producing this report, seven individuals have currently benefited from the support the pilot project provides.
Many of the early issues surrounding the implementation of processes and pathways were ironed out in the first 6 months of the pilot. Initially, there were a few teething problems with regards to procedures around assessment and case-finding between TBRP’s staff team and the WY-FI team needing to be more robust. In a project of this nature, this is perhaps to be expected as working practices often differ. Through improved communication, this issue was dealt with swiftly and protocols put in place for going forward. Changes made include a joint assessment approach from WY-FI and TBRP, a more thorough case-finding process and confirmed discharge address to be documented at the point of assessment. In terms of learning, it is our belief that the above teething problems and issues could have been avoided if these protocols had been initiated at an earlier time.
In terms of housing benefits, it became apparent that this is a ‘postcode lottery’ in terms of grace periods (grace periods being an overlap of housing benefit across two properties. i.e. When an individual is in prison or rehab). To give up a property to move into sober living accommodation can be a huge decision in an individual’s journey and a potential barrier to accessing the most appropriate care. At the start of this project it appeared that grace periods were subjective but for this specific scheme, we have now attained a 12-week overlap for individuals meaning they have security and choice. However, this overlap is subject to a separate discretionary payment application and we are informed that the discretionary payments budget is not exhaustive. This has been absolutely priceless for those we work with and has allowed clients to try before committing, meaning there is a safety net for those that don’t feel the service is for them.
TBRP are currently in discussions with the Kirklees housing service Fusion Housing to help create a viable and safe alternative in the event that overlap housing benefit is refused. The hope is that Fusion will offer suitable temporary accommodation close by to our current property, so clients can initiate the therapeutic programmes on offer alongside the current residents of Freedom House, regardless of their entitlement to benefits.
5. Future sustainability and plans
The right structures are now in place to support the project and we have created a solid foundation on which to build its future. The project will be sustainable by utilising a peer lead in the house, supported by a part-time housing support worker.
The project has been well received by the local council and the housing team are keen to support us in our next stage of development. Within our first six months, the project was gifted a vehicle which is now attached to the sober living scheme. Alongside this, our current landlord is a qualified driving instructor and has promised to offer subsidised driving lessons to the residents of Freedom House to help them obtain a driving licence. This is a real asset to the project and its residents, offering access to more opportunities around mutual aid and social integration more widely as well as improving future employment prospects and confidence.
After discussions with the housing benefit department at Kirklees Council, they agreed to pay a higher rate of housing benefit to TBRP whilst also paying the rent for a client’s current property for a period of up to 12 weeks. This process would allow clients that have current tenancies to access our programmes of support while maintaining their current home. This will open the door to more Kirklees female clients being able to access the support available at Freedom House. Four of the beneficiaries were originally aiming for inpatient rehabilitation but opted to attend our community model when it became available. This represents a £32,000 saving from an already overstretched mental health budget that funds all inpatient rehabilitation episodes. This has been recognised by local commissioners who have expressed an interest in utilising our approach to release monies, previously spent outside of the Kirklees area, by investing it with ourselves, helping towards the sustainability of the project.
As with any project of this nature the most difficult part is to create traction and gain buy-in from local providers. In the middle of the year, one unfortunate piece of news was the incumbent drug and alcohol provider in Kirklees went into sudden liquidation bringing large-scale disruption to the local system. We are happy to report that after a period of remodelling we have worked alongside our colleagues at CGL to find a way forward and they have shown a real interest in our housing model being expanded.
Due to the risks associated with sustainability, we decided against taking on a second property as local landlords’ costs were prohibitive. More sensibly, we have now started to compile a waiting list and plan to use supported properties at Fusion Housing as a feeder into our sober living model. Fusion Housing will also support the long-term sustainability of the model by offering and taking over the management of more affordable multiple occupancy housing in and around the Huddersfield recovery hub. Clients on the therapeutic community living programme will also be able to access the bond bank scheme run by Fusion Housing which has been identified as a barrier to individuals obtaining suitable housing. This will enable our residents to move into independent living, while still receiving low-level support in the Huddersfield area. Hopefully, it will prevent them from feeling isolated and keep them around their newfound recovery community and friends.
With the advances made in developing a peer-led model, strong working relationships with the local authority and the inclusion of Fusion Housing, the next 12 months promise to be as buoyant and productive as our first year. The added social value of Freedom House cannot be underestimated and finding a more effective way to measure this added value presents a challenge. We plan to work alongside the Kirklees WY-FI and wider DISC (now Humankind) service for a solution. Special recognition needs to go to Michelle Monkman (lead navigator WY-FI) for her tireless support in helping to achieve the absolute best outcomes for our residents. Michelle’s warm approach and extensive knowledge of local provision have further enhanced client experience promoting more choices and opportunities for all.
TBRP would like to personally thank all at WY-FI including Mark Crowe, firstly for the opportunity to work alongside such a dynamic and client-focused organisation as DISC and secondly, for helping to launch and design a friendly, caring, safe and responsive model of hosing support that promises to serve the citizens of Kirklees long into the future.
TBRP’s therapeutic community living programme in conjunction with WY-FI continues to go from strength to strength, supporting women to achieve and maintain abstinence-based recovery in their own community. Alongside WY-FI, the previous twelve months have seen TBRP successfully deliver on and complete a 12-month pilot scheme to support the provision of abstinent based therapeutic community living for females in Kirklees.
Freedom House has been fully occupied for the past twelve months with four female residents currently engaging fully in their respective support plans and achieving individual recovery focused goals. All residents to date have been referred into the WY-FI peer mentoring training programmes and have benefited greatly from the support offered by our partner service.
The introduction of a ‘stage two’ house in partnership with Fusion Housing has allowed us to expand our offer to even more individuals whilst creating a safe ‘move through’ process that will support our tenants to acquire and maintain their own tenancies in affordable and appropriate local housing. Our new partners will support our clients to further enhance their budgeting skills whilst engaging them in back to work focused training, education and employment opportunities. The stage two house has been fully decorated and equipped to the same high specification as our stage one and further work will be carried out on the garden and patio area to help make the stage two house a home to be proud of.
6.1. Problems and issues
In the last 8 weeks, two of our stage one residents graduated to the new stage two house and for the first week, all was well. During the second week, one of the ladies disclosed to our housing worker that alongside some family problems and the change in routine she had used alcohol whilst in the stage two house. A prearranged contingency plan was actioned that saw Fusion Housing provide our resident with safe accommodation until such a time as she was ready to move back into an abstinent environment. In less than 48 hours alongside the support from peers and staff, the lady in question was completely abstinent and back in the stage one house, fully engaging in recovery activities and mutual aid groups.
6.2. Lessons learnt
Some lessons were learnt during this process including the need for a pre-agreed contingency plan that manages the accumulated risk of relapse and the potential for homelessness for residents living in an abstinent environment. It was noted that the recovery community played a significant role (out of hours contact etc) in the reengagement of our resident and this factor will be implemented into all future risk management plans. This episode has also highlighted the need for a “Safe Bed” to be available at short notice to provide safe accommodation for any future resident that may have relapsed back to substance use. With this in mind, we are now in talks with our partners at Fusion about creating this safe space and making it available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Early conversations have highlighted that a void room could be created at a cost of £50 each week and having this available 24/7 would generate an annual cost of £2600.
The past 12 months working alongside WY-FI have proven to be beneficial for all, none more so than the 8 ladies that have spent time at Freedom House. The 12-month pilot scheme achieved all its aims (including some unexpected ones) and now sits ready to become part of the therapeutic pathway for women entering treatment for substance misuse in Kirklees. The first year has helped to save over £32,000 from the Tier4 budget for residential rehabilitation treatment, currently being held with the mental health commissioning team at Kirklees Public Health. We have approached the commissioner for mental health and it’s hoped that a percentage of the savings made in the coming year will be forwarded on to support the Freedom House project to expand further.
WY-FI supports people who are not engaging effectively with services and are experiencing entrenched needs in at least three of the following HARM area:
Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol
Our ethos is that these individuals:
are supported by Navigators and Specialist Workers who build trusting relationships over time and who are service neutral
receive person-centred support to achieve their hopes and aspirations
inform future delivery models and innovation
And that by 2020 adults with multiple needs in West Yorkshire should have the opportunity of:
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Our aim is simple: To champion alcohol and drug addiction recovery in our local communities, and to demonstrate that you can get well in the same place where you became ill. We do this on a regular basis while working towards the strategic aims and objectives of Kirklees in Recovery by aligning our activities to a set of key actions described here …
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Saturday 12th August saw a great plan come together at the Kirklees in Recovery Summer Family Day Event, held at Union Bank in Huddersfield.
The event was organised by the KiR steering committee with the help of many volunteers, family members and Haven. Our aim – to remain close to our constitutional aims and objectives – raising awareness of recovery and helping to reduce the stigma associated with addictions, and of course, to raise a little money along the way.
We had a variety of games and stalls to keep people occupied. Prizes and food were sourced by our ever-growing community of organisations that support Kirklees in Recovery which made for a great raffle and tombola.
We were also supported on the day by members of Halifax Bank who promised to match fund our first £500. Gillian really got into the spirit (and swing) of things when she took part in the dance lesson, kindly facilitated by Curly Wurly Dance Studios.
The highlight of the day, of course, was watching the families enjoy themselves, the children (and a few adults) had a ball with Peppa Pig and Iggle Piggle and the various activities on offer.
It was heart-warming to hear one girl say, “I’m looking forward to moving back in with my mum”, knowing that she has her mum back for good.
The feedback from everyone involved was great and we also noticed more of the general public and other communities getting involved.
Our thanks go to everyone who helped, attended and made the day special, we raised a terrific £1400.
Of special note, we must thank Halifax Bank, for not only match funding £500 but for also presenting a cheque for £5000 to help develop our planned café at Union Bank. Plans are well underway and we will bring more news soon. Our support from the Bank also extended to them helping us to enhance our digital skills, a massive thank you to James Stott.
This is what James had to say about the project:
“I must say on a personal level, I was touched and admired the amazing work you and the volunteers do. You are all genuinely inspiring people and I often read about people’s personal struggles but to see it first hand and hear/see what you do took it to a whole new level. I see situations at work where people react to something as if it is life or death when in fact it is minor in the grand scheme of things but to see the job you do is literally life or death for people puts things into perspective and is something I took away from spending a few hours with you and the team. Genuinely – thank you and great work”.
Thank you, everyone!
Andy McGee Community Builder
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I first came to TBRP @ The Corner 12 months ago with more than my fare share of issues; I was drinking too much, I had problems with my kidneys, under active thyroid, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, depression and to top it all I was feeling really alone and lost.
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Back in November the Managers of the Sikh Leisure Centre invited The Corner; Larry Eve, Marie Reilly, Clare Earle, James McCord, Michael Walker, Alan Dickinson and Wayne Cartwright to celebrate DIWALI, The Festival of Light at the leisure centre.
We had a three course buffet which was provided by Lalas. It was fabulous and met everybody’s taste!
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In our very first issue of RecoveryTimes we reported on a grant from the Big Lottery to fund recovery activity in Kirklees. Well, following our opening in February last year The Corner has established itself as the hub for a network of recovery opportunities and activities in Huddersfield. The project is about establishing a recovery culture and to improve the opportunities for individuals to sustain recovery locally by effective community engagement. This allows recovering people who are energetic, driven, and optimistic, a focused community hub for their activities.