Supporting Transitions with Fulfilling Lives
Supporting Transitions with Fulfilling Lives
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead (FLNG) is part of a national programme funded by Big Lottery and driven by its Core Partnership of Changing Lives (Lead Partner), Mental Health Concern and Oasis Community Housing.
FLNG primarily works with those who have multiple complex needs, including those experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, offending and substance misuse. The FLNG programme currently works with 105 people, and has four broad aims:
- To improve the lives of people with multiple complex needs
- To support people with multiple complex needs to better manage their lives and become more resilient
- To ensure that people with lived experience are valued and their involvement becomes an integral part of system change
- To share evidence and learning from the programme and used to effect positive changes in policy and practice
Since the beginning of the programme in 2014, transitions have been identified as major barriers for those who FLNG support. People often experience ongoing and multiple transitions such as going to prison/being released from prison, admission to hospital (both for physical health and mental health issues) and multiple house moves, through eviction or move-on from supported/temporary accommodation.
A common misconception is that those experiencing transient lifestyles don’t own anything of value. Frontline workers at FLNG found that there was a crucial gap in provision, which meant that they often had to arrange funds and logistics for removals and storage when people were going through a transitionary period. It meant those experiencing homelessness often lost items of sentimental value due to not having any available storage options.
Fulfilling Lives applied to the Frontline Network Ideas Fund to launch a pilot fund for clients specifically for the removal and storage of personal belongings. They already operated a personal budget fund which was administered by frontline workers and managed by the Operational Lead which was used to allow people access to support fulfilling activities. This pilot was explicitly for removals and storage costs and worked alongside the personal budget fund.
The pilot started in December 2017, and has been used to support seven people in relation to storage and removals costs, including:
- One person who had been in a property for two years, their longest settled period since being released from prison. He was unfortunately served an eviction notice but the fund allowed him to move his belongings to his new home. Those supporting him commented that without this, the anxiety of moving would have had a negative impact on his recovery.
- A client who was experiencing multiple episodes of psychosis and whose cat was noted as being the only positive focus in her life. After being reassured that the cat would be cared for, the client agreed to a voluntary hospital admission for treatment. The fund paid for her cat to be cared for at a local cattery until she was well enough to be released from hospital.
- One person with a long history of experiencing homelessness was evicted at very short notice from a hostel with no arrangements to store or remove his belongings. The frontline worker supporting him was told that if he didn’t collect his belongings by 10am the next day, they would be destroyed. The fund was used to collect his belongings and move them to his new address.
- The fund also provided removals for a person who was extremely vulnerable and had experienced issues around presenting homeless to the local authority and intimidation at a local hospital. The funds allowed him to access removals, which positively affected his mental health and temporarily reduced reoffending.
Frontline workers at FLNG were equally positive about the fund, stating that having a specific fund for removals allowed them to use the programme’s personalisation fund for some of the more motivational activities. It also gave them peace-of-mind that they could store people’s belongings in a crisis or help them move at short notice, which is something they frequently deal with. As those they were supporting have multiple complex needs, knowing that something practical was being managed allowed both clients and workers to focus on other needs and help build relationships at times of crisis.
Even though this was a small pilot, we can see that it had a significant impact on those who FLNG support. FLNG will share the learning from the pilot with their Strategic Partners to confirm if there is anything systemic around eviction processes which can be explored further.
We’re grateful to FLNG for proposing this idea and for allowing us to share their story with the network.
If you have an idea that could improve the situation for those facing homelessness or housing issues, share it on our Ideas page.
Read more about the original idea here.