Adept & The Blane family.
The Adept project works with parents who have had a child or children placed in the care of the local authority due to neglect.
The Blane family were struggling to engage with professionals when they started with Adept. They weren’t managing to pay bills on time, they struggled to find a reason to get up and out of the house each day, they said that they felt isolated and depressed and judged by everybody and they could not make contact arrangements to see their fostered children.
The Adept key worker supported the family to manage their finances, plan meals, keep their home clean and tidy, find local activities and attend a college course. With help from a qualified counsellor used by the service, the family took the time to look at the past and prepare for the future through regular emotional resilience counselling.
With increased confidence the Blane family have been able to get out of debt, run their home, eat better and complete a college course. They have also started seeing their children at a contact centre.
Jenny’s experience of Circle of Support
Jenny is a single adult who has been receiving support through COS for the last five months. She contacted the Roberts Centre to ask for support and an appointment was set up. This resulted in her being taken on as a client within the service, as she was experiencing some financial and mental health difficulties at the point of joining COS. Jenny was also supporting other family members with their mental health.
Initially Jenny was supported to get help for her family’s mental health needs via Talking Change and engaging with their GP. The family was supported to access the right benefits and with seeking employment opportunities. This has resulted in the family being more financially stable and another member of the family is now in employment.
Jenny is now exploring local opportunities to pursue hobbies and interests that she has identified. Her confidence continues to grow and she is progressing well on the scheme.
‘The Roberts Centre has given me the confidence to organise what needs doing and given me the incentive to complete goals I have set myself within a certain timeframe. My circle of support partner listens and supports me with my concerns I might have so I can sort them out myself. He has also been very helpful with supporting my daughter with filling in Universal Credit forms and advice for the whole family around benefits.’
Contact Centre & Lauren’s story
The Roberts Centre is passionate about providing a safe and neutral place for children to meet with their non-resident parent and/or other family member.
Lauren was six years old and had not seen her dad for 18 months. Her mum and dad had agreed to apply to the Roberts Centre for contact. They didn’t have a court order. They asked for six sessions of supervised contact and were not sure what they wanted to do after that. Two preparation sessions were arranged with the Contact Worker so Lauren’s mum left Lauren to talk with the worker. Lauren had been prepared for the meeting by her mum and she was excited to talk about her dad and look at photos of him. On the second session Lauren drew her dad a picture.
The worker phoned Lauren’s dad to let him know how the sessions were going. He was nervous and emotional at the first supervised contact session but Lauren ran into the room and hugged him. They looked at photos of when their family went on holiday together and Lauren remembered where a lot of them were taken. Lauren enjoyed Lego so she and her dad built and raced cars. Her dad had brought lunch and they chatted all the time.
After the fourth contact session Lauren’s mum felt that four-hour handovers could start and Lauren’s dad agreed. After two handovers, Lauren’s dad emailed her mum to ask for longer contact; she agreed and since then they have left the centre and have continued to make their own arrangements.
Supported Housing Service (SHS) & Jane’s journey
Jane is a single parent with one child who has been in the supported housing service for three years so far. Jane was living in a hostel before she moved into her sublet and the move into her sublet was also the first tenancy of her own.
Jane moved into supported accommodation not feeling confident about managing her tenancy responsibilities independently. Staff were able to support Jane by identifying ways to manage these and then practising them with her. Staff also supported Jane to manage her finances when going into part time work and Jane has now got a full time job.
Jane is currently adapting to the changes to managing her money now that she is in full-time work and is progressing well on the scheme.
Quote from Jane
‘I came onto the scheme as a young single mum and I had not had my own tenancy before. The Supported Housing Scheme has helped me learn how to manage my tenancy and become more independent. I have learnt about managing my money and I am confident with reading letters and making phone calls. I now work full time and my child is due to start school in September. I think I have benefited from the support I have received and hope to be signed off the scheme to a PCC tenancy.’
Quote from another SHS client
‘Before I was involved, I had no idea how to pay bills or manage my finances as I had been sofa surfing for three years before being put into a hostel. I’ve now been in my property for 11 months and can now manage my money and pay my bills on time with money left so I can save. Without the support of my keyworker I can honestly say that this wouldn’t have been possible.’
Quote from another SHS client
‘The Roberts Centre have made a difference for my family, they have supported me with my budgeting and money management. My keyworker has helped me get on parenting courses and domestic violence courses. The Roberts Centre have given me furniture for my house and food donations when my benefits were sanctioned. The Roberts Centre have made me more mature and helped me keep my home clean and tidy for the children and attended appointments with me.’
Family Intervention Project (FIP) & Adult Intervention Project (AIP) & John’s* Story
“Before I got support from the Adult Intervention Project (AIP) at The Roberts Centre I had given up and I had made an attempt to end my life. I was lonely, depressed and hardly ever went out of my flat. I had been addicted to heroin since I was 15 years. My health was very bad, I was constantly angry and very depressed. My mum had died very suddenly and I had discovered my partner had been seeing another man whilst with me. We had a young baby together. I felt I had nothing to lose so I had violently attacked my ex partner’s new man and as a result, I spent 8 months in prison.
When my keyworker from the AIP Project first came to visit I did not answer the door or the phone calls. My AIP keyworker kept coming back time and time again, eventually I did answer the door and I am glad that I did.
I would decide every six weeks what actions I wanted to achieve and then we would work together to achieve them. At first I did not have the energy to achieve my actions and would make excuses not to do the things I really wanted to do, but AIP did not give up and kept pushing me to get things done.
I am so much happier now. My health has improved greatly. I now access important health services and attend all health appointments. I am strong enough now to face previous associates and not feel the temptation to start using heroin again. I have made links with family members. I have been to court and now have permission to send letters and cards to my baby son. I am working towards some supervised contact with him in the near future I hope, once I have a record of negative drug tests”.
Adult Intervention Project & Janet
I feel that I have had valuable support from my AIP Keyworker and the Roberts Centre. I was in a really bad place due to my neighbours causing trouble for me and my family. I was scared to go out of the house on my own and my health was really bad but I couldn’t go to health appointments. I was being bullied at work, I didn’t know how to support my family through the problems we were having and because of my anxieties my family had lost patience with me. The difference AIP has made is that I have felt really listened to which is what I needed. I was supported in meetings with my Housing Officer and the Police so I didn’t feel so alone. Most importantly, my keyworker also took me to my GP appointments and I was able to be referred for treatment and get to those appointments too, this has been life changing for me. My keyworker and I go out for coffee and walks, this has really helped my anxiety. I recently found enough confidence to go for a job interview and got the job, I would not have been able to do this before.
Comment from Janet’s partner: I feel that not only Jan but the family have really benefited from the support received from the Roberts Centre. It’s good for us to know that Jan has someone outside of the home who she can turn to for support.
Family Tenancy Support (FTS) & Lara’s Life
Lara is a single mum of one and has learning difficulties. She has been supported by the FTS service for the 21 months. The family was referred to the scheme to receive support around budgeting and parenting and had recently moved into their current tenancy after living in supported accommodation.
The keyworker helped to identify the best ways that Lara could manage her bill payments and she now has systems in place to ensure this is maintained. In addition support was given with appealing a benefit decision which was successful and has improved the family’s financial situation.
Lara has explored local activities for her child with her keyworker and is also accessing more support around her health and is generally becoming more confident.
‘I struggle on a day-to-day basis and my head feels it gets messed up. The support helps me to stay on track and get things sorted. I am an anxious person and I was very isolated. Now after support I feeling more confident to go out and meet new people, even though this is still scary for me. I still worry about a lot but I know I have and am making progress. I do everything for my child. I appreciate the support I get from the Roberts Centre
Boost & Sam
A young man Sam was referred to Boost by their social worker, who advised that he needed help with gaining the skills required for independent living. After many failed attempts to make contact, the key worker managed to meet Sam and inform him about ways in which we could support him, such as completing the Workbook to Independence, working to prepare for a six-week stay in a training flat and potentially a Boost Plus property. The Boost worker kept offering support even when the first meeting was hard, as we know from our clients that initial contact can be difficult because young care leavers have had so many professionals involved in their lives to date. Their experience is sometimes that professionals come and go and this means they have to keep repeating their life story to new people. Some care leavers may also be worried about forming attachments, having to learn new skills and being judged. The Boost worker was able to overcome these concerns and their professional relationship grew as Sam attended Thursday drop-in sessions where he engaged well, learnt how to budget and to manage his emotions and health better, and increased his circle of support. Sam had a successful stay in the training flat and is delighted to be moving into a Boost Plus property at the end of February 2019.
Boost Plus & Emma
One young care leaver Emma was living in her own flat but, due to life-changing circumstances, she was unable to maintain this tenancy and so a planned move back to supported living was agreed. Emma has been supported through these life-changing events and continues to work with the support of Boost, working on budgeting skills and working back towards independent living. Support has also been put in place by the Boost Emotional Resilience Worker to support Emma to manage her emotions during times of stress. This continuing support is important to ensure young people like Emma are emotionally ready, as well as having all the necessary skills they need, to prevent a failed tenancy in the future. We hope that with our support, Emma will succeed in maintaining her tenancy this time.
Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) & Lydia’s life
Now I have moved out of TAS I can appreciate that there was always someone to call on for support either with a maintenance problem in the flat or if there were issues with my kids. Being evicted on my own with three children was so difficult emotionally, I had no idea what to do, I am so lucky to have been placed with the Roberts Centre. My keyworker was personable and tailor made my support plan with me. I appreciated the face to face support and I didn’t even mind the property checks because it meant I got to see and chat to someone. My confidence was low but I was encouraged to do things for myself and knowing I wasn’t alone reassured me. I received support around my children’s behaviour and this has convinced me that everything is ok. In the school holidays the children went to the Roberts Centre Play scheme which they loved and it gave me some space. When I moved, my keyworker bid for a grant for a cooker and some other items for us which was a huge weight off my mind. I am in a much more happy and confident place now and know I can manage my own place now.
Roberts Day Nursery & Jane and her children Zac and Emily
When this family first started using the Roberts Day Nursery, the mum was experiencing domestic abuse. Her children were unsettled and she was depressed and crying a lot. She told us ‘I was lost.’ The mum fled with the children to another council and soon realised that it did not have such a good support network as Portsmouth. When the family returned to Portsmouth they were homeless and having to live in a Travellodge. Emily the youngest child settled back into Nursery. ‘She loves coming so much I have to tell her it’s closed on the days she doesn’t come’. The mum said that coming to the Nursery has made her bubbly, chatty and Emily has made some good friends. She loves the parent sessions and has enjoyed activities such as Zoolab, visiting farm animals and watching the chicks hatch.
Recently everything has become much more positive for the family. The mum Jane is happy and optimistic, feels good in herself and is excited about the future. Zac and Emily are in better routines and seem happier and more settled. Jane said ‘Even though I was in a bad situation at the time, leaving and escaping the vicious circle of domestic violence was the best decision I ever made. I can see a brighter future and can’t wait to see what this time next year looks like’.
Felicity gets to know people at Playscheme
Children who come to the Playscheme sometimes find it difficult to settle in at first. A play worker noticed one child who was coming into the Playscheme each day and immediately taking herself off to the reading area. Her body language was closed and she looked unhappy. One of the play workers started a conversation with her and, when she started to relax, asked how she was feeling. Initially the child was reluctant to talk but after a while she whispered ‘I don’t know anyone.’ The play worker was able to identify what her interests were and pair her up with an older girl who was making loom friendship bands. Each day she grew in confidence and after a week she was happy to join the group the moment she came in, seeking out children that she had made friends with and activities that interested her. By the end of the Playscheme she had formed a strong friendship with a girl of a similar age and they were able to have fun and support each other when things did not go as expected. The children’s parents also made friends while they were picking their children up and continued to see each other once the Playscheme had finished. The children went home tired and happy and best of all had great fun during their days at Playscheme!
“Made of Money” Course
Leanne* says “I realised I had to learn about how to budget better. I was ok with basic numbers, but never actually planned or knew how to manage my money before – I would just spend it until it was gone”.
I was born in Havant in 1990. It was hard growing up and I hardly spent any time at school, at the age of 17 I decided to leave home. I became homeless and got into trouble by shoplifting, which became my way to get money until I met someone special. After meeting Simon in a day centre my whole world changed and after 3 years together we had Dylan who is now 2 years old. Simon and I want to learn to make a better life for Dylan.
Leanne’s story demonstrates how important money management skills are to an individual’s success in life. By attending the ‘Made of Money’ course along with help of her support worker, Leanne and her family have been able to move to a new tenancy. Leanne is using her new-found skills to actively manage their money and she has learned to create and follow a monthly budget.
*Names changed to protect Clients.