The voluntary, community and social enterprise sector embedded in health and care systems

West Midlands

St Basils is a Housing Association and Charity based in the West Midlands that works to focus on young peoples’ strengths and capabilities. As part of 37 initiatives across the area it supports more than 750 young people at any one time to find and keep a home, while developing their skills and building their confidence.

Funded in conjunction with Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Live and Work is one such initiative, delivering a ground-breaking approach to supporting young people at risk of homelessness. It provides affordable accommodation for 16 to 24-year-olds, enabling them to live and work without relying on benefits, while also offering NHS apprenticeships that have so far seen more than 30 people secure permanent employment.

The Rewriting Futures Programme is another project that has enabled St Basils to further reach young people at risk of homelessness or social exclusion. Referred to the charity in 2015, Kyle was at risk himself before joining the service and going on to be diagnosed with ADHD and autism. Following his diagnosis he was moved to stable accommodation before completing a Mental Skills Training programme run by St Basils Fair Chance programme and The University of Birmingham.

Kyle’s journey saw him become more settled and become a peer mentor before going on to volunteer at a local charity shop. After successfully passing a credit check and with a deposit in hand from Fair Chance, Kyle was able to move into his own one-bedroom property.

Greater Manchester

Bolton at Home schemes have seen residents less likely to fall into debt and more likely to improve their social connections and reduce isolation. This through being able to access a variety of services ranging from debt and money advice, to befriending schemes.

Bolton at Home is a charitable community benefit society that owns and manages homes while providing assisted living schemes across the borough. It works on projects in partnership with local and national groups, charities and social enterprises.

Men in Sheds is one such community project created as a safe space for men to socialise in order to reduce feelings of loneliness. Other offerings include falls prevention classes, cooking courses, knitting groups, befriending services, lunch clubs and Tai Chi. Organised by an activities’ coordinator working closely with VCSE organisations, these interventions can work to help residents lead independent and healthy lives.

Further roles introduced to strengthen the preventative focus in the region include that of the Community Link Worker who connect primary care services to community and voluntary organisations.

Through social prescribing they are able to shift delivery from purely medical care to a more social and person-centred approach. The collaboration, that has helped reduce the overall demand on services, sees residents reached with timely support and connected to local resources.

Offering a variety of interventions that help users to address loneliness, isolation and depression Think Ahead enables stroke patients and their carers to better manage their own mental wellbeing while working on their resilience. Its mentoring programme has also proven to accelerate mental and physical recovery and increase overall quality of life by addressing some of the fears and uncertainties associated with surviving a stroke.

Stepping Stones for Stroke compliments the programme offering a free to access seven-week course to further increase confidence and improve health outcomes. The Think Ahead Tavern goes further to develop a real sense of community for people sharing similar experiences through a pub-themed group, offering younger male stroke survivors the opportunity to make friends in a more informal setting.

Wigan

We Are With You is a drug and alcohol service in Wigan provided by the VCSE sector in collaboration with the local healthcare system. This partnership sees residents contacting their GP for issues related to substance abuse and addiction automatically referred to the charity.

We Are With You can issue prescriptions to support recovery, provide mental health services to address the root causes of addiction, and help manage, reduce or stop the drug or alcohol use.

Patients in Wigan experiencing poverty, homelessness or a debt crisis are benefiting from a hospital to home service that works to avoid the health risks associated with homelessness while helping people to fully recover from any health complications.

The work is facilitated by The Brick a homeless charity with staff embedded in the hospital discharge team that upon leaving hospital see patients offered safe and local accommodation and onto a road to quicker recovery.