Service Turned Around
One of our housing and support services in Leicester began as a registered care home, deregistered and became a support scheme managed by Advance and is now an Advance property with customers receiving floating support from another care provider.
The service provides stable homes for individuals with mental health conditions, with a number of residents also having physical disabilities.
This scheme is a successful and positive place – however it hasn’t always been the case.
Antisocial behaviour can be a huge problem when taking on a service for the community as well as the customers. This particular service previously experienced a number of issues, ranging from residents being targeted for financial, verbal and physical abuse by locals to garden furniture being destroyed and fires started in the garden to residents developing serious drug problems leading to internal antisocial behaviour.
This situation inevitably led to a lack of community at the residence and no sense of pride in their home.
Advance staff worked hard to address these issues. Activity sessions were introduced to help build a sense of community and harmony amongst the residents. The local Fire Service visited to promote good fire safety. Group conversations were had about maintaining a clean, tidy and homely environment. Staff donated games for the communal area and the property itself was improved to make sure keeping things clean was easier and the building was more secure.
By working with other agencies - including the scheme’s care provider, the Police, Social Care and more - the Regional Housing Officer and Customer Engagement Manager were able to work on an action plan.
The needs and behaviours of each customer were also addressed. PR, for example, is in her 30s and has learning disabilities. She sometimes struggles to keep herself and her flat clean. After repeatedly requests to tidy her flat, which also put others at risk because of pests. It was discussed whether she could actually maintain her tenancy or whether she needed to move to another setting. Our Housing Outreach Worker knew PR from a previous role as a support provider for another agency and got on well with her.
The Housing Outreach Worker made PR aware of her choices and also offered her support to have the flat deep cleaned as it had got too much for her to manage. Over a period of several months, the Housing Outreach Worker visited PR regularly and worked alongside her support worker to help PR understand what needed to be done to maintain her tenancy. So far this approach has been working and PR is still living happily at the scheme.
All the customers at this scheme were involved in the planning and discussions to ensure a sense of ownership and shared objectives. It can be a delicate balancing act to manage many different needs and expectations of a large group of people with diverse needs.
However, achieving small things has been a big success at this scheme and contributed to a much more harmonious and community-oriented atmosphere.
Advance is spending less on legal bills, thanks to a huge reduction in antisocial behaviour and staff now have more time to spend on positive community building.
With the security of the garden established, customers at the scheme now have new outdoor furniture to enjoy and have been encouraged to apply for the Advance gardening fund.
By putting our customers’ wellbeing at the forefront of our actions and by working with them to maintain their tenancies, our Housing team have been able to successfully turn the service around.