Excellence Network 2009: Early Intervention category

The Excellence Network recognises achievement in social care. Honoured teams will be invited to the presentation on 13 May 2009 at Community Care LIVE. The Excellence Network recognises achievement in five key areas. Here, Natasha Salari reports on the teams honoured for exceptional work on EARLY INTERVENTION STRATEGIES

Organisation: Barnardo’s

Project: Rural Family Service

Client group: Children and families

Location: Isle of Anglesey

Individualised support from the Barnardo’s Rural Family Service for hard-to-reach families on the Isle of Anglesey is preventing referrals to social services. The service provides crèches, courses and individual support to parents from deprived areas.

Families, most of them referred by health visitors, receive an initial home visit from a play leader and qualified social worker to explain the service’s policies and procedures.

Parents can see a social worker at crèche sessions and are able to telephone the service for support outside crèche hours. Staff have found that once a trusting relationship is built up with parents they have the confidence to attend parenting programmes.

A basic Chill Out course is run for two-and-a-half hours over five weeks and covers play, stresses and strains and relaxation. Parents can then go on to take the more intensive 12-week Incredible Years programme covering topics such as encouraging co-operative behaviour and helping children learn.

Meinir Wyn Williams, children’s service manager, says: “Childcare can’t be compartmentalised from family support. With time, patience and energy parents and children can become positively sustained within their community.”

Judge’s comments:

“A great example of innovative work in a rural setting. Congratulations to the team.”

Clare Tickell, chief executive, Action for Children

Organisation: Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Project: Eating Disorders Drop-in Facility

Client group: Mental health/substance misuse

Location: University of Lincoln

A drop-in facility at the University of Lincoln is helping to reduce the impact of eating disorders through early intervention.

The drop-in signposts students to other services and offers information rather than diagnosing or treating eating disorders, but students can be fast-tracked to mainstream mental health services.

Staff from Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Eating Disorders Service met with university medical staff and the student support team to set up the informal drop-in facility so that students could make direct contact with the service without a referral.

Leaflets were sent out to accommodation blocks and social venues and details of the drop-in were posted on the student web portal. The drop-in is held once a month at the university health centre and is also open to friends and partners concerned about someone with an eating problem.

Phil Rice, the Eating Disorders Team co-ordinator, says: “The drop-in is clinically important. We are dealing with a handful of people but if we can catch anyone with a developing eating disorder in the early stages then it’s worth doing.”

Judge’s comments:

“Eating disorders can be particularly stigmatised conditions. This project showed determination and innovation in providing earlier access to help for this group.”

Paul Jenkins, chief executive, Rethink

Organisation: Dorset Police/Dorset Council Yot

Project:Safe Schools and Communities Team

Client group: Children and families

Location: Dorset

Young people committing low-level offences are being given the opportunity to make amends with their victims without receiving a criminal record through the Safe Schools and Communities Team (SSCT), a joint collaboration between Dorset Police and Dorset Council youth offending team.

Victims of crime are asked to decide if they would like the young person’s minor offence to be dealt with through a restorative reprimand. The young person, victim and a facilitator can then meet to discuss the impact of the offence and how it can be rectified by apologising or even offering to pay for damage caused.

Over 200 restorative reprimands have been facilitated by the 90 specially trained officers since the scheme began one year ago. Initial evaluations show that formal reprimands have been reduced by 67%, resulting in a 44% reduction in the number of first time entrants into the youth criminal justice system.

Young people at risk of further offending or with family and social problems are referred to the SSCT project worker who identifies support for the young person and their family. The team also works in schools to train staff in restorative practices and facilitate conferences for pupils behaving unacceptably.

“We have learned the importance of making sure that those working within the criminal justice system have the opportunity to use discretion when dealing with young people who have made a mistake rather than committed a real crime,” says Yvonne Surman, the SSCT manager.

Judge’s comments:

“This is a fabulous example of partners working together to divert young people from crime using a restorative approach.”

Clare Tickell, chief executive, Action for Children

Organisation: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Project: Travel Training Project

Client group: Learning disability

Location: East Riding

A programme to train people with learning disabilities to travel independently in rural East Riding is reducing isolation and improving their access to leisure and employment activities.

The Travel Training Project, run by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s outreach and transition team, works with adults and young people aged 14 and over to help them develop the skills to use public transport and take part in activities independently.

Training involves working with people with learning disabilities and their carers to become familiar with the routes they need to use. It also covers the use of mobile phones, being aware of risks and behaving appropriately.

Special schools in the area now include independent travel training in the curriculum. The team is working with two mainstream secondary schools to train pupils with special educational needs, with plans to roll out the programme to all schools.

Since the project began the team has worked with 39 people with learning disabilities and 26 can now travel independently. The team have worked out that it costs £55 a day to transport a child with special educational needs to school but only £5 a day if they travel independently.

“We are giving people the independence they need to not come into day centres or residential care,” says Yvonne Rhodes, the council’s strategic development manager for adult services and disabilities.

Judge’s comments:

“It was a very well thought out and expertly executed project, working hard to win over schools in the area so that public transport skills could be taught at a young age; it also developed an exemplary training programme.”

Su Sayer, chief executive, United Response

Organisation: Stoke-on-Trent Council

Project: Healthy Living Team

Client group: Older people

Location: Stoke-on-Trent

Older people are introduced to local community groups as part of the rehabilitation service provided by Stoke-on-Trent Council’s Healthy Living Team.

More than 200 older people either discharged from hospital, at risk of hospital admission or in crisis in their own homes due to physical or emotional illness, have been helped to access social and community groups as part of the one-to-one support offered by the team.

A member of staff, usually trained in rehabilitation, visits the older person to discuss their needs and support networks they can access within the community. Users can then be formally introduced to services such as voluntary day centres or supported to attend groups run by organisations such as churches and libraries.

Staff go to groups with service users until they develop enough self-confidence to attend by themselves. Older people can also take part in group sessions on issues such as fire safety, managing illnesses and preparing meals.

The team is based in St Michael’s Centre of Excellence, a partnership between the council, primary care trust and Age Concern, providing rehabilitation and intermediate care services.

Council’s rehabilitation manager Jill Broomhall, says: “It’s no good rehabilitating people to be able to get out of bed and manage their personal care needs if they have nothing to get up for.”

Judge’s comments:

“Totally on the mark of what this category is about. Clear focus on well-being and I liked the link with the need to promote social inclusion and individual planning. Lovely clear case study which brought the entry alive.”

Annie Stevenson, head of older people’s services, Social Care Institute for Excellence

Published in Community Care 7 May 2009

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.