New service aims to revolutionise support for excluded people

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25 Sep 2014
by Neil Skinner

A new service for people whose lives have been affected by multiple problems like homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill-health and offending will aim to revolutionise the help available to the most excluded and challenging people in Nottingham – leading to better outcomes for individuals and big savings for society.

Opportunity Nottingham is part of a Big Lottery Fund programme called Fulfilling Lives – Supporting People with Multiple Needs. The service, which will provide support, advocacy, co-ordination and preventative advice, was formally launched yesterday in Nottingham.

The service, eligible for up to £9.8million of funding over the next eight years, is one of 12 similar schemes established nationwide in an effort to contain the enormous social and financial costs to society of long-term social exclusion.

The proposed service was designed and the bid to the Big Lottery Fund developed through the involvement of people with experience of living with multiple needs and using services.  Beneficiaries will continue to be centrally involved in how the work evolves.

Operating as a partnership of 18 support agencies, including Nottingham City Council and Nottingham CVS, Opportunity Nottingham will be led by Framework and work with 470 people over its eight year life-span.  It will allocate a Personal Development Co-ordinator to each individual to organise and commission  intensive, creative and flexible support. The intention is to reduce offending, cut hospital admissions, and ease pressure on the criminal justice system and local authorities.

A total of 14 Personal Development Co-ordinators will take responsibility for a caseload of beneficiaries – helping them to address and overcome and guide them towards independence.

Caroline Thompson, Implementation Manager for Opportunity Nottingham, explained: “This is about promoting people powered change – supporting the most excluded and challenging people in our city to take control of their lives and contribute positively to their communities.

"We know from experience that many people with multiple needs want to improve their circumstances, but can find the current network of interwoven services very confusing. Someone with a serious alcohol or drug problem will find it extremely difficult to attend multiple appointments; Opportunity Nottingham will work with services to enable a more joined up way of working and will aim to revolutionise the way we help the most challenging and exclude people in our communities.”

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