Christine from Shelter explains how the work her team has been doing has had a huge impact on working with those with multiple and complex needs
Hi, I’m Christine and I am the Team Leader for the Lead Worker Peer Mentor Continuation Strategy. I am hoping that some of you will be familiar with the Lead Worker Peer Mentor Service and its achievements in Birmingham, but I will provide a brief introduction on what this was, it’s impact and our current legacy work.
The Lead Worker Peer Mentor (LWPM) Service was a workstream within Birmingham Changing Futures Together. It ran from 2015 to 2019 and was designed to find a new way of working with and engaging individuals experiencing multiple and complex needs including:
- Mental health
- Substance misuse
The LWPM Service provided intensive support to clients experiencing at least 3 out of the 4 needs listed above and who were also excluded/at risk of exclusion from other services. Clients who have typically been labelled as ‘hard to reach’. The support we provided wasn’t time-limited and the client decided how often they wanted support and the duration. The support was also flexible and directed by the client based on what they felt were their priority needs. The LWPM Service exemplified successful co-production with the unique partnership between SIFA Fireside, Shelter, and Birmingham Mind.
To achieve our aims, we employed Lead Workers (LW) and Peer Mentors (PM). The Lead Worker (LW) was a professional with an extensive history of working within support services. With this came the knowledge of what services were available for clients and how to access them. The LW’s primary task was to build a bespoke support package for each client, addressing all their needs simultaneously rather than in silo. The Peer Mentor (PM) had lived experience of multiple and complex needs and had been on a personal journey to achieve stability in their lives. The PMs were relatable and positive role models for the clients, leading to improved engagement, as clients felt they were someone they could trust having ‘walked in their shoes’. The LWs and PMs combined their respective expertise to provide effective support.
I won’t go into detail here about all the statistics and data we collected that evidenced that the LWPM Service was exceptionally successful (although if you would like to know more you can access the evaluation reports here) but I would like to share some of the highlights of the evaluation with you and the wider public over the duration of the programme!
The LWPM Service was always intended to run as a pilot to evaluate the benefits and to encourage organisations in Birmingham to embed the ethos of the model in their own services, creating long-term systems change. This is where the Continuation Strategy comes in. The team consists of previous LWs and PMs whose sole purpose is to share the learning from the LWPM Service through the production of a suite of online tools that will help organisations embed the model. We are proud of what we achieved within the service and want to share this good practice far and wide to improve outcomes and access to services for anyone experiencing multiple disadvantages.
The COVID-19 Pandemic impacted on the planned work of the Continuation Strategy, as with most organisations across Birmingham, but we are not easily defeated. We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to produce a host of different tools which can be accessed here and will benefit any interested party wanting to adopt the model. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing podcasts (listen on Soundcloud, Spotify, and iTunes) newsletters, blogs, webinars and a ‘How to Guide’ on implementing the LWPM Model. These are open and honest accounts of our experiences within the LWPM Service, featuring stories from ex-clients about their experience accessing support and up to date accounts from services who have already joined us on this journey. Grab a coffee, settle down comfortably, and explore these resources at your leisure.
If this sparks your interest and you would like to know more about our work, please contact:
Christine Grover by email: Christine_Grover@shelter.org.uk or phone: 07795391202
Meet the team: