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Derby City Council: working with young people to support them ‘to get a life not a service’

Related imageAt Derby City Council we are testing a new innovative way of working with young people 16+ to support them improve their life pathway – ‘to get a life not a service’.  This involves testing an already established and successful approach within our adult social care system locally, to understand its transferability across the rest of our directorate.  The Innovation Programme allowed us to widen this remit to start working with young people aged 16+.

What is Local Area Coordination?
Local Area Coordination was first developed nearly 30 years ago in Western Australia and is an evidence based approach which works for people of all ages. Local Area Coordinators;

What are we learning?

Our emerging work with the young people who have invited us into their lives and introduced us to their communities, has been an incredibly humbling, thought provoking and enjoyable experience. The young people we have come into contact with have already had a significant impact on what we do and how we do it. Taking time to stop, reflect and take stock, it feels as though we are at a tipping point right now. A lot of work has been done to prepare the ground for the approach to take hold and grow roots.  As a result I feel confident that we can have a positive impact alongside the young people, their neighbours, communities and services we come into contact with. Our greatest challenge, as with any innovation is how we move from a point where we help a few people beat the odds to changing the odds for everyone.

Case study

Marissa (local area coordinator) worked with Paul and Sarah to offer just enough support so they felt in control and build their confidence.

When Marissa first worked with Paul and Sarah she accompanied them to talk to their landlord about the state of their property due to mould and damp in their bedrooms. Following the meeting, they had managed to get repairs including an emerging sense of self-belief and resilience. They began to take pride in their home, redecorating and furnishing where they can and with a little advice sourced furniture and baby items for their young child.
A few months on and the family have now moved off benefits and Paul is in employment, financially becoming more independent with Sarah looking to set up her own ironing business. This includes Sarah researching stay and play groups with her son, to enable her to be more involved in the community and get to know people, Sarah reports not having the confidence to do this before. The family are now paying their own rent, and have even set up a bank account for their child for when he grows up. He is no longer on a child protection plan. Paul and Sarah feel that Marissa spent time listening to them and supported them to do things for themselves, although she didn’t bring resources, she bought a positive approach and a belief that Paul and Sarah had their own answers to the issues they faced.