Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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New multiple needs service

June 08 2011
PCT comes up with a year’s funding for clients with a broad range of issues and gives gives the Coventry Cyrenians a new lease of life


In the March edition of The Pavement, we brought you the sad but, as it turns out, premature news that the Coventry Cyrenians charity was being forced to severely restrict the vital services it offers users following funding cutbacks. Happily, we can now report that the Cyrenians and Coventry Primary Care Trust have agreed that a more focused and targeted project - a Multiple Needs Service - should fill the void, and a further year’s funding has been secured specifically for this purpose.

“The Multiple Needs Service is aimed at clients who have no fixed abode, are in poor or inadequate housing, or are at risk of losing their accommodation,” explains project leader Lloyd Woolcock. “Our experience is that clients with complex needs require an integrated approach.”

The service also serves clients struggling with two or more of the following issues: mental health, substance misuse, personality disorder, offending behaviour, learning difficulties, physical health problems, challenging behaviour or vulnerability due to age.

Continues Lloyd: “It is also cheaper and more effective for an organisation like us to help resolve a person’s range of problems, rather than to let individual agencies deal with individual problems as and when they arise.

“One client has been in and out of short-stay hostels, has been sleeping on the street, has an issue with alcohol and is in poor health. Between January and March this year, he cost around £15,000 in ambulance call-outs, visits to A&E and overnight hospital stays. Working with Coventry Law Centre and Social Services, we identified the most suitable care package for him. He is now in supported accommodation, his alcohol consumption has gone down and the overall social costs associated with his care have been lowered significantly.

“Another thing we have discovered since starting the Multiple Needs Service is how many of the clients on our Rough Sleeper Service have multiple needs. The percentage is very high and clearly shows that if you are a rough sleeper, the chances are you have multiple needs.”

But undoubtedly the most difficult part of the work undertaken by Lloyd’s team is the complexity of managing multi-agency partnerships and accepting that in some cases, agencies are simply unable to understand the wider social benefits that come from dealing with a client’s issues. This difficulty is particularly acute when the Cyrenians’ window of opportunity is often so small. “We believe that this is a problem that will be remedied when our service has been promoted across the region, which is a challenge in itself for any small charity operating as we do at a local level.”