December Service Spotlight – Supported Housing
For this month’s Service Spotlight, we sat down with Housing Manager Fiona (who is Bath Mind’s longest standing employee after joining Bath Mind as a volunteer in 2003!), to find out what Bath Mind’s Supported Housing services provide and who they support.
Can you tell us about the Residential Care Home?
We provide supported housing to people who are experiencing mental ill health. We have one 24-hour supported house in Bath, and two properties (one in Bath and one in Chippenham) which offer one-bedroom, self-contained flats with minimum support from Bath Mind staff provided to help each tenant move towards independent living over a 2-year period.
What sort of support does your team provide?
We can support each person with their recovery goals – such as improving living skills, accessing education or work opportunities, and finding social connections in the community. We work with people on a one-to-one basis to support them to achieve their lifestyle choices, improve their self-esteem, find strategies and tools to improve their wellbeing and effect decisions that shape their lives.
Why is Supported Housing important?
Safe housing is the foundation of wellbeing and our service provides a vital steppingstone towards a secure and independent home. We support people to stay at home during periods of crisis by building strong, trusting relationships that can stabilise people during these times. We also have good relationships with the community mental health team and other services such as B&NES Housing Options and the Homelessness Partnership, which gives us good pathways for clients with both housing and mental health needs.
What sorts of challenges do your clients face?
A range of challenges such as homelessness and social isolation. For some of our clients, this is the first time in their lives that they have had their own kitchen and are able to have their friends round for dinner. For others, they have come from situations where they have felt lonely and unable to cope. All of our clients have said that our service has given the time, space and understanding to recover from the impact on their lives from mental ill health.
We signpost our clients to other services in Bath Mind, where needed, which has enabled them to improve the quality of their lives, both whilst they are in the housing service and once they move on.
What are some of the successful outcomes you see from clients after they’ve utilised Supported Housing?
Clients who have moved from situations such as sleeping on the streets to securing and managing their own tenancy. It is important to say that this is done through good partnership working with other vital organisations, such as DHI and B&NES Housing Options. Some of our clients need some time with our service to find their confidence and coping strategies after periods of hospitalisation, so seeing a client go from having low self-esteem and extreme social anxiety or withdrawal, to having a relationship and a busy social life has been a joy to see.
What’s your favourite thing about working in the Supported Housing services?
I’m proud to say I am the longest serving Bath Mind employee and have seen all the work that Bath Mind has done to address the inequalities and impact of mental ill health on individuals and the community. It is an honour and a privilege to get to know our clients and work with them to find ways of identifying and addressing the impact they may have experienced, and support them to find ways to improve the quality of their lives.
And the hardest part?
Having limited resources to access such as housing stock for people to move on to, which makes working in partnership with other organisations more important than ever.
Thank you Fiona for telling us all about the Supported Housing services, and to the team for their hard work! You can find out more here.
Posted on: 13th December 2022