If you are about to become homeless or are currently experiencing homelessness, contact West Lothian council on 01506 280 000 or visit your local council office to inform the council of your situation. They will take the appropriate steps to place you in a safe and secure location with temporary accommodation.
WHAT WE OFFER
Our long experience of successfully managing the service together with the expertise of our SSSC registered staff means that we have a good understanding of the needs of the young people. We have a track record of providing effective and timely support to enable young people to meet their desired outcomes.
During their time-limited residence in the accommodation unit, work will be undertaken with the young person to enable them to develop the capacity to live independently and safely.
There are 3 stages of support:
Intensive support on arrival to address basic support needs
Development and implementation of a personalised support plan to support the young person in achieving their agreed outcomes. This includes referrals to appropriate services as identified.
Planning and transitional support for move-on
Young people must be between the ages of 16-25 and they are eligible to stay until the day of their 26th birthday.
Referrals for our Craigshill Accommodation Service come from the West Lothian Council and other referring agencies. They will:
Identify young people who require the service.
Refer young people to the service.
Complete the Single Shared Assessment.
Be available to discuss and set joint outcomes with the young person and Open Door.
Have a discussion / plan for the initial anticipated length of stay.
Craigshill Supported Accommodation Service
This project is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 day per year and provides accommodation for up to six months for single people aged 16 – 26 years who are experiencing homelessness or about to become homeless. Each young person is allocated a key worker who, along with other agencies, provides help, support, advice, and advocacy on a wide range of issues with a view to supporting young people on to long term suitable accommodation. The aim is to equip each young person with the skills required to allow them to go on a live independently in the community.
Accommodation is provided in nine one and two bedroom flats within the West Lothian locality for up to sixteen young people. The age group is 16 – 26 year olds and the accommodation is provided within the community in shared and single flats. This form of supported living is designed to facilitate the transition to sustainable, independent living. The service provides practical and emotional support to young people to enable them to achieve independence. Support is provided by allocated support workers and support is available from 9 am to 9 pm, seven days per week.
We will ensure that young people in our service are supported with access to food while they are waiting for their UC claims to be processed. They are also assisted with cooking classes, menu planning and budgeting. If they cannot reasonably be expected to provide their own food we will assist them in a number of ways such as our access to the local food bank and the FareShare Scheme. We have maintained relationships with organisations who regularly donate food such as Greggs, Lidl and Tesco.
We also provide group cookery classes run by project support.
Open Door Community Outreach Services
The Open Door Community Outreach Service was, established in May 2018 to provide visiting support within the boundaries of West Lothian Council to young people aged 16-25 years of age who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The 40 young people we currently support either are in the main, sofa surfing, living in bed & breakfast accommodation or have recently moved into their first tenancy.
This project targets hard to reach young people who can at, times be untrusting of statutory services. Many have lengthy care histories and most have experienced a breakdown of family relationships. The majority are suffering high anxiety, depression is common, confidence levels are low and there is a constant struggle to move forward positively with their lives.
The Community Outreach service supports young people throughout the period that they are homeless, linking them in with community based services where appropriate. Once the young person is offered a permanent tenancy we provide a 12 week programme of resettlement with a view that if longer term support is still required we will link them in with an appropriate Tenancy Support Service.
This project was initially part funded through the European Social Fund and is presently funded with grants from the Robertson Trust, Nationwide Building Society and West Lothian Development Trust. Securing future funding is essential to the continuation of this much-needed service and the Board have set that objective as the highest priority for our part-time fundraising officer.
Community benefits the service provides
The benefits to the wider West Lothian community would include the following.
Lower demand being placed on walk in NHS mental health services.
Young people will better sustain current accommodation arrangements and are less likely to present, as roofless to West Lothian Council.
Helping to resolve conflict within the family setting.
Reducing social isolation and linking people to existing services.
Reduced anti-social behaviour within the wider community.
Young people are better connected with Community Services
Young people are better prepared to take on their responsibility as a tenant.
Model of support - "Journey of change"
The Outcome Star for people with housing and other needs is the main intervention model that is practiced within this service. The Outcome Star is completed collaboratively by the worker and the service user. The Star provides a framework for conversation between the service user and the practitioner, and supports both parties to reflect on the strengths and challenges that exist.
On their individual “journey of change”. People make changes in their own way but the pattern is often similar. Learning how change works can be most useful.
Staff advise, support and educate young people with problems they may be experiencing such as:
Addiction. All staff are trained in alcohol intervention techniques. We work with West Lothian Drug and Alcohol Service and other relevant agencies to support young people who choose to engage in risk taking behaviour.
Anti-social behaviour. We work with young people to repair relationships and support them to liaise with any applicable organisation e.g. Neighbourhood Response Team.
Rent Arrears. We support young people to address arrears where possible. We liaise with housing officers to ensure benefits are maximised or putting repayment plans in place. We assist them with Universal Credit.
Social isolation/ exclusion. We support young people in integrating with the accommodation unit and provide a range of social activities. We provide access to computer equipment – this enables young people to keep up with friends and family via social media.
Criminal behaviour. We work with partner organisations e.g. Criminal Justice. We support young people to consider their implications of their risk-taking behaviour and to comply with any sanctions currently in place e.g. bail conditions, community payback orders etc.
Health and Wellbeing. We will ensure that the young people’s health and wellbeing needs are addressed.
Skills Development. We will develop the skills of the young people by advising them on skill development programmes available, social activities, food preparation and hygiene, access to courses and training, budgeting, CV and interview skills.
We use Outcomes Star to help young people make changes to improve their lives. The Star looks at ten areas of their lives and helps them by thinking about change as a journey with different stages. Outcomes are outlined in each young person’s support plan and will ensure that the young people we work with have all of the independent living skills they need to move on with their lives.
Health and Wellbeing Service
Open Door has secured funding to establish an independent advocacy post to promote young people's mental health and wellbeing as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. We provide advocacy support to young people and undertake participative activities to influence future practice in relation to the promotion of mental health and wellbeing.
We work with young people to put together a range of ‘Health and Wellbeing’ groups and activities to improve their general mental and physical health, including supporting with smoking cessation, general exercise, personal and oral hygiene and sexual health and relationships
The Health and Wellbeing Officer provide confidential 1-1 and group-work opportunities for young people aged 16-25 who are affected by or are at risk of homelessness, helping them develop coping skills to support their mental health.
We have very good and long-established links with all relevant service providers across West Lothian and with all key partner agencies.
Our partners include:
PRINCIPAL FUNDING SOURCES
The principal source of funding for the Project comes from West Lothian Council and West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership operated by West Lothian Council and NHS Lothian. Over the past year we have continued to develop and diversify our funding streams.
The Outreach project is funded by the Robertson Trust, Nationwide and the West Lothian Development Trust.
We continually bid for funding for other projects.
By making a donation you can allow us to continue to deliver our vital services for vulnerable young people. All money raised through your donations will be spent directly on young people