A referral was made by a social worker into Transforming Lives for a lady in her 50s who had moved from a refuge into her own flat. At the Transforming Lives panel meeting it was decided that Care Network would take the lead role in helping her connect with her new community and start to build a healthy and independent life.  

Alison* manages her life well with minimal support. She likes to keep busy, is really sociable and having people around and making friends is important to her. Alison has moderate learning difficulties causing some problems managing her money, sometimes spending more than she should.

  • One to One Wellbeing Consultation at Care Network Hub: We spent time finding out what Alison enjoyed as well as any worries she had about her new life. We introduced her to staff, volunteers, the building and the services and support offered from Care Network Hub.
  • Relax and Chat: We told her about the social groups at various locations across the borough and that she would be made to feel very welcome. Alison became a regular at two of the groups, which quickly became places where Alison could have fun and make new friends.
  • Neighbourhood Learning Courses, BwDBC: We talked Alison through the different options and helped her choose and reserve a place on a course that interested her.
  • Resolve, Disability Peer Support at Care Network Hub: She started to attend the fortnightly meetup offering peer support with other local people living with disabilities. Speakers attend the group and information gets shared to promote healthy and safe lives.
  • Community Connector, BwDBC: A referral was made so that Alison had someone to attend groups with for the first time and help her find her way around, as she was new to the area.
  • Healthy Homes: A full home assessment was carried out by our Healthy Homes Officer. The flat was sparse, with no aids and adaptations, the main safety concern was getting in and out of the bath. We contacted Adult Services to arrange for an assessment of need for aids and adaptations. Alison was choosing to wash in the sink until suitable aids and adaptations were fitted. Alison is really house proud and getting her flat feeling like a home was a priority for her.
  • Safe Trader Scheme: Over the next twelve months, Alison used various traders. Traders have worked with Alison to make sure jobs are carried out in manageable stages, ensuring she remained within her financial means. She’s delighted with how her flat has been decorated. Our gas plumber is working on trying to source a good quality second hand cooker to fit. The handyperson service has been to fix curtains and sort her television and digi-box.
Contact and support during COVID-19 lockdown

During lockdown Alison has been shielding at home alone. She has been finding the lack of contact with other people extremely difficult. Like many, she doesn’t use the internet. Alison has been in touch with Care Network by phone when she has needed support, and has received referrals and signposts into the following services to support her independence and wellbeing during this time, including;

  • Meet and Match: To alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation Alison was referred to telephone befriending and may access their relationship service, including sessions around safe dating when groups start again.
  • Safe Traders Scheme (STS): Alison’s toilet had become loose at the floor. She was feeling nervous about it and wanted one of Care Networks plumbers to replace it and prevent an accident. Knowing Alison lives in rented accommodation and to make sure she makes good decisions about spending money, the helpdesk explained this is the landlord’s responsibility and encouraged Alison to contact her landlord.
  • Healthy Homes Remote Support: As a result of hearing about Alison’s anxiety around the broken toilet she was referred to the Healthy Homes team and asked about how she was managing around the rest of her property. Alison said that she had recently fallen a couple of times while she’d been at home. As a result of this conversation we talked about the support she could get from Adult Services.
  • Adult Services Independent Living Service: Healthy Homes officer suggested that a toilet frame could provide additional safety and other aids and adaptations could prevent falls around her property. Alison assured our Healthy Homes Officer she was happy to refer herself to Adult Services and was given the telephone number. Healthy Homes staff contacted her the following day to check she had managed to contact them without any difficulties.

Alison contacted us a few days later to let us know that her landlord had been and fixed her toilet and Adult Services had given her aids and adaptations. She was so happy and grateful for the help and advice. ‘Thank you for your advice. It has been a really good day. I have now got my settee raised, my toilet is mended and a rail is being fitted around the toilet tomorrow.’

Improvements in health, wellbeing and independence

Over the last twelve months life has settled down for Alison. She has become a regular at Care Network Hub, attending groups and meeting up with her new friends as well as dropping in when she is in town to receive any reassurances or support around living happily, safely and independently. She accesses other services and offers in the community and has been managing her new life really well. She knows her way around her new town, and is delighted with all the work that’s been done to turn her flat into a home she is proud of. During COVID-19 lockdown, she has been able to access telephone support with people she trusts and who know her background.

The Care Network approach

Care Network’s role in delivering services at a local level in Blackburn with Darwen, supports Alison’s healthy home environment, her physical and emotional wellbeing, her sense of connection and being a part of something and has helped her better manage and plan her finances.

  • Healthy Homes: A number of interventions, through home visits and over the phone providing advice and support for independence and safety at home.
  • Safe Trader Scheme, Helpdesk and the trade businesses: An understanding and caring approach from our helpdesk and trades people, ensures Alison considers her finances, letting her know about landlord responsibilities, so that she makes good decisions about what to spend her money on.
  • Care Network Hub: Reassurances, information and referrals for Alison around good emotional and physical wellbeing.

Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart. You do a magnificent job and go far beyond what you need to do. I would recommend Care Network to anybody

*This person’s real name hasn’t been used to protect their privacy and identity