Recovery and new beginnings With strength and determination for a better life, together with the right support, Diamond has been making major steps in her recovery. Background Diamond had been in a number of abusive relationships. Both Diamond and her partner had alcohol and substance addictions. At the end of summer 2016 Diamond’s partner attacked her, causing actual bodily harm. The relationship ended, Diamond was left badly beaten, withdrawing from drugs, running up debt, and using aerosols which further compromised her mental health. She was hallucinating and at risk of causing herself harm. Emergency services were being called by concerned family, friends and neighbours. One week the Police had been called 35 times, the Fire Service called to get emergency access to her home, and mental health services were looking at a mental health section for her safety, however due to her drug use, would not intervene. It was at this point Early Action Police Team became involved. Diamond was referred to domestic abuse services, drug services and was supported by local early action police officers to make initial appointments. Due to Diamond’s substance misuse at this time she found it difficult to keep up with appointments and ended up being asked to leave services as her behaviour was increasingly unpredictable. She continued to be discussed at Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and at Locality Meetings however there were few options of support available for Diamond to access. Early Action Police Officers worked with Diamond until she came to a place where she accepted that she needed support. Police then referred Diamond to Care Network who picked up a role to coordinate her support under Keeping Well Project and Transforming Lives. Keeping Well During the next two years Care Network Hub provided a reliable place for Diamond to access. Staff supported her to build positive, trusting relationships with other services so that she could be supported in her recovery and ultimately so that she can achieve her aspirations. Diamond was given control of her support options and was helped to try out services and find things that worked for her. She was encouraged, reassured and was offered a listening ear to reflect and discuss her experiences. ‘I’ve always had problems with authority, working with the Police wasn’t for me, that’s when I was referred to Care Network.’ Throughout Diamond’s recovery journey, she has been introduced to, offered and accepted support from the following agencies; Lancashire Mind, Keeping Well: An introduction to a Wellbeing Coach provided space and an opportunity for Diamond to explore her current situation, vent frustrations, learn ways to relieve stress, improve self-value and nurture her self-esteem. Diamond was able to work with her wellbeing coach to make choices about future support she might like and was supported to take charge of her own care. In Partnership Project: If she had continued to live alone in her private tenancy she would have struggled to make the necessary steps to her recovery. For her safety and success in recovery Early Action Police referred Diamond into supported accommodation, with a supporting statement supplied by Care Network. Diamond explained that she almost didn’t meet the criteria to be accepted. ‘They [Care Network and Police] had to work hard to make sure people understood that I wanted to change and make sure that people weren’t taking me on face value or based on my reputation.’ Shelter Lancashire, Debt Support: Diamond had rent arrears due to suddenly becoming the sole tenant in her house. Each week she was getting further into debt. Diamond explained how this caused anxieties ‘Being in debt is just a really bad feeling for me. I had applied for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) but it had been rejected, due to not having enough evidence. Shelter applied for me and I was awarded DHP of £750. If you have rent arrears I know it negatively affects your ability to rent in the future, it was important that I cleared my debt.’ Shelter Lancashire, Welfare and Benefit Support: Diamond had been on a low level of ESA, Shelter supported her to apply for and be awarded Personal Independent Payments (PIP). This additional income reduced her money worries and allowed Diamond to spend time working through her mental health and substance issues. In addition it provided funds so that Diamond could afford the transport and have contact with her children. ICANN (Independent Community Advocacy Network Northwest): Diamond was accompanied by an independent advocate during her medical assessment. She was given a mock interview so she had an opportunity to know what to expect, reduce her anxieties and feel supported. This gave Diamond the opportunity to think about her responses which in turn helped her feel less anxious about attending her assessment. Change Grow Live, Inspire: Diamond hadn’t previously engaged with Inspire, but a shift in her entire outlook and commitment to combating her alcohol addiction saw her engaging with Inspire and working really hard to provide the necessary evidence and demonstrate personal progress and commitment to allow her funding for a full rehabilitation programme. Blackburn with Darwen Neighbourhood Learning Team, Positive Minds Courses: Diamond registered on a ‘Cook, Eat and Unwind’ course. She had been so inspired, she began working towards achieving the criteria needed to get onto Further Education and start a course at Blackburn College. ‘I’ve passed my food safety 1 and 2 now and hoping to start Culinary Skills at college in September.’ Following on from her initial progress throughout the course Diamond was asked back to help prepare a community Christmas meal for vulnerable adults in the area surrounding the college. Diamond has also supported others in her housing scheme to learn cooking skills and worked together to make meals for each other. Blackburn College: Diamond had enjoyed the cooking programme through Positive Minds so much that she wanted to explore additional training in this area. Diamond was supported to look through the prospectus and apply for a suitable course. ‘I didn’t realise how much I liked cooking. I’ve always enjoyed feeding other people but didn’t know how to follow a recipe, I’d just put something in the oven. Now I can’t see myself doing anything else other than cooking and working in a kitchen’ I never feel like I’m coming in to see a support worker. I feel like I’m coming in to see my mates. I’m just checking in to let them know that I’m okay. And if I want some help with something at the same time you help me with that too... Care Network approach Personalisation and respect for Diamond combined with building trusting relationships with professionals and working alongside her to promote her self-determination and build her self-esteem has supported Diamond to achieve long lasting positive outcomes. Care Network has supported Diamond to: access practical support and services have positive engagement and build trusting relationships with services work with other professionals to achieve the best outcomes empower her as an individual in her family and community work through conflict supporting her to self-manage and work towards keeping well Things were bothering me a lot, I was feeling resentment. Naomi explains things well to me and helped me to understand my reactions to things. I’ve not got the resentments or anger issues now. I feel confident that I can go and speak to professionals and people in authority. My old self would have gone about it all wrong. I've realised that my past experiences affect my behaviour and I can change my reactions to things and the way that I communicate. Health and wellbeing outcomes Diamond has been through rehab and is working on her sobriety daily with support of regular meetings. She is working towards her dream career and has almost completed her Professional Skills within the Food Industry, Level 2 at Blackburn College. Diamond has been living in a supported tenancy since leaving rehab and is currently making plans to move into her own home and live independently together with her daughter. Diamond’s journey towards a stable and happy future has snowballed, she shows promise and commitment to realising her dreams and aspirations towards a life committed to herself, her family, and a future where she will find a career and achieve financial independence. Thank you for the services. If you weren’t here I’d still be in the same position, Care Network doesn’t act like an authority, you’re working alongside me, and that has made all the difference.