Opening address - Setting the Scene in Scotland Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Minister for Communities
Homeless Policy and Involvement in Rotterdam Geertien Pols, CVD Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Community Development and Regeneration Agenda in the UK
Helen Forsyth, Regeneration Director, Places for People
Panel discussion involving this morning’s speakers.
- Challenging Homelessness - Building Relationships,Stirling Council Mediation Service
- Greater Easterhouse Befriending Service
- Romanian experience People to People, Oradea
- Underground Young Parents’ Group
- Isolation in families - HomeStart
Underground Young Parent’s DVD
A copy of this dvd can be obtained from the Youth Development Team. Ring The Rock Trust on 0131 557 4059.
*Conference audio visual equipment sponsored by Visual Services Scotland www.visualservices.co.uk*
Developing Citizens and Communities Ewan Aitken COSLA Education Executive Group Chairman
- The importance of social networks for mental health and well-being.
- Person Centred Approaches for Social Care Workers
- Alone in London – Mediation
- Best practice from the Netherlands
- “The Cup with no Handle…” Social Networks & Homelessness in Glasgow
Conference Closure Romy Langeland
The conference was chaired by Romy Langeland. Romy was Vice Chair of The Rock Trust and Chief Executive of the Aberlour Child Care Trust. She has worked within social work and social care for over 35 years in the voluntary and statutory sectors, in management, staff development and training and in the development of new services. Romy joined the Board of The Rock Trust because of her commitment to the needs of young people who are leaving care and who are homeless for other reasons.
Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Minister for Communities “I share your view of the importance of positive social networks as a factor in the prevention of homelessness and in finding sustainable solutions. The Scottish Executive fully endorses the holistic approach to homelessness recommended by the Task Force and is committed to ensuring that the social, welfare, health, education and housing needs of homeless people are met.” This is reflected in the Ministerial Statement on Abolition of Priority Need by 2012 which refers to Social Networks and to this conference.
Geertien Pols from CVD Rotterdam in the Netherlands will give an overview of Rotterdam, the three targets set by the City Council, Cleanliness, Safety and “Heel” (meaning not broken) and how the clients advise her organisation and the City Council. Adult homelessness is addressed as a safety problem and together the organisations work with some success with about 700 people – from the street. They are planning to use the same approach for youngsters. Geertien sees the client involvement as clients learning to exercise their rights as citizens.
Helen Forsyth is Regeneration Director with Places for People and will speak on “The Community Development and Regeneration Agenda in the UK”. She will draw on over 25 years experience, in England and Scotland, in the independent and public sectors, in the fields of health, homelessness, mental health, community care, housing and now community regeneration. Helen was Managing Director of Edinvar Housing Association until last year when she moved to Places for People, a regeneration company working across the UK with ten companies presently part of its portfolio, developing communities of choice for all.
Ewan Aitken, a minister and politician committed to social inclusion, will speak on “Developing Citizens and Communities”. Ewan is the Executive Member for Children and Families on the City of Edinburgh Council and CoSLA Spokesperson for Education. Before going full-time as a councillor in 2002, he was a Parish minister for 7 years founding the Ripple Project offering community based services. Ewan is a freelance TV and radio broadcaster, Times Educational Supplement columnist and writer.
Pete Ritchie is renowned for setting up the Scottish Human Services Trust and for setting the agenda and leading policy formation on inclusion and advocacy. He is a community worker by training. Pete has a longstanding interest in the contribution of personal social networks and associational life to social inclusion and the safeguarding of vulnerable individuals. Pete will draw together the strands of the day, Discerning the Patterns.
Morning Breakout Groups
So what is the Underground Young Parents Group? Well it’s a safe space in Edinburgh for young people aged between 16 and 25 who are mums, dads or expecting their first child. This group aims to provide an environment where young excluded parents can take part in experiential learning and self directed group work in order to make positive lifestyle changes. Young parents will speak about the problems and prejudice they face and how they came to make the New Generation DVD.
Greater Easterhouse Befriending Service was launched in September 2003 and offers befriending to members of the community, who are perhaps isolated or lacking confidence due to alcohol and alcohol related problems. The project is run by a co-ordinator and a team of volunteers. The project aims to give the volunteer the opportunity to enter into a positive befriending relationship whilst enhancing existing skills, knowledge and becoming more self-aware. The aim of the service is to enable volunteers and service users to establish a supportive and understanding relationship, supporting appropriate goals and targets that service users have set for themselves.
Stirling Council Mediation Service. Stirling Council's homelessness mediation service operates in partnership with Quarriers with a remit to challenge the causes and assist with the prevention of homelessness through the integration of mediation into the mainstream. Brian Gibson, Mediation Coordinator, and his colleagues will be "Challenging Homelessness - Building Relationships".
HomeStart has 32 schemes throughout Scotland, is celebrating its 21st birthday in Scotland this year and supported over 2000 families. Dave Milliken has been Scottish director for over 8 years, having previously worked in the independent advice sector. HomeStart recently conducted a study into isolation in families (ones that HomeStart supported since this forms a significant part of what they do) and in the workshop Dave will look at what creates isolation in families and what can be done to help.
The focus of People to People, Oradea, Romania is on practical projects addressing poverty and its consequences. They work at the heart of communities to develop projects that enable long-term change for children. P2P Director, Nicu Gal will talk about one of their six key areas – Combating Discrimination and Social Exclusion. Children are overrepresented in state residential care and have poor or nonexistent access to education. Tens of children make the streets of Oradea their home and way of life. Victims of family break-ups, abandoned by poor parents, runaways from State orphanages – fleeing to city streets to search for a better life. Nicu argues that street outreach is only effective when it forms an integral part of a longer term rehabilitation, reintegration and reunification programme.
Afternoon Breakout Groups
The importance of social networks for mental health and well-being. We all need good mental health and well-being. Having and maintaining good social networks really matter for peoples’ mental health. This seminar will give an insight into mental health and well-being policy in Scotland, work in the field on the importance of social networks for individual, family and community mental health and well-being. Understanding the importance of social networks, what they mean and what they involve and how they can be developed, nurtured and maintained are crucial for well-being and for a mentally healthy Scotland. Come to this seminar with your own thoughts, experiences and ideas about how to take the social networks agenda forward for mental health and well-being. Seminar contributions to help initiate discussion will be from: Gregor Henderson, Director, National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being; Dr Allyson McCollam, Chief Executive, Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health; Richard Leckerman, Mental Health and Well-Being Co-ordinator, Communities Scotland.
"The Cup with no Handle..." Social Networks & Homelessness in Glasgow. This workshop aims to facilitate further discussion around the key objectives of this research, which was to ascertain how people affected by homelessness regard their own social networks; whether disrupted or negative networks contributed to their homelessness; whether specific support might have prevented or alleviated their homelessness; and what they intended or expected that their future (posthomelessness) social networks would look like. The model of service user involvement and consultation adopted for this research will also be explored and best practice shared. The report authors Margaret-Ann Brunjes, Jo Phillips and Claire Frew will facilitate the workshop.
Alone in London support young people under the age of 26, who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. Over 64% cite family breakdown as the major cause of their homelessness. The Family Mediation Service works to resolve family conflict and improve communication. The Prevention of Homelessness in Schools project provides support to young people in their schools to prevent relationship breakdown and homelessness. Sarah Leonard, Development Co-ordinator at Alone in London and an experienced trainer and facilitator will lead the workshop and give you an overview of the integrated approach to service provision and the Family Mediation Service.
Best practice from the Netherlands. Jennifer Wiessenhaan, from Stichting Flexus and Geertien Pols will discuss two very different projects. One for adults which is in development, is looking at analysing clients’ social networks and interests and combining a computer programme with telephone contacts to increase there social contacts. The second is a well established project for young people, the “TTeam”. The focus is on creating, together with the client, a good functioning social environment.
The Higher Education Certificate in Person Centred Approaches for Social Care Workers brings together the philosophies of the Person-Centred Approach and Person- Centred Planning. This accredited and innovative learning experience is designed for people who support others to lead valued and inclusive lifestyles based on individual choices and preferences. Nikki Bruce and her colleagues from Altrum consortium will show how the experience and impact of social exclusion is explored in modules dealing with community building; challenging behaviour reputations;sexuality; risk; and equality.
- present the evidence on how positive social networks can prevent and resolve homelessness,
- highlight the links to the wider social inclusion agenda and communities,
- share best practice from Europe, the UK and Scotland and consider how best to realise the wider potential.
'The individual within society' was a key theme of the conference. Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Minister for Communities said that “All of us are the product of our experiences and the people around us help shape those experiences.” He highlighted the Homelessness Task Force recommendation that “opportunities for positive social interaction should be pursued by all projects working with homeless people” and said that “The key issue is to establish what is appropriate for the individual.”
The Minister emphasised the role of good social networks in the prevention of homelessness, their wider role in mental health and well-being and the link to the 21st Century Social Work Review, “developing the capacity of individuals, families and communities to self care. ....… Good social networks can also promote improvements in policy areas as diverse as employability, education and anti-social behaviour. These multiple benefits mean real changes to people’s lives.” He highlighted the benefits of volunteering and said that “it is clear that the voluntary sector has a crucial role to play in this area – but there is also a strong role for statutory services and strong partnership working to ensure that social networks are an important consideration across housing, health and social work services. I would stress the need to work together to develop new services, but also to ensure the approach is considered across mainstream services – and not seen as a bolt-on.”
Plenary speakers and discussions shared a wide range of experience and ideas with delegates and highlighted the importance of social networks for the individual and the community. Geertien Pols from CVD Rotterdam in the Netherlands outlined how the involvement of clients in advising policy makers on homelessness was leading to positive changes and the development of clients as citizens. Helen Forsyth from Places for People explained how regeneration can be used to create successful communities. Ewan Aitken, CoSLA Spokesperson for Education, reflected on the role of the politician in nurturing communities and gathering people in social networks.
The ten different breakout groups gave delegates the opportunity to learn of experience from the Netherlands and Romania as well as from across Scotland and the UK and to look at a range of successful delivery models as well as innovative ideas, qualifications and research. Many topics related directly to homelessness but others made the link across the inclusion agenda to the role of social networks in mental health and well-being, in families and in communities.
Pete Ritchie drew together the day’s themes “Discerning the Patterns” and highlighted the theory and values we each brought to the process whether politician, policy maker, project worker, community member, volunteer or client.
The three themes of the day - nurture the environment; create connections with individuals; and build individuals capacity to sustain good enough networks - demonstrated how the potential of social networks to enhance individuals’ lives and the life of the community can be realised.
Details from the speeches, breakout groups and discussions can be accessed by clicking on the individual sessions on the “Conference Programme”