Published: 14 July 2023
The Changing Futures programme will now be able to help more vulnerable people in Westminster transform their lives thanks to a funding boost from central government.
Westminster City Council’s programme -the only one in London- takes a radical approach to working with individuals facing multiple disadvantages. Now into its third year of operating, the council’s specialist team identify individuals who have fallen through the gaps of traditional support or are no longer eligible for support and face multiple disadvantages.
Emma (not real name), for example, was referred to the team after showing signs of paranoia and impulsive behaviours, but due to her circumstances and age her support was due to end. After years in the care system, Emma had a history of depression, self-harm and a number of psychiatric hospital admissions.
Emma began with 2 to 3 visits each week with a specialist from the team, to develop and sustain a strong, trusting therapeutic relationship to support her. She was also introduced to a Changing Futures peer mentor to support her skills.
As a result of the Changing Futures programme, she has been discharged from all mental health teams and there has been no need for mental health involvement in over 6 months. Emma is planning to return to university this autumn, following a break in studies due to her poor mental health. She feels confident in being able to manage difficult emotions and continues to enjoy weekly Theraplay sessions.
Now, an additional £1.2million worth of funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and The National Lottery Community Fund will mean even more residents like David (not real name) will be able to benefit.
When specialists first met David, he was an isolated figure within the community, rarely engaging with his neighbours and spending most of this time in his flat which was in a poor and unsanitary condition. Alongside his poor diet, David was a heavy smoker however, he did not feel confident enough to attend health appointments.
By slowly building trust with David, outreach officers built a strong relationship with David learning about his love of nature and football. Through weekly visits, David is now working to plan healthy meals, engage more with his neighbours, and looking into a digital inclusion course with a new laptop.
The additional year of funding will allow the programme to continue delivering their flagship services and support until at least March 2025
On hearing the announcement, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities Public Protection and Licensing, Cllr Aicha Less said:
The time and effort the Changing Futures team put in to working with young adults is unmatched and completely inspirational. Securing more funding means we can continue to get people like Emma and David to get their lives back on track.”
“The focus for the team is now looking to learn from previous work, informing future service delivery and transforming young people’s lives in line with our Fairer Communities principles to reduce health inequalities.”