Finding safe accommodation for vulnerable people is difficult these days, but Avondalecare offers a plethora of different accommodation options which even allows people to move internally within our service to get the support and accommodation which best matches their needs. So what can we offer?
We have over the last decade developed a network with local landlords which allow us to access accommodation without personal and financial references being taken up. We have also developed agreements and partnerships with our local credit union to support service users getting the financial resources required when taking a new flat. Service users have more responsibility in organising their own bills and finances but are still heavily supported as any service user is while in service as new needs develop.
Avondalecare service for all service users.
- All service users have free and unlimited access to our sponsored community organisation Spring-Ways. Peer and professional support is offered here daily on top of the key support offered by the key worker.
- Out of hours support 0800 0148367
- Financial and budgeting support through the local Credit Union
- Internal 'Cleaning and Maintenance' services
- One to one designated support worker to develop a personally written support plan
This is non residential care, shared supported accommodation. We have a number of units around East Kent with varying numbers of beds from 2-6. We currently have 7 units are currently in:
This is part of our community support service where individuals are supported through a designated key worker. The service user will be expected to contribute a regular amount towards the house bills. The support offered in these environments can be more intensive and is easier to facilitate as we have access to the buildings. Having responsibility over the house allows us to reduce the risk to service users who may struggle to take full responsibility for a full single occupancy tenancy. These units have been very successful for individuals moving out of residential care who still require a flexible amount of oversight as they develop their own skills and coping mechanisms.
Avondalecare has a newly refurbished and reregistered 7 bed residential care in Westgate. It provides 24/7 support and is registered with CQC. All residents have key workers and the house is designed to afford every opportunity for service user to recover and develop the skills to rehabilitate themselves to take advantage of internal step down placements, where more independence, freedoms and responsibilities are offered.
We asked service users to let us know how Avondalecare has been of use on their life journey. We deliberately asked for it to be positive, in order for the process to fit in with our solution focused approach with service users. We asked them to think about the recent positive developments in their life. The process was a positive one for all involved including the staff. This is what they said: (* Some comments have been edited to help retain confidentiality and anonymity).
"With any mental health issues many people find that their lives change dramatically. Often, once in the grips of depression or psychosis, we, the sufferers, become isolated from society. Our home lives are affected and our interactions with others are hindered. Having agoraphobia and bpd meant a huge change to the way I viewed myself and place in the world. I was lost and struggling to find a way to recover. Avondalecare provided me with support, and a worker who, when trying to work through my many problems, was non-judgmental, positive and offered me a look at where my future could be. I would say that the greatest gifts Avondalecare gave me was hope, a future, inclusion in a society I had for many years been on the outskirts of and the ability to see that I suffer from mental health issues, but am not defined by them."
"In the past I have had a lot of mental health problems, mostly because of drug use and alcohol abuse. Since coming to Avondalecare I must admit at first I was still using some drugs but with the help of Avondalecare, my friends and family I have managed to stop taking drugs and drinking alcohol. My mental health has vastly improved - I have stopped spending hundreds of pounds on unhealthy [habits] and started eating healthy and have learned a lot about cooking and how to carry out household chores."
"My illness started in 1980. In 1981 my mother suffered a stroke; I have been living in different care homes since. At one place... [I suffered physical abuse]. At another [home] I was punched ...and I was dragged out of bed and hit. Avondalecare has been really good to me. It is a lovely place to live. Thanks to the staff."
"For 10 years I slept on the streets, and had a lot of trouble because of it. Since coming to Avondalecare my thoughts ....are better now, I am happy now, and get to experience things that I have not done before like going to the horse racing festivals."
"I suffer from a rare medical condition... and also have a personality disorder. Most of my life has been spent in and out of an institutionalized setting. Avondalecare is a family orientated environment whether residential or solo based. It provides a wide range of activities i.e. football, pool, cinema, photography and a social club as well as a care component available to everyone. Since joining Avondalecare it has helped me to have a social life which was virtually on existent before. Along with the support that the staff provide this has helped me with confidence when socialising with other people, and generally integrate in society. Avondalecare are also helping me to complete my NVQ level 2."
"I do believe that Avondalecare staff know how to make blobby’s out of lumps! ‘lumps were us!!’"
"When I was ill I was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia. I went into a mental health unit eight years ago. I have been in many different units and was living at the last one for two years. Then I went to Avondalecare and I have been here ever since. I feel like the staff have looked after me 100% because as a result of this care my confidence has grown and my self esteem is high and I am assertive when I need to be. I am not scared anymore. When I need to speak to any staff member of Avondalecare I know they will listen."
Are there any restrictions as to who can receive the service?
There are currently no restrictions for referral into residential care apart from the issue of the availability of a bedroom within the registered homes. When referring for community support service, service users need to be receiving an 'enhanced' CPA.
Can I talk to someone to see if the service is suitable?
Of course, please use the 'contact us' and speak to one of the Community Support Managers or Care Home Managers
Making a self referral.
The service is, of course, open to all so you may self refer. Your social worker may need to re-assess you to see if this service is necessary. It may therefore be advantageous to include your social worker in the referral process.
What is the process of referral?
Once a service has been highlighted as being a possibility the following would need to happen:
- An application form will need to be filled in and returned along with extra information as highlighted in the application form.
- We will then make arrangements to meet with the individual to carry out assessment.
- We will then make a decision about whether we can meet the support needs of the person. This will be communicated to the service user and the social worker.
- A support worker will be assigned by Avondalecare who will meet the service user in order to start the process of developing a support plan.
At Avondalecare we work successfully with a very wide range of needs and we tailor our support to be what is most practical and useful.
Every referral we get is considered on an individual basis. No case will be dismissed automatically on the basis that an individual falls into a category we do not work with. Our only principal criteria is that the individual be willing to work with us.
We have extensive experience dealing with some of the most challenging problems associated with mental health illness. We have successfully worked with clients who:
- Have drug and alcohol related problems
- Have been diagnosed with personality disorders
- Have a forensic history of violence
We also have a number of clients who have a high degree of independence and simply require support in one or two specific areas such as lifts to shops/appointments or help managing finances.
All of our clients will have:
- A qualified support worker for one to one support
- Support visits at a time and place that is convenient to them
- Variable levels of support that respond to an individual’s needs without interfering with their independence
- Help to find and maintain their own private accommodation if required
- Help to find opportunities to engage in voluntary work if desired
- Access to the busy Social Inclusion Centre which provides a wide range of social activities
- Access to the Emergency Out of Hours telephone line
To ensure we are able to assist other Care Professionals our organisation:
- Participates in Psychiatric and Care Programme Approach review meetings when requested
- Supports the medical approach and provides regular reports to Social Workers/CPN’s and/or Psychiatrists whenever necessary.
- Have protocols for helping to maintain medication compliance.
How we provide support
After receiving a referral the process of providing support will normally follow these three stages: Assessment, Settling In and Recovery.
After receiving a referral Avondalecare will arrange to visit the individual wherever is appropriate, including in hospital if necessary. The meeting is quite informal and provides the service user with the opportunity to meet one or two senior members of staff and ask any questions they may have.
The meeting also enables Avondalecare to get a better understanding of the person’s current needs, priorities and goals. Together with any relevant paperwork supplied by the Local Authority we use this information to begin drawing up a comprehensive support plan that considers their needs including psychological, social and financial issues.
If accommodation is required:
If service users do not have their own arrangements for accommodation then Avondalecare will be happy to help. We have extensive experience in sourcing affordable and pleasant housing options and are usually able to do so in a relatively short space of time.
Any specific housing needs or preferences (such as a garden, disabled access etc.) can be discussed at the initial meeting. We will then contact various existing partners with whom we work to arrange suitable accommodation options for the client that best meet their needs. We always endeavour to provide a range of options for service users to consider and will make arrangements for them to view the accommodation before making their decision.
Settling In Stage
Once it has been agreed by all parties for a client to come to us for support there will usually be a period of intensive support to help them settle in, especially if new accommodation is required. An experienced settlement worker will begin supporting the client from the time the support plan has been agreed to ensure a successful settlement. Later a suitable long term support worker may be appointed.
Support at the settling in stage can include things like:
- Help to register with local GP, Dentist etc.
- Ensuring there is sufficient furnishings, heating and electric for accommodation and support with cleaning/repairs to their own homes if necessary
- Help to organise any new medication regimes (blister packs/appointments for injections/Clozapine clinic)
- Applying for any necessary benefits or any other support to organise finances
- Attended CPA meetings if requested
Recovery Stage (Main Team)
Once a client has become settled and has all their immediate needs met the level of our support adapts to whatever the assessed needs of the individual are. The goal will be for them to have the necessary amount of contact with their support worker that is helpful in maintaining an independent, stable lifestyle.
If at any point a client becomes unwell, we work alongside the relevant authorities and organisations to try to help that individual to recover stability without being hospitalised. If however periods of hospitalisation do occur then we will continue to visit and offer whatever support may be required.
It is worthy of note that the vast majority of Avondalecare clients see a significant reduction in the frequency of readmissions to hospital. We believe this is because the regularity of contact enables our staff to spot triggers early and resolve them before hospitalisation is required.
Avondalecare are committed to encouraging greater social integration for individuals and families who are coping with mental health problems. We therefore welcome anyone who is interested in a volunteer position who feels that they would like to contribute to the benefit of their local community. We appreciate the benefit to all that comes from having a staff group that is drawn from all sections of our community and welcome enquiries from anyone irrespective of their age, gender, race or other factors.
- A volunteer position at Avondalecare is great way to help and improve your local community
- You can really help people to make significant improvements in their quality of life
- You will gain a greater understanding of mental health issues
- Avondalecare has an excellent free training programme for all volunteers which will not only improve your CV but also broaden your personal life experience.
We have links with both Kent University and Canterbury Christchurch University to provide volunteer positions to undergraduates wishing to improve the quality of their studies.
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to gain experience in the ‘real world’ of working in the mental health/social care field. It will also give you a greater understanding of what life is like for people who live with a wide range of mental health issues. This will not only be valuable to future employers in the Social Care sector but will also help you understand more accurately the needs of service users and how you can best help them.
Our free training programme will also enable you to gain practical qualifications in addition to your degree.
Service Users Volunteer Positions
We are happy to have any enquiries from service users who wish to volunteer at Avondalecare.
At Avondalecare we want the service we provide to be of genuine benefit so we encourage our service users to have part in directing any future developments in the service we provide. It is of great value to have constructive input from those who actually use the service so that we can improve and maintain what actually works for people. We would be happy to hear from any service users who would like volunteer to contribute to the service we provide
Service user volunteers can be especially helpful and encouraging to new service users as they provide a great example of the potential for recovery. In many cases they also have a fuller understanding of the challenges mental health problems cause and can draw on their own experience of how to deal with these difficulties successfully.
"I have been volunteering at Avondalecare for a number of month now and since volunteering, I have learnt a lot from first hand experience and each day has been an eye opener. This type of work is very rewarding as you can see individuals improve over time and it makes you realise not to take certain things in life for granted. Avondalecare put the needs of the service user first and I believe they have their best interests at heart." - Kent University under-graduate volunteer
Avondalecare are committed to providing a genuinely effective service that is of real benefit within mental health services. To provide a high quality service it is essential that we invest heavily in our workforce as they are vital to the success and effectiveness of this goal.
If you are a person who feels they have the compassion, determination and enthusiasm to contribute to this goal and you are looking for rewarding work that makes a real difference in peoples’ lives then we will be happy to hear from you.
As one of our aims is to help as many people in our community as possible we welcome applications from every sector of that community irrespective of age, race, gender or any other factor. We are principally interested in the strength of your motivation to help other people.
Working in the social care field is not like working in an office or a shop, it is at times emotionally challenging but equally it is deeply satisfying to be able to really help a person in their time of need. Avondalecare fully support their staff to give of their best and help provide the training, resources and support structure necessary to give high quality care.
We offer a comprehensive training programme that goes beyond just the basic legal requirements so that all of our staff are able to continually progress and improve in their professional development.
Community Support Worker
Avondalecare requires a community support worker to provide support to persons recovering from poor mental health. We are looking for a motivated person to fit into a pre-existing team within the East Kent Area. This position will include managing a case load of individuals living in the community whilst ensuring a good rapport and trusting relationship is built with individuals to help deliver the best possible outcomes. We are looking for an individual with:
Good communication and interpersonal skills.
A practical outlook with problem solving skills.
A genuine interest in people.
A positive and encouraging effect on other people.
Good self management skill and awareness.
An understanding of CQC standards for providing support.
Good literacy skills to communicate in writing and within care plans/risk assessments the current concerns and plans of support for dealing with service user issues.
NVQ/QCF L3 or higher in Care or equivalent subject.
Experience working with persons recovering from Mental Health issues.
NVQ/QCF L2 in Care or equivalent subject.
2 years experience working in a health and social care setting.
ICT, Maths and English GCSE grade C or above.
Clean driving licence and car.
An interest in mental health.
Positions are subject to satisfactory CRB check.
If you do not hear from us to invite you to interview within 2 weeks, please assume that your application was unsuccessful.
Avondalecare is a provider of practical, effective, recovery focused support for persons with poor mental health. We are seeking apprentices to work along side our patient, calm and motivated team that ensure the highest level of support for our clients. We will offer our apprentices full training in a practical working environment and specific qualifications in order to develop and further their new skills.
We are interested in applicants who may have had a desire for higher education. Successful applicants will work within in our Community Team offering specialised support for people recovering from a range of mental illnesses.
Apprentices will be paid at an hourly rate of £3.00-6.00 on a progressive pay scheme, 30-38 hours per week and on a full time basis.
Report on Avondalecare’s Wellbeing Survey
In order to continue our focus on delivering a service that is progressive and which produces improvements in the quality of service users’ lives we conducted a survey to measure current feelings of mental wellbeing within the service user group. We also surveyed service users’ perception of the mental wellbeing before they began to receive support from Avondalecare and compared the two results.
Between Friday 18th May and Friday 25th May 2012, service users were asked to complete a survey based on the Warwick Edinburgh Mental WellBeing Scale*, either over the phone or at the Social Inclusion Centre. The survey consisted of fourteen positively worded statements that covered various aspects of well being. Service users were asked to give an answer on a scale of 1 – 5 to represent how often they felt the statement had applied in the last two weeks. They were then asked to consider their situation before they began receiving support from Avondalecare and to answer the same questions but in reference to that time period.
Of the 62 Avondalecare service users, 14 could not be reached by the surveyor, 10 declined to take part and 14 were not well enough to complete the survey at the time of asking. This left a total of 24 completed surveys.
* "The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale was funded by the Scottish Executive National Programme for improving mental health and well-being, commissioned by NHS Health Scotland, developed by the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh, and is jointly owned by NHS Health Scotland, the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh."
|File||Description||File size||Last modified|
|Wenwbs report may 2012||Wenwbs report may 2012||170 Kb||16/06/12 08:11|