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Minister of State for Care and Support visits Together’s floating support service in Norfolk

Posted on 09, January 2015

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Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk and Minister of State for Care and Support, today visited Together’s mental health floating support service in Norfolk.

Funded by Norfolk County Council and five Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups the service provides county-wide support to adults with mental health needs – including individuals with severe mental health problems and complex needs – to access and maintain accommodation. Over 50 staff are based in five key locations across Norfolk. During the visit Mr Lamb had the opportunity to talk to staff and service users about how the service works in practice and how individuals benefit from Together’s support.

Together began delivering the service just under a year ago offering people flexible support and more choice about the kind of support they receive, so giving them more control over their own recovery. Individuals can access support in a variety of settings including: face-to-face, in the community, through drop-in sessions and via telephone, text and email. Support is designed specifically to help people find housing, manage finances and benefits, and access training, volunteering and employment opportunities.

From the very outset, service user involvement and peer support have been an important element of the service. As part of this the Norwich Service User Forum was set up as a place for those using the service to express their views on the type of support they would like to receive. The forum has been instrumental in shaping the service’s peer support element, which will be rolled out across the service over the next year with up to 35 volunteer Peer Supporters, working with over five paid Peer Support Workers – all with lived experience of mental distress. It is planned that more Service User Forums will be developed over the coming year across Norfolk based on the experience of the Norwich Service User Forum.

Liz Felton, CEO at Together, said: “At Together we work alongside people with mental health needs on their journey towards leading independent and fulfilling lives. Our Norfolk service is a great example of how offering flexible support and choice means service users can take control of their own recovery and wellbeing. We are delighted to welcome Norman Lamb to hear first hand from those we support how the service has helped them to connect with their community, use local resources and strengthen their informal networks of support to promote independence.”

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “I want to build a fairer society and that means anyone with a mental health problem gets the opportunities they deserve. I’m very impressed with Together – it’s vital that people with mental illness get flexible support to suit individual needs, including housing, money and employment.

“I want to see more services across health, housing and benefits working together to make sure vulnerable people get the best possible support and I hope other areas can learn from Together. By helping people with all aspects of their life as well as their health, they have the best chance of recovery.”

*David, who is supported by Together’s service in Norfolk, said: “Without the help of Together I would be on the streets. I may even be dead as I was suicidal when I first met my Together worker and I had made plans to kill myself. I had no money and I was about to be evicted from my council flat. I first met my Together worker with my social worker. I didn’t have much hope because I couldn’t see how anyone could help me. But my Together worker talked to the council and helped me get ESA and housing benefit so I could keep the roof over my head.”

For further information or to either refer yourself of someone you are supporting, please contact the service directly.

*David is a pseudonym