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Together Hampshire West and North services switch to different provider

Posted on 01, April 2021

Hampshire County Council recently undertook a new tender process for the Hampshire West and North accommodation services Together have been running since April 2016. In December 2020 the process concluded and the council opted to return to the provider that managed the projects previously, Home Group, who will be taking over management of them from 31 March 2021 onwards. While we are disappointed not to be carrying on delivering the services at the projects we’re very proud of the work that was done by our teams in that time and would like to celebrate that and the difference the support made to the people who used the services and continue to today.

Together has actually been delivering supported accommodation and floating community support in Hampshire prior to these contracts for the best part of 25 years. Our services at Kirtling House and Wavelley House in Hampshire are unaffected and will continue to provide support. The Hampshire North services included properties at Shelley Rise, Ancells Farm, Normandy Street, and Church Hill and were sub-contracted to Together by the provider Sanctuary. The Hampshire West projects were commissioned directly by Hampshire County Council and included Scotter Road, Lofting Close, Field End, Salisbury Road, North Close, Prospect Place, Mews Lane, Worthy Road, Stiles Drive, Ruskin Road, and Launcelot Close. Support at all of the projects will continue, in some cases with the same staff remaining in posts, and all service users have been made aware of the changes as well as agencies that make up the support networks in operation.

We would like to thank all of our team members who were involved in providing services at the projects and who have a great deal to be proud of in what was achieved. This included collaboratively re-modelling the existing services in 2016 when the council brought together a number of different contracts under three main geographical projects in Hampshire. This involved staff from different organisations being transferred to Together under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) Regulations.

Together’s core principle is Service User Leadership and we introduced service user led peer support across North and West Hampshire, as well as a trauma-informed practice and a strong crisis support offer. Service user leadership and involvement were paramount in the development and delivery of the services and we hope this is a legacy that can be retained as the services progress. In delivering the projects the teams in Hampshire North and West also excelled in working closely and effectively with a wide range of partner agencies and adapted services significantly to continue support during 2020 dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Service user MW who initially accessed peer support before then going on to be a peer supporter themselves commented:

The whole peer support experience has been an invaluable one. I felt that it was the first time that I could talk to someone who had real life experience of my illness and all the challenges that come with that. I felt that it was the best thing I have received in my journey of treatments and therapy as it wasn’t coming from any sort of ‘medical’ perspective.

Service user EJS also accessed peer support working with Together peer supporter Ruth and explained how the support helped in a transitional period in their life:

Whilst seeing Ruth, I was discharged from the CMHT and I moved out of Supported Housing. Because of this, I lost a lot of support from services and so it was really helpful to be able to still see Ruth for a while as I was used to seeing so many professionals for my mental health for years, and without Ruth, I would have been left with no support whatsoever.

Reflecting on the services provided by Together in Hampshire North and West, Together Chief Operating Officer, Dee Anand said:

Our services in Hampshire have always reflected the values we have at Together and have travelled quite some distance over the years we have been involved. Our workforce over there have gone to tremendous efforts to help to improve the lives of those we work alongside and to contribute to their happiness and fulfilment. We are extremely grateful to a dedicated team in Hampshire who have lived our organisational values and seen their work in social care as vital, in the same way we do as an organisation. We are very disappointed that we cannot continue to build upon the great work that has been done in Hampshire but I have every confidence that the calibre and integrity of our staff there will continue with the new service provider and that their skill and dedication will continue to help the service users we work alongside. We thank everyone who has worked with us in Hampshire to deliver a service which is considerably better than that which was inherited – on behalf of our whole organisation, we are grateful and very much hope you will stay in touch!

If you have questions about the transition period as the service comes to an end you can contact Together Operations and Development Manager Lauren Gillings at lauren-gillings@together-uk.org.

Details of Home Group who will be running the services going forward can be found at www.homegroup.org.uk/supported-living/.