MP Visits Domestic Violence and Abuse Services

On May 20 2016 MP Mims Davies met with women, children and workers at a refuge in Hampshire which is run by You First, the domestic violence and abuse service of The YOU Trust working across West and North Hampshire.

YOU First Hampshire support women, men and children who have experienced or who are experiencing psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse in their relationships. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Statistics indicate that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities will experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their lifetime.

Funded by Hampshire County Council the service provides free and discreet support, advice and refuge to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Last year YOU First worked with over 1,200 people who had experienced domestic violence and abuse in the west of Hampshire and over 200 people came to refuge accommodation. YOU First work in partnership with Home Group who are the landlords of the refuges provided in West Hampshire and supply management support.

MP Mims Davies visited the refuge to understand the work first-hand through meeting workers and domestic violence and abuse survivors.

Commenting on MP Mims Davies visit, the Head of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department, Tonia Redvers, stated: “It is brilliant that Mims came to visit the refuge, its really important that members of government understand the work we do at a local level. Refuge accommodation is vital for some people who are fleeing domestic violence – it offers a place of safety for both adults and children and gives them time to come to terms with what they have experienced. Refuge is more than crisis accommodation, it gives people the space to stop and think about their future and, when ready, we can keep working together when moving on into the community to live a life free of abuse.”

If you are think you are experiencing domestic violence and abuse, please contact YOU First on 0330 016 5112. For emergency assistance, always dial 999 first.

The YOU Trust makes the shortlist for Charity Awards 2016!

The YOU Trust provides an advice service for people served by Portsmouth City Council and has made the shortlist for this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.

The YOU Trust has been shortlisted in the Advice, Support and Campaigning category for its Advice Portsmouth service which aims to provide free, independent and confidential advice on debt, welfare benefits, housing, employment and family issues. Advice Portsmouth, funded by the council, is based in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth and last year supported a record number of over 13,000 people.

The Charity Awards is the sector’s most highly-regarded excellence recognition scheme. All 30 shortlisted charities this year have been judged by an independent panel of sector leaders as having demonstrated outstanding best practice from which other organisations can learn.

The 10 category winners, plus the recipients of the Overall Award for Excellence and the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, will be announced at a ceremony and dinner on Thursday 9 June at the Mermaid Theatre in London’s Blackfriars. The black-tie evening will be hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, who will be joined by representatives of the shortlisted charities, alongside senior figures from the charity and civil society sector, and a smattering of celebrities from the worlds of theatre, television, music and sport.

Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated The YOU Trust on making the highly-coveted shortlist.  She said:

“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so The YOU Trust should be very proud to have made the shortlist. For 16 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through. We wish The YOU Trust the very best of luck on the night.”

John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, overall partner of the Charity Awards, said:

“CAF exists to support the amazing work of charities. Anyone looking to see some of the impressive ways in which charities make a difference would only need to take a look at the shortlisted nominees for this year’s Charity Awards. These are shining examples of charities at their very best, showing determined leadership and constantly innovating to support people in communities across the UK and beyond. It has been a difficult year for the charity sector and there are important lessons to take away from this. But it is no less vital that we continue to celebrate the success of charities which make such a difference to people’s lives in so many different ways. Recognising the achievements of charities, like those in this year’s shortlist, is a crucial part of how we continue to maintain and build a proud culture of caring for others and selfless generosity in Britain.”

Nicola Youern, the Chief Executive of The YOU Trust, said:

“The YOU Trust is honoured to have been shortlisted for this award.  The whole team at Advice Portsmouth have worked so hard over the last four years to provide an advice service that really matters to the people of Portsmouth.  We help up to 90 people a day at our free, no appointment service, and work to continuously improve what we do.”

My Learning Cloud: the online learning solution for Care, Support and Health

In 2012, creator of My Learning Cloud, Steven Embleton, identified the capability of technology use within the Care, Support and Health sectors through an online training solution. Armed with a Sharpie pen and a few pieces of A4 paper, My Learning Cloud was born from the desire to transform the skills of people and businesses with really high quality, innovative and multi-device learning.

Since the first My Learning Cloud platform drawings, Steven Embleton embarked on his vision in becoming the leading online solution for delivering training via technology throughout the Care, Support and Health sector. To date, My Learning Cloud has now become the training platform provider for many organisations, for example, Jessal Group, Summer Care, and Borough Care.

Steven Embleton’s passionate drive comes from a belief that organisations and its staff within the Care, Support and Health sector, have a duty to provide the best possible support to those in need. Whilst working in the Care, Support and Health sector as a Learning and Development Manager, Steven Embleton identified a need amongst organisations, in ensuring its staff had access to the best training available. He understood the complex work users of My Learning Cloud  undertake and envisioned that an online platform should be made available to people and businesses anytime, anywhere and on any device.

What is My Learning Cloud?

At the forefront of the platform’s design, My Learning Cloud was developed to support businesses and staff within the Care, Support and Health sector with regards to their training needs. Creator Steven Embleton, views training as a necessity, as increased knowledge and understanding can support practitioners in carrying out their role. My Learning Cloud can also support managers as an analytical tool, by being kept up to date with their employees’ progress.

The online platform sets out to deliver training through an engaging, informative and interactive narrative. Furthermore, My Learning Cloud is innovative in its approach, as this user-friendly platform is tailored to both businesses and staff needs. Each user has access to their unique learning platform; whereby, a user will see their own profile picture, their own information, and their own training requirements. Steven Embleton and his in-house Cloud Maker team believes in empowering a user through their own learning process and for those of us who can be quite forgetful, the learning platform reminds users of any training that has to be renewed and any outstanding training courses that are yet to be undertaken.

My Learning Cloud does not only provide e-learning, but also incorporates all learning, through workshops, webinars, scenarios and videos; as the Cloud Maker team know that learning is unique to the individual! The supportive Cloud Maker team listen to the needs of the business and can develop bespoke courses with subject matter experts who have real-life experience and understanding of the sectors to inform course content, striving to produce courses that are aligned with the latest thinking, legislation and standards. My Learning Cloud has an extensive library of e-learning courses that have been CPD Certified and have been matched to units from the Qualification Credit Framework (QCF).

Lastly, due to My Learning Cloud being compatible with any device, for example, PC, Mac, tablet and Smart phones, this allows training to be undertaken anytime and anywhere, for example, on the train into work or even on the beach whilst enjoying an iced tea!

£30 million to help people take back control of their lives

The 59 projects across England will work with more than 35,000 people to tackle the underlying causes of their crisis through advice on issues such as employment, homelessness, debt, and health problems. By putting the person at the heart of the solution, offering tailored support and access to a range of networks and services that can build on their strengths, they will gain the confidence needed to take control of their own lives and plan for a better future. The projects will initially provide immediate support to tackle the crisis such as food parcels or a bed for the night before working to address underlying issues.

The funded projects, which include collaborations between local organisations, are aimed at people who find it difficult to access support because they are disabled, have a mental health issue, live in an isolated rural community, are homeless or at risk of losing their home. Projects include training for ‘community champions’ to provide services in their local area, GPs working with partner agencies to refer people for advocacy and advice, and specialist legal experts working with disabled people experiencing hardship.

Big Lottery Fund England Chair, Nat Sloane said: “Our projects will not just provide hands-on support, advice and advocacy to address the immediate crisis, but more importantly will help people overcome and work through the underlying causes of their hardship and put them in a better position to improve their circumstances. Successes and lessons learnt will be shared so other organisations can build on the outcomes and replicate and develop further projects.”

Case study: Emily (not her real name), 45, from Leeds whilst studying for an MA had to deal with financial struggles, then multiple health problems including a bilateral pulmonary embolism and family bereavement. Having received vital support when she hit a crisis point she’s now back in control and studying again. She explains:

“After a degree I then studied an MA in Counselling Studies at the University of Manchester, which I had to fund from a private Career Development Loan. But after I had signed up for the course and university housing, the bank reneged on the loan. I undertook a number of part time jobs but struggled to make ends meet and left the course after a year.

“The stress of all the demands for the fees, accommodation costs took its toll on my health. The added stress made another long-standing illness severe and I began suffering from panic attacks. This had severe impact on ability to meet essential living expenses.

“My sister sadly passed away in February 2015. I was working and struggling with the loss, but I could no longer continue the job I had. In August 2015 I suffered from a bilateral pulmonary embolism and am now on long-term disability. I also finally had a diagnosis of another illness and was in and out of hospital having operations.

“I was unable to work and my debts and the demands for payment had become unmanageable. I decided that obtaining professional help would be the best start to getting my life back on track. I approached Better Leeds Communities, who gave me good advice, support and hope. They helped me to be proactive and worked with me to produce a clearer picture of how to manage my debts which led to me applying for and being awarded a debt relief order. This means I will be able to start again with a clean slate. Receiving support from Better Leeds Communities was essential to my life.

“I’m now undertaking a proof-reading and editing course, which means – health permitting – I will be able to work from home on a more flexible basis and I am more positive about my future.”

The YOU Trust receives £499,997 and will set up a new project to support Portsmouth residents who are in hardship crisis due to a wide variety of causes, including debt, unemployment, low pay, relationship breakdown, domestic abuse, homelessness and disability. Immediate support will include clothes, nappies, and utility top-ups. A Circle of Support worker will work with beneficiaries to their strengths, skills and the root cause of the current issues and bring together local agencies to provide longer term personalised support.

Homelessness Sunday

Supported by all churches, Homeless Sunday is a day of raising awareness and challenging the causes of homelessness in the United Kingdom. Homeless Sunday has been marked since the mid-1990s and it’s a way for the churches and congregations alike to demonstrate solidarity.

On Monday 25th January, the YOU Trust attended Festival Place in Basingstoke, armed with a stand, leaflets, balloons and cupcakes. The stand was occupied by Nicol Chidwick, the Deputy Manager of May Place House, a direct access homeless hostel managed by The YOU Trust. Joining Nicol for the day were May Place House staff Fay Aubrey, an Outreach Worker, and Steve Gartland, a Support Worker.

The team engaged with many members of the public, some of who had themselves experiences of homelessness. Some of the people who stopped by had little understanding of rough sleeping and were keen to discuss the issues as a whole with YOU’s team of experts. It also became a hub for advice; the team were ready with information to signpost individuals towards avenues of support.

Those who met the team were very positive in their feedback. Comments were received saying that it was great that YOU were raising awareness about the situation, and that is was very useful to know who to approach if you are worried about someone or in that situation yourself.

Even retailers were interested, and were receptive to the issues being raised. Staff from Boots kindly handed out free toothpaste from the stand.

This event was indeed a success. Not only was awareness raised, it brought together the community to reflect on how people marginalised through homelessness should be helped.