Christmas was as busy as ever at YOU this (last!) year. We had parties, we had feasts, there were gifts and Father Christmas himself even did the rounds.
Staff working in our domestic abuse and violence refuges went all out to keep the magic of Christmas alive for the children living there. Living in a refuge can be a strange and unnerving experience for young people, and refuge staff work alongside children’s’ parents to make sure they feel safe and as normal as possible. Christmas is a great opportunity to bring some familiarity into their lives, and a good excuse for a few parties! A special thanks to local charity Free Cakes for Kids who provided two fabulous cakes for the Christmas party in Basingstoke.
On the 22nd of December residents at Byways (supported living service for people with learning disabilities) were greeted with an early Christmas present – a new car! Bought with funds raised by fundraising group, Friends of Byways, It will mean greater independence, more social opportunities, and generally provide more ease in being involved in the local community and daily living. Huge thanks to all involved.
We hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break. Here’s to 2017 and all the good stuff to come!
Councillor visits Domestic Violence and Abuse Services
On October 3 2016 Councillor Terri Reid met with women, children and staff 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.
People in the refuge are fleeing domestic violence and abuse, such as Jo – she has two children under 5 and was placed in the refuge by the police after the last violent incident at home. The police had been called a number of times, but Jo wanted to make her marriage work for the sake of the children. Jo says the violence and control by her husband was getting worse and she was afraid he would kill her and hurt the children, so this time she came to the refuge.
Jo has been at refuge for 6 weeks and was worried when she first came here, what it would be like, what the other women would be like and how the children would settle. Jo says its been great, the other women are a good laugh and its good to have someone to talk to who understands. The children have made new friends and they get lots of help from the children’s workers. Jo feels really safe now and has started to think about her move on and where she may end up. There is so much more to Jo’s story and moving into refuge was a positive step for her.
You First Hampshire support women, men and children who have experienced or who are experiencing domestic violence or abuse in their relationships. This 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 2,000 people who had experienced domestic violence and abuse in Hampshire and Councillor Terri Reid visited the refuge to understand the work first-hand through meeting workers and domestic violence and abuse survivors.
Commenting on Councillor Terri Reid’s visit, the Head of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department, Tonia Redvers, stated: “It is brilliant that Terri came to visit the refuge, YOU is always very happy to welcome Councillors to the refuge to meet the people we work with and understand the issues they are facing. 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 a roof over their heads, 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.”
Since visiting the refuge Councillor Terri Reid has added: “The Council is committed to preventing homelessness and supporting vulnerable people and I am delighted to be able to see again at first hand the vital specialist work being undertaken by the YOU Trust to support some of our most vulnerable residents. Domestic Abuse is a significant cause of homelessness; the fact that there is a range of alternative good quality options and support for victims and their families means they can receive a service most suited to their needs.”
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.
May Place House
CM became involved with May Place House, our Basingstoke service after he heard of the work we do through a friend. The service users at May Place House are a sporty bunch, and when CM heard they’d recently started a football them he was keen to get involved and help out.
“I had always played football as a youngster to county standard and always believed in the benefits of encouraging people who may be disadvantaged to join in with sports generally, especially team sports. I thought and hoped that this would enable the service users to get out on a regular basis, forge and develop friendships and a sense of camaraderie, and to help them with their general fitness and wellbeing.”
Since coming on board back in October last year, the team has developed not only in the numbers of participants growing (we now have between 10 and 12 players every week) but also the quality of the football being played.
“It has been very rewarding to watch the guys develop, improve their fitness and more importantly, have fun and develop friendships.”
CM has been working as a support worker at the service since January and is thoroughly enjoying it. The football team is currently 5-a-side but he plans to recruit more players to form an 11 side team.
He found volunteering a greatly rewarding experience and says:
“I would recommend voluntary work to anyone who has the time or inclination as I have found it very rewarding and you never know where it might lead.”
Ms J initially attended Advice Portsmouth about her non-priority creditors.
Due to the client’s poor physical and mental health and her problems with alcohol misuse, Ms J could not face opening and dealing with her post. Ms J is currently attending a detox programme and has done so since the beginning of December 2014.
Ms J was unaware that her housing benefit claim had the highest rate for non dependent deduction applied to it. This should not have been the case and due to this error Ms J was accruing rent arrears. After a suggestion made by her housing officer Ms J approached Advice Portsmouth for advice and assistance. An advisor contacted Housing Benefit to ensure they held the correct information and to request a review.
The advisor also assisted the client in making a claim for Personal Independence Payment and negotiated with Ms J’s Portsmouth City Council Housing Officer to pay a small amount off the arrears whilst we worked with her on her financial statement. Ms J is empowered and now deals with her post alone and maintains a weekly payment plan for her priority creditors. Ms J’s priority arrears have reduced and she is now receiving monthly contributions from her non dependant children.
As a result of the support we provided to Ms J, her Housing Benefit was reinstated and her review request was successful. Ms J is likely to receive a significant amount and we requested this be paid directly to her to support her with buying food and other necessities, as she still has to rely on family for financial support. Receiving the monies will also help her to pay some of her priority debts.
We continue to support Ms J as her situation improves and she becomes increasingly independent and able to deal with her own affairs.
Mr C has been an Advice Portsmouth client since we opened in April 2012. He initially approached us for help reading his letters.
Mr C was in receipt of Income Support for many years and migrated over to ESA. After he received his ATOS assessment he was found fit for work and is now in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance.
Mr C cannot read or write and was finding job seeking extremely difficult. We now assist him with his job search and attend appointments with him in order to keep his benefit in payment. We have had to find innovative ways to assist Mr C due to his lack of reading and writing, for example, we have created a ‘picture diary’ for him so we can stick in photographs of places his recognises to aid in remembering to attend appointments. We have also helped Mr C to make applications to local colleges to try and improve his reading and writing ability. In addition to this we encouraged him to apply for Personal Independence Payment and attended his PIP assessment with him.
As a result Mr C was awarded both the enhanced rate for daily living and mobility.
The YOU Trust’s Advice Portsmouth wins at the Charity Awards 2016
10 June 2016
The YOU Trust is delighted to announce that it has taken the top prize in the Advice, Support and Campaigning category at this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.
The YOU Trust won the award for the changes to its advice service in Portsmouth, which provides free support and legal advice to anyone in the local community struggling with family issues, employment, housing, welfare benefits and debt issues.
Before the changes made in the advice service, the previous system saw inefficiencies which resulted in longer waiting times with many people giving up and leaving without being helped.
After a three month listening exercise, The YOU Trust completely changed the way it was providing the service. Employing a holistic, systems-centred approach, clients’ needs were put at the heart of the advisory process. “Pointless” initial form-filling was abandoned and qualified legal advisers worked closely with each individual and identified the root cause of their problems. With the help of volunteers, they then provided continuing assistance and support in a friendly, safe environment.
As a result of the changes, waiting times have been dramatically reduced from up to 3 hours to an average of 12 minutes, Advice Portsmouth processes on average 13,500 cases each year, up from 9,000 before, and 99% of clients rated the service at 9/10 or higher.
Alongside nine other category winners, the Overall Winner and the recipient of the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, YOU Trust was presented with the award at a star-studded black-tie ceremony at the Mermaid Theatre in London on Thursday 9 June, hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.
Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated YOU Trust on winning the highly-coveted award. She said:
“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so YOU Trust should be very proud to have won their category. Their project delivered amazing results.”
“For 17 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 win awards.”
John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, overall partner of the Charity Awards, said:
“This year’s Charity Awards celebrate the inspiring people working in neighbourhoods and communities across the UK and overseas to make the world a better place.”
“Celebrating these successes – as these awards have now been doing for 17 years – is an important part of maintaining and building Britain’s proud culture of civil action and generosity.”
“The organisations which won awards and those who were shortlisted demonstrate a great sense of teamwork, collaboration and management excellence.”
“It is humbling to see the amazing work being done by people who are changing lives in so many ways. Their stories are an inspiration, and my congratulations go out to them all.”
Nicola Youern, Chief Executive of YOU Trust, said:
“We were thrilled to have won this award which belongs to the brilliant staff and volunteers at Advice Portsmouth who are dedicated to helping the people of Portsmouth.”
The Shortlist and Winners 2016
OVERALL WINNER: The Trussell Trust
DANIEL PHELAN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Mark Goldring
CATEGORY WINNERS AND HIGHLY COMMENDED:
|Advice, support and campaigning||WINNER: YOU Trust|
|Highly Commended: Migrant Help|
|Highly Commended: Women’s Resource Centre|
|Arts, culture and heritage||WINNER: Eureka! The National Children’s Museum|
|Highly Commended: Northern Ballet|
|Highly Commended: Unlimited Theatre|
|Children and youth||WINNER: Active Change Foundation|
|Highly Commended: Children’s Food Trust|
|Highly Commended: For Jimmy|
|Highly Commended: C-Change Scotland|
|Highly Commended: English Federation of Disability Sport|
|Education and training||WINNER: The Boxing Academy|
|Highly Commended: Place2Be|
|Environment and conservation||WINNER: Keep Britain Tidy|
|Highly Commended: Eden Project|
|Highly Commended: RSPB|
|Grantmaking and funding||WINNER: Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre|
|Highly Commended: The Bulldog Trust|
|Highly Commended: SHINE (Support and Help In Education)|
|Healthcare and medical research||WINNER: Combat Stress|
|Highly Commended: Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes|
|Highly Commended: Streetdoctors|
|International aid and development||WINNER: Vision for a Nation Foundation|
|Highly Commended: Camfed International|
|Highly Commended: Omid Foundation|
|Highly Commended: Send a Cow|
|Social care and welfare||WINNER: The Trussell Trust|
|Highly Commended: Community Links Northern|
|Highly Commended: Open Road|