A scheme supporting people in Bradford with multiple problems such as homelessness, mental ill-health, addiction and reoffending was today celebrating a £9.8 million grant from the Big Lottery.
The grant is awarded to the partnership led by Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community (DISC) to improve and better co-ordinate services in West Yorkshire to tackle the needs of people living chaotic lives.
DISC is along 11 other successful partnerships across England also receiving up to £10 million each to get different services to work together to provide tailored support addressing problems, as well as stopping people from falling through the gaps being missed out or from just drifting around without getting specific help.
It is estimated that there are some 2,425 people with multiple problems in West Yorkshire – 60 per cent of whom are not getting any help.
Support workers in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees as well as in Leeds and Wakefield will be a central point matching users with appropriate local service providers.
They will also give peer mentor support, organise volunteering, training and employment opportunities.
DISC’s chief executive Mark Weeding said: “This is fantastic news, we have the opportunity to help a small but significant group of people with very complex needs to change their lives.
“These are people whose problems are too complex for housing, probation, drug treatment or mental health services to solve on their own. Working with our core partners we will help services to come together and guide individuals, ensuring that they get the support they need to live fulfilling and rewarding lives.”
Big Lottery Fund England Chairman Nat Sloane, said: “Tens of thousands of people are passed from pillar to post with many inevitably leading chaotic lives – rebounding in and out of A&E departments and criminal courts rather than being helped by integrated support services.
This investment will allow people to become assets rather than drains on society and go on to lead fulfilling lives benefiting their communities and society as a whole.”
The Big Lottery Fund will gather evidence from the 11 schemes, including DISC, to shed light on more effective and efficient ways of organising and delivering services for people with multiple needs, the significant savings in health and criminal justice costs as well as the benefits to the individuals themselves and their communities.
The DISC project brought in former service-user and Bradford man Gary Staniforth as an expert to put together its successful lottery bid.
Mr Staniforth was taken into care aged eight and was subjected to emotional and physical abuse. Years later, when a 17-year-long relationship broke down he left his family home, stayed on the floors of friends and family for some time but eventually lost his job.
When he had nothing but a bin liner to his name and was struggling to get help he got a petition together and stood up in the council chamber at Bradford City Hall to highlight the plight of single men in Bradford caught in the cycle of homelessness.
He went on to set up a street magazine, got £220,000 lottery funding of his own to run an inspiration mentoring programme for some of Bradford's most vulnerable people and then got involved with the DISC project looking at gaps in services for people with multiple needs.
Mr Staniforth said: “I supported the training and engagement of 22 experts in peer research to help identify the perfect service, carried out 450 street surveys and arranged visits across West Yorkshire and Liverpool to compare good practice.
“The journey I set off on in 2008 has given me a real insight into how the system works or doesn't in some cases but it has also given me a perspective of just how our lives can be affected by our pasts.”