Nottingham Community Housing Association – Orchard Street

Marion Jennison talks about the achievements due to Active Support

‘Orchard Street’ a Nottingham Community Housing Association project, is a registered care home for 12 people with enduring mental health needs.  The people who live at Orchard Street have varying levels of ability, most have good life skills which are not utilised due to lack of motivation and low self esteem.  We introduced Active Support at the end of October last year the service and our starting point was service delivered within the hotel model culture.  The expectations from those who lived and worked here was staff do the jobs and service users sit and opt out of the daily day to day tasks, further promoting their low self esteem.

I am now pleased to say we are a very different service to what we were a year ago.

Not only do we naturally ask service users to help us to do the household tasks we more naturally include them in decision making.

Of course we are not perfect and it’s not all plain sailing, sometimes it’s really hard work getting service users engaged and keeping staff morale up.  And the over last few months the service has been really stretched trying to manage a period of repeated safeguarding incidents which has been hard.  And it is noticeable that staff continued to maintain the principles of active support and encouraging service users to be involved.

We have changed many times over the last year and adapted the way we record service user’s engagement (usually to respond to commissioners requests for data).  During our team day we decided to have small working groups to look at service user’s plans and active support to encourage service users who have been harder to engage in activities.  The aim will be to develop a plan which supports service users in the way they want to be supported but in a way which encourages their responsibility towards themselves.

We continue to link active support, recovery and great interactions but the emphasis remains that we encourage service users to do things for themselves.

These are some of the things which service users have achieved and do regularly:

  • x has helped me complete her health and safety room check.  She also talked about her cds and taste in music for a while, whilst I was with her in her room. When xx was drying and putting away the dishes, x complimented him on what a good job he had done.  He seemed quite accepting of this, and x was very smiley.

  • x has been prompted to put her clothes away which had been washed. She has also been encouraged to shower, remake her bed, dress and empty her bin. x asked me several times to do it for her but I reminded her that she is able to do these things for herself. She cooperated well and was praised.

  • x helped to chop veg for dinner and washed the pots after tea. x had a game of dominoes with me and xx

  • x held the prayer group this morning she has gone for a walk to the travel agents to get some brochures on Spain

  • x goes with another resident to buy food from Tesco for his bungalow. He is happy doing this, however, staff are finding a lot of food being wasted or going over its use by date. Staff have spoke to x about this and he is monitoring this himself. x has a cooked meal at tea everyday which is prepared by staff.

Service users also arranged the Xmas party and chose the theme old time music hall

One service user has planted some bulbs in the garden without being asked he told staff he thinks a bit of spring colour would be good.

One service user who has not previously gone out and about with staff enjoyed the Christmas market and now goes out once a week for coffee and a browse around the local shops with staff.

Marion Jennison