As a housing provider the association has long recognised the important role support can play in enabling people to manage their home and sustain independent living in the community.
We were confident that with the right opportunities we could deliver effective support packages which would not only promote independent living, but enable people to grow and realise their potential. The community support service has developed from a vision into reality in a short space of time and has now been in operation for more than seven years.
Our services receive funding from a variety of sources, such as Supporting People and Manchester's Directorate of Adults and Wellbeing.
Central to our approach has been the delivery of services at a local level. With offices in Manchester and Cheshire, we are well-placed to respond to the needs of service users. Primarily we provide floating support services, but we also have some supported accommodation in Cheshire.
Our expertise in delivering support has developed over the last few years and we now work with people who have a range of issues and come from diverse backgrounds. For example, we work with:
- Elderly people who are showing early signs of dementia
- Members of Manchester's black and minority ethnic community who have issues around mental health
- Irish men in Manchester with issues around alcohol misuse and homelessness
- Older people at risk of becoming socially isolated
- Homeless families and young people at risk in Cheshire
During the development of the community support service, we also had to gear up to the challenges presented by Supporting People. We have had successful reviews in all areas of operation and received positive feedback on the quality of services we provide. This has been echoed by our own consultation with stakeholders. Our success in getting the services up and running and securing contracts is to a large extent attributable to the commitment of the staff who work at People First, the vision and support of the Board and the partner organisations we work with, who have given us opportunities to develop new services.
Our biggest challenge now is to ensure we retain our contracts in a time of great uncertainty about funding, but we are confident we can achieve this if we ensure we continue to put ‘people first.’ This means regular consultation with service users, stakeholders and partners and working towards continuous improvement and excellence. Crucially it also means ensuring continued opportunities for our staff to develop and grow. We have built a strong base from which to develop further and ensure our continued success.
Did you know People First runs drop-in services for support clients across Manchester? You can even come along if you are on our waiting list or used to be one of our support clients in the past.
The drop-ins are held:
- every Tuesday from 10am - 12pm at Avenue Library, Blackley
- every Thursday from 10am - 3pm at our offices in Manchester
- every Thursday from 10am - 1pm at Wythenshawe forum.
We offer up to an hour's support with:
- filling out forms
- writing a CV
- using the telephone to contact benefits, landlords, doctors, etc
- reading through letters
- using the internet
If you care for someone with dementia, it may be that you are experiencing feelings of isolation and could do with someone to talk to.
Manchester Carers Forum have a group of volunteers who have direct experience and understanding regarding caring for someone with dementia.
A volunteer can keep in regular contact with you by telephone and by visiting you at home, giving you opportunities to talk about the issues that matter to you.
For more information, contact Anne at Manchester Carers Forum on
There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK now and by 2025 there will be over one million. So, dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our ageing society today. We want all people with dementia to be able to say:
- I have personal choice and control or influence over decisions about me.
- I know that services are designed around me and my needs.
- I have support that helps me live my life.
- I have the knowledge and know-how to get what I need.
- I live in an enabling and supportive environment where I feel valued and understood.
- I have a sense of belonging and of being a valued part of family, community and civic life.
- I know there is research going on which delivers a better life for me now and hope for the future.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem in any one year, Goldberg and Huxley (1992)
We talk about recovering from mental health problems, and as workers and individuals we all want to see people well – both physically and mentally
The Recovery approach aims to see service users holistically, as complete people who have the capacity to cope with their distress in such a way that they are able to participate in a full life, developing self esteem and self determination, and including, for example, being allowed to make their own mistakes and learn from them - just as the majority of people do in our society. It aims to focus on identifying realistic life goals for service users and enabling them to achieve them.
Think about what recovery means to you:
- Recovery is a journey – where are you going, where do you want to go, why?
- What does being well look and feel like, how will you get there?
- Are you ready to make changes in order to recover?
- What makes life good and what makes life hard?
- Actively listen to help you to make sense of your mental health problems
- Help you identify and prioritise your personal goals for recovery – not our professional goals
- Demonstrate a belief in your existing strengths and resources in relation to the pursuit of these goals
- Identify examples from your own ‘lived experience’, which inspires and validates your hopes
- Pay particular attention to the importance of goals which take you out of the ‘sick role’ and enable you actively to contribute to the lives of others
- Identify non-mental health resources – friends, contacts, organizations – relevant to the achievement of your goals
- Encourage self-management of mental health problems (by providing information, reinforcing existing coping strategies, etc.)
- Discuss what you want in terms of therapeutic interventions, e.g. psychological treatments, alternative therapies, joint crisis planning, etc., respecting your wishes wherever possible
- Behave at all times so as to convey an attitude of respect for you and a desire for an equal partnership in working together, indicating a willingness to ‘go the extra mile’
- While accepting that the future is uncertain and setbacks will happen, continue to express support for the possibility of achieving these self defined goals – maintaining hope and positive expectations