Solutions to multiple and complex problems
An estimated 60,000 adults in England struggle to cope with multiple life problems such as homelessness, reoffending, substance misuse and mental ill health. These problems often exacerbate each other and lead to a downward spiral of ill-health and harm to the individuals, their family and society.
Our funding will be awarded to voluntary sector-led partnerships in up to 12 areas across England – up to £10m each – to co-ordinate local services for these people and ensure support is tailored to their needs, helping them to break the cycle of problems and move away from chaotic lifestyles for good.
Kalam Pearce, from Ipswich, has suffered from a range of problems including ill health and substance misuse and has spent time in prison. He has extensive experience of being passed from pillar to post by local services acting in an uncoordinated way.
He had a difficult time trying to access detox because he was caught between the services of two local authorities.
He eventually ended up very sick, in hospital and had 30 epileptic seizures in one single day before he was accepted into detox.
“I was taken into care when I was just four years old,” Kalam says. “On and off I was always involved in crime, spending many years in custody due to drugs, violence or things I can’t talk about. I was addicted to drugs for quite a number of years but have been clean now for nine, which was a journey within itself.
“It was really hard. When I wanted to detox I couldn’t refer myself – I had to be referred by a GP or agency. But because I was epileptic one agency said I couldn’t take part because of health and safety issues – in case I had a fit. I’ve got hepatitis C and liver disease and may need a transplant. If I’d had been able to access help earlier then I might not be in the situation I’m in now.
“There doesn’t seem to be any communication between agencies. I wish I didn’t feel like I had to chase the paper trail around. There shouldn’t be the situation where you have six to 12 meetings with an agency and then you get to a dead end and then you try for another six months trying to get referred to another agency and start all over again.
“I have seen funding and liaison strategies and targets from both sides and hope to see relevant agencies working together to put forward an umbrella duty of help, care and support.
Kalam was supported by St Giles Trust on an employability course and has been engaged with the organisation for a few years now.
“I currently hold six GCSEs, an A-level in music and accreditations to teach music. When in prison I helped with literacy teaching, something that I enjoyed and felt I was good at. I was looking for support to help me get into some form of teaching when I was referred to St Giles Trust for employment support. When I explained my interests the project coordinator asked if I had thought about doing any voluntary work and if I would be interested in helping support St Giles Trust.
“I have done voluntary work, have helped with IT classes, Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) practice tests and been involved in promoting the work of the St Giles Trust.
“Doing voluntary work has given me the experience of being part of the working world and mixing with people has made me more positive about myself and my future. I hope to continue to volunteer and develop my teaching skills.
“I now work for Healthwatch as part of their operational delivery group and am currently part of a mental health enquiry at one prison. I will be delivering a group of my own for pre-release offenders helping them to avoid the revolving door of re-offending. I’m also counselling substance misuse for individuals, assisting others not to make the mistakes in life I made and am successfully drawing on my working experience and my life experiences and providing a voice for the marginalised and vulnerable.”
Big Lottery Fund England Director Dharmendra Kanani will be speaking at the GovKnow Social Justice Conference. For more information please visit: http://govknow.com/event-detail.html?id=471&info=agenda or follow #sjconf2013 on Twitter.
Last week Dharmendra blogged about the Big Lottery Fund’s investments in England which aim to tackle some of the country’s most entrenched social problems. Revisit his guest blog for more information.