“Curiouser and curiouser”, said Alice.

I wonder what I'll find in here

I’ve worked in mental health for years and have always refered participants with financial issues around their support needs to the experts. My focus was on addressing issues of a different kind with them. As a support planner, however, I find myself very involved in the financial reality of my clients daily lives.

This is new to me. So I have become curious.

What are the financial problems around support needs that my clients face in their daily lives?                                                                                                                                            How can I improve my understanding of them and learn how to better support my clients?

My curiosity has me searching for support providers and user-led organisations that are using creativity and innovation to tackle the challenges posed by personalisation.  I want to take a good, long look at their ideas and how they are implementing them because I want to learn how to improve the support planning service I offer to my clients.

Curiosity requires time, so my search so far is not yet complete and will be ongoing. I have already found several that inspire me and I’m going to do a regular post that features each one. Then you can check them out too. You may be well ahead of me, have checked them out already, and know others I haven’t discovered. Please tell me about them and I’ll include them.

If you are one of these creative organisations then get on here and tell us about yourself – we need you.

Today I want to introduce you to : –

 RICHMOND USERS INDEPENDENT LIVING SCHEME       www.ruils.co.uk

In their own words, ” We are an independent, user-led organisation that is run and led by its peers – the people who use our services. We support older and disabled people, people with learning disabilities and people who use mental health services to live independently and to have choice and control over the support that they need”

Regarding personalisation they say :-

“We act as the champion, representative and peer supporter for anyone who has a Personal Budget and in particular a Direct Payment. Our aim is to ensure that people get the outcomes they want from their Personal Budget and Direct Payment and that it gives them maximum choice, control and independence.”

Here are some of the creative ways they do that :-

Buddy mentors – newcomers to the world of social care are assigned a trained service user volunteer as a buddy. He/she explains how the system works, including personal budgets, shares their own experiences, answers any questions they have, and generally acts as a support to them.

Direct payments pooling workshops  – Here they explore ways to ‘pool’ direct Payments so that the money will go further. They hear about real life DP pooling examples and meet the people who have done it.  The workshops take them through the ‘hot off the press’ DP Pooling guide.

 support brokers  –   clients are advised and guided on all aspects of planning and choosing their personal budget plan.

 creative opportunity events – where staff talk with clients about new ideas to make the best use of personalistion to improve their quality of life.

An on-line magazine – that outlines all of their projects and has articles on relevent issues

“Getting a social life” project – this is currently being set up

A direct payments pooling network – this is currently being set up

Go ahead and check them out – they really are worth a visit. I am arranging an actual visit so as to talk with them face to face and ask questions and listen intently. If you have any questions you might like me to ask them let me know. I shall post about the visit when it happens.                                                                                                                                                                                   STAY CURIOUS!

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