Our main site is located at 56 Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead, where we have an award winning 56 en-suite study bedrooms purpose-built building. The accommodation within the building offers a two-tier supported accommodation:
- Direct or referred access to higher level supported housing services
- Semi-Independent medium supported housing services
Also housed within the building are a range of meeting and training rooms, where a wide range of educational and employability courses are delivered, which have been designed and furnished to create the optimum environments conducive to learning for the benefit of both internal and external user groups. There is also a large open plan communal lounge/dining room with conservatory, fully equipped commercial kitchen and support office for staff.
Each of the 56 en-suite shower/bedrooms are well furnished, bright and airy, having been carefully designed using feedback and operational experience based on models of modern day student accommodation which provides a safe, comfortable personal environment and if necessary, study space. We believe passionately in putting our residents at the heart of everything we do, listening to their feedback and comments at resident forums, annual service standards questionnaires and one to one key-work. By doing this we are able to deliver customer focused services.
Training and engagement with customers has been a strong over-arching theme of YMCAW’s model of service delivery in the last 12 years. In 2008 the organisation was recognised as an Investor in People and IIP Health and Wellbeing Employer – over the following years successive assessments have elevated our accreditations to IIP Gold, which was awarded in 2013. In 2009 the organisation gained ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation followed in 2011 by ISO 18001. In 2015 the organisation became recognised as a training centre for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health to deliver Level 1 and 2 Courses.
YMCAW has successfully achieved ongoing public sector contracts to deliver supported housing services to homeless people and demonstrated clear measureable outcomes of a high standard.
Over the last decade YMCAW has progressively introduced new customer focused life-skills programmes that form an integral part of its Supported Housing services, which combined stability and progress in a person’s life-journey.
A Key-worker develops a Support Plan that is personalised to meet the individual’s needs and focuses on the following core areas:
- Health & Wellbeing
- Employability Skills
- Life Skills
- Suitability to secure a future tenancy for own accommodation
Within these areas any elements of social barriers such as dependency, mental health, anti-social behaviour or disability are assessed and action taken to address these by way of internal key-work or specialised support providers. This action planning is a two-way process between the client and the Key-worker and relies upon the building of an excellent professional relationship. Programmes and activities are devised to meet each individuals personal need and a progression plan (Outcomes Star) is plotted and regularly updated to highlight the identified life goals that have been achieved.
In 2015 Wirral Borough Council introduced “Mainstay” a gateway referral service for clients entering into homeless accommodation. Once referred and accepted, staff support service users in developing independence and living skills using a range of life skills training which covers:
- Personal hygiene and appearance
- Use of public transport
- Accessing community mainstream services
- Healthy lifestyles
- Employability training
- Building meaningful relationships and re-engagement with estranged families and friends.
Service users have access to computers along with IT training and are encouraged to job search online. The project provides well-equipped training and educational environments as well as providing a range of hobbies and leisure activities where creative arts and crafts are developed.
YMCA Wirral believes that community learning and development contributes to strengthening social capital by improving the knowledge, skills, confidence, motivation, networks and resources that the individuals and groups in a community have. It is also concerned with tackling real issues in people’s lives, for example, moving people on into sustainable independent lifestyles, better health, education and employment opportunities, which will have the spin-off of reducing anti-social behaviour and less crime.
YMCA Wirral support focuses on meeting key outcomes:
- Stabilising an individual into a mindset receptive to change
- Inspiring and engaging residents into volunteering and ensuring their efforts are fully recognised and praised
- Improving people’s social skills and sense of community spirit and social responsibility
- Building up their confidence and employability skills to compete in the jobs market and secure jobs
- Tackling underlying health issues;
- Raising awareness of the community and environment and
- The personal, social and educational development of our residents.
Once implemented these basic stepping stones of support make a significant contribution to reducing social exclusion and to closing the inequalities gaps and breaking the 2revolving door” or barriers to escaping homelessness. So what is homelessness?