Published March 2, 2017 at 9:58
Blackburn with Darwen Council and local health, criminal justice and care partners have been praised for being at the forefront of a project designed to help vulnerable adults in the borough to turn their lives around.
A new short film launched recently celebrates the role of Blackburn with Darwen in the development and local delivery of the national Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) initiative and highlights some of the great work carried out to date.
MEAM was launched locally in 2013 as a partnership between the Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Families Health and Wellbeing Consortium. Local developments have had the continuous support of the national MEAM team, a coalition of recognised charities that includes; Clinks, Homeless Link, Mind and the former Drugscope.
The local project has focussed on working with a number of the most complex and vulnerable adults who often live in hostel accommodation or shared housing. Many have experienced or are at risk of becoming homeless, have a history of addiction, mental health and offending behaviours and they are often disengaged from their families or are socially isolated. Quite often they have been caught up in the revolving door of statutory and voluntary services and many have suffered a poor start in life leading them to chaotic lifestyles, unemployment and involvement in the criminal justice system. Complex needs and chaotic lifestyles often result in high costs to society and high demands on police, health, the Council and other services. This type of approach gives us an opportunity to worker smarter.
The MEAM approach has enabled a more coordinated response to providing help and support which is tailored to individual needs, whilst also empowering individuals to take responsibility for personal and positive changes to their lives. The Families, Health and Wellbeing Consortium and the providers that they deploy have embraced the opportunity to work differently whilst encouraging individuals to manage stress and anxieties, keep appointments and to move on into their own tenancies with the prospect of achieving a happy, healthy and positive future.
The film, which can be viewed here, was produced by MEAM in association with Cambridgshire, Basingtoke and Dean and Blackburn with Darwen and features interviews with people who have been helped by the initiative as well as their mentors and the commissioners behind the delivery of the programme locally.
Following on from the local success of MEAM to date, it has now been extended in Blackburn with Darwen with the potential to continue until the end of March 2021.
Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
The MEAM approach has allowed us to work with some of the most excluded people in our society to address their individual needs and build on their strengths and I’m glad the hard work and dedication of everyone working on it locally has paid off so far. This has been a great example of fantastic cross-agency work being championed at the highest levels by local partners.
Angela Allen, CEO Families Health and Well Being Consortium, said:
Our approach to supporting vulnerable adults in Blackburn with Darwen has been recognised because of the fantastic partnership work that has been developed across all our partners – from local commissioners, to health providers, the police and the voluntary sector. The key has been to manage support according to the needs of the individual, by putting them at the centre and providing local services according to those needs.