I was recently reviewing the year for our internal reporting and realised just how much has happened this year and how many ‘firsts’ happened with the Resettlement Passport.
It’s good to pause and take stock, so here are our highlights from the last year:
Launched a website (which you’re reading this on). It’s been fantastic to have our very own Resettlement Passport website, thanks to support from our friends over at Hitch Marketing.
Supporting Care Leavers
One of our hopes when we wrote this course was that it might be picked up by Leaving Care Teams and used to support care leavers to prepare for tenancies. This year, Knowsley Leaving Care team made it part of their local offer and we have trained an apprentice from Sefton leaving Care team – who is herself a care leaver – to deliver the course.
Over in Salford, it’s been great to see the impact that the close partnership between ForHousing (known until recently as Citywest Housing Trust) and ‘Next Steps’ – Salford’s leaving care team has had on supporting care leavers into tenancies that last. To listen first hand to the impact that this has had, watch this short video here.
Earlier this year, I heard Lemn Sissay speak at the ‘Care and Custody Event,’ run by HMPSS and the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum. There were two care leavers on my table – and as he described his experiences after he left care around loneliness, around Christmas, both of them started to cry and nod – in the middle of this very public event. It’s stayed with me through the year quite how much we still need to do to support our care leavers better.
Veterans services adopt the Resettlement Passport
We now have 2 services using Resettlement Passport to support people who have left the armed forces. Issues around housing and homelessness among armed forces veterans can be compounded by other challenges such as mental health issues, PTSD, difficulty securing employment and relationship issues. Feedback from these support services has been excellent:
“This is a great tool for our veterans and enables them to prepare and make realistic plans in order for them to be a successful tenant.”
- Veterans HQ, Liverpool
UK Housing Awards – Highly Commended for ‘Innovation of the Year’
In May 2018, we attended the UK Housing Awards, where the Resettlement Passport was Highly Commended, in the category of ‘Innovation of the Year.’
1st Big Exhibition
We enjoyed exhibiting at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester last June. It was the first time we have done anything like this and we were able to make lots of contacts with people from local authorities and housing associations.
Data reports now reporting
It sounds very dull, but it’s how we know that 88% of people who complete the Resettlement Passport feel more confident about managing their tenancy and that the course is having a particular impact on helping people to deal with difficult neighbours, feeling confident about dealing with money issues and paying council tax. The data reports also show us exactly what people are dealing with – homelessness, mental health issues, sexual exploitation for example – and these are exactly the people who this course is for, people who are dealing with a lot of issues – often through no fault of their own – that places them at risk of losing their tenancy. So a big thanks to Chris Ambery, who is part of Local Solution’s IT team for his genius work in pulling this together.
So that’s where we’re up to.
And so to start to look forward….
This year in particular, we’ll be looking to:
- Grow, Grow Grow – We want to get the Resettlement Passport into the hands of more people, who would benefit from the practical support it offers. We’re excited to have secured funding from the Lottery’s Community Fund to fund a part-time worker who will be in post very soon.
- Map out the impact of the Resettlement Passport on tenancy sustainment – we’ll be working with organisations who are already using the course to look at the difference that the course is making to people being able to sustain their tenancies.
- Welsh Translation – Translating the course materials into Welsh is a priority for us. It is subject to funding but we would like to do that this year.
- Refugee Groups – There’s been interest from a number of support organisations working with refugee groups who have said that the resettlement passport would be invaluable to people trying to navigate UK systems around housing, utilities etc. This year, it would be great to start working with one or two of these services and see how it can be best used to support refugees.
- Telling the story – We want to get better at telling the story of the impact the course is having – people’s stories and the stories from professionals using the resource to support vulnerable people.
We’re looking for people and organisations to work in partnership with. That could look like an organisation starting to use the Resettlement Passport, putting in a joint funding bid with us or sponsoring the provision of the Resettlement Passport to a group of people who might benefit. We’re always open to a conversation to see how we can work together. I’ve recently seen an excellent video interview by Staf with Louise Wallwein MBE who was a care leaver, about the advice she would give her 17 year old self and it resonates for all types of vulnerable people we are supporting:
“But mainly think big, everything you have been told is not true. All those expectations of failure are actually not true. What’s more likely to happen if you believe it is that you’ll be successful, but it takes a lot of hard work, you have to take advice. You have to learn the actual skills to survive"
- Louise Wallwein, MBE, Poet Laureate and Playwright
Resettlement Passport Co-ordinator.