Sanctuary Supported Living – Priory Avenue East Sussex

The voices of clients have been heard and resulted in more client-led involvement activities at Priory Avenue.

Previously Priory Avenue has relied upon traditional style of monthly house meetings to obtain views from clients. The result was meetings that were dreaded by staff and avoided by clients. Through keywork sessions client universally agreed that meetings were held too often and were too focused on paperwork. Clients wanted events not meetings with no set agenda and an opportunity to socialise building up their social networks. 

The result has been a series of bi-monthly themed events directed by clients who participate in preparation. The Summer Beach, Winter Warmer and Xmas Cracker events include decorating the communal area being decorated and provide:

  • innovative ways for clients to feedback in e.g. writing it on coconuts and sticking onto a palm tree
  • activities e.g. a quiz on how to keep warm on a low budget and
  • opportunities to socialise e.g. Xmas ‘carol okie’. 

Priory Road Case Study

Staff attend for the first hour giving an opportunity to meet the manager then leave the clients to lead the rest of the event which usually lasts 3-4 hours.

Time frame: The new events were brought in eight months ago and are now an ongoing model of client involvement and developing client voice.

What evidence is there that this resulted in improved outcomes for individuals using services? 

  • 80% of client attend the events which is a 400% increase
  • Staff member who are not on shift have come into the service in their own time to attend the event.
  • Clients and staff have reported it has broken down the barriers between staff and clients.
  • Communication has improved between staff and clients without compromising professional boundaries.
  • Staff are able to identify strengths in clients through the events and their preparation which contributes to support planning.
  • Conflict in the house has disappeared and clients have taken on the role of welcoming newcomers to the house.
  • Clients take the lead in directing events and participating in their planning and preparation.
  • Clients support each other in the events and develop social networks e.g. a client with sensory impairment and a client with ill mental health mutually support each other.
  • Clients feedback they are more informed and able to direct their housing support service development and delivery.

How this resulted in improved outcomes for the service itself?

Enjoy and achieve – clients are developing social networks and support each other. Clients report improvements in self esteem and confidence.

Making a positive contribution – clients participate in decision making at all levels of the service.

Be health – clients are improving their cooking skills though the health cooking activities.

Achieve economic wellbeing – clients are improving their budgeting and ‘living for less’ skills through participating in the activities.

What challenges did the organisation face? How were these resolved?

The biggest challenge is the staff resources and cost of materials, food and transport which are currently being funded by charitable donations.  This has been resolved by a provider and commissioner recognition that staff resources supporting the events is an integral part of supporting clients meet their outcomes.  The scheme has identified this approach could be extended to other areas of support, for example, the current DIY workshops could be replaced by a team challenge to put together flat pack furniture.

Contact person: Fiona Knight, Local Service Manager
Phone: 01424 72148901424 721489