Lofty Heights and Stepping Home East
There is often a lot of talk about partnership working, it’s usually just an umbrella term for the VCSE network to provide free work to statutory services. However, Lofty Heights is very good at playing with others, we have excellent relationships with many organisations. This month I would like to highlight Stepping Home.
Stepping Home East is run by Sue Gilmour and has been running for three years. The service provides two respite beds in sheltered accommodation for people unable to return home due to the conditions in their homes. It could be clutter, cleanliness, repairs or heating issues, or adaptions. Stepping Home has provided a safety net to many of our customers, either through Homeward Bound or our decluttering service. Whilst Lofty Heights tackles the issues with clutter and cleaning in the home, Stepping Home is able to work with the person, check income levels, arrange benefit checks, look at the housing situation and support that person for up to six weeks. That is a crucial level of support. It gives breathing space to negotiate funding and waste disposal. Lofty Heights and Stepping Home refer into each other’s service so that people can get assessed and be helped much quicker than through regular routes.
One of the unintended outcomes of Stepping Home East is the incredible response customers have had to moving in to ‘normal’ accommodation. Sheltered housing has had a poor press over the last decade or so, yet when people are parachuted in from their unsavoury conditions we have been astounded at their reactions. In most cases, we find, that suddenly being in a clear clean property, where all facilities work as they should, without clutter blocking access, people find out exactly how the have been living for the last however many years. It’s been a real eye-opener for them and us. Not only have they had the wake-up call that they need but they get a glimpse of a way of living that they may never have experienced, or not for a very long time. it has had such an impact that a number of referrals have made sheltered accommodation part of their plan for the next step in their life.