A Vulnerable Adult Support Scheme is being pioneered in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, to help and support vulnerable residents under the Safer Streets initiative.
The scheme, which is unique to Ashfield, has been set up by Ashfield District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire to assist residents with complex needs who are involved in crime, anti-social behaviour and exploitation. It is also designed to help victims or survivors of such behaviour.
The team is made up of domestic abuse, housing, social care, health, and housing specialists. It has so far provided intensive support to 17 residents who have presented with a combination of different support needs from mental health, domestic abuse, homelessness, unemployment and threats to life.
The support provided is aimed at making a positive, long-term effect on residents’ lives and the local community, with many residents reporting notable improvements to their circumstances as result of the team’s support.
One resident referred into the team was subject to abuse and controlling behaviour, resulting in them being fearful and suicidal, and turning to drugs as a means of escape. The resident was supported in stopping their drug activity and was found alternative accommodation, alongside counselling support to improve their mental health, safety planning and financial assistance.
The resident spoke about their previous experiences of being referred to different agencies, repeating their story, and not feeling their needs were being addressed, before getting help and support from the team. The resident in question recently contacted their key worker and thanked them for all the support provided to help get their life back on track.
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Community Safety and Crime Reduction at Ashfield District Council, said: “This is just one example of residents being helped. It is fantastic to see the resident make a positive change in her life thanks to the initiative. The team are providing such a vital service for our most vulnerable residents and are making a real difference to the residents of Kirkby.”
Antonio Taylor, Community Safety Manager for Ashfield District Council added: “We recognise that many vulnerable residents experience issues that are multi-faceted. This often results in them contacting multiple services to get the help and support they require. We are simplifying the way residents receive support by acting as a single point of contact. As a result, we are seeing residents engage who would not ordinarily do so, in order to get the help and support they require.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire Caroline Henry said: “The Safer Streets scheme champions innovation and the Vulnerable Adult Support Scheme is yet another example of how we are working together as partner agencies and using this funding to launch a pioneering project that is making a real difference in helping people break the cycle of offending.
“By helping vulnerable people tackle the root causes of their offending, it gives them the best possible chance of leading a more positive lifestyle. This is not only great for them but also for the communities who would have otherwise been impacted by this offending.
“Other innovative Safer Streets schemes include the world’s first Refuge Point CCTV camera system, which also launched in Ashfield, and the Safe Spaces scheme, giving people a safe haven with local businesses if they feel unsafe in public. All of these schemes are coming together to help us meet the Safer Streets aim to prevent neighbourhood crime and antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.”
Inspector Jon Hewitt from Nottinghamshire Police said: “We know that some our most vulnerable residents are the least engaged with services. Feelings of being passed between services can perpetuate further disengagement and over time individuals become increasingly vulnerable with feelings of low self-value.
"The Vulnerable Adult Support Scheme is supporting individuals who may be victims of domestic abuse, they may have succumbed to drug abuse following trauma or been abused in their childhood. It is important that the partnership shows individuals who find themselves in these circumstances that we are invested in them and will support them with a bespoke package to engage with services, their community and ultimately increase their feelings of self purpose.”
Posted on Thursday 26th January 2023