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Crisis services in action, and in a pandemic – we hear from Area Manager, Jessica Fish

May be a cartoon of text that says "RICHMOND FELLOWSHIP MAKING RECOVERY REALITY Focus on... CRISIS SERVICES #OurCrisisServices"

To end #OurCrisisServices week we hear from Jessica Fish, Area Manager in Lancashire. We started delivering Crisis interventions in Lancashire in 2017, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength.

We are immensely proud of the impact they’ve had and the hard work our staff have put in to make this a reality – and wanted to hear direct from Jessica about the hard work behind it all.

What was the first Crisis Service in Lancashire and why was it commissioned?

It all started in 2016 when Richmond Fellowship won a contract with Lancashire Care Foundation trust to deliver two Crisis Houses across Lancashire – Chorley opened in May 2017 (Willow House) and Burnley in April 2018 (Oak House).

The services were commissioned to support the pressures around inpatient admissions and ED (Emergency Department/A&E) presentations. They were intended to offer an alternative – therapeutic interventions that would hopefully reduce the amount of people who would need an informal hospital admission.

Following the purchase of a house in Chorley, a complete refurb happened to create a 6-bedroom house including en-suite bathrooms, an office, kitchen, lounge, and an activity room. All bedrooms are fully furnished, and the house provides a ‘home away from home’ feel to ensure those using the service feel relaxed. The team did a lot of work around colour therapy and understanding how surroundings can affect a person’s mood and reduce anxiety.

What’s come since?

Since the two Crisis Houses opened in 2017/2018, the Crisis Pathway has evolved even further across Lancashire – we now provide two outreach services, three Haven services, and are set to open another Crisis House 2 March 2021.

Willow House and Oak House clearly evidenced the potential for therapeutic interventions as an alternative for those needing less intense clinical support. Situations such as a social crisis influencing someone’s mental health or managing the feelings and behaviours that come with a diagnosis such as personality disorders. The Crisis Services work with all of this, along with an even more holistic approach to a persons’ recovery.

The Crisis Houses have shown to be both cost effective, compared to an inpatient stay (in and out of area) and effective in offering a safer, less clinical environment.

What have we learnt along the way?

We have learnt a lot and developed in several areas. Multiagency working is key. The last four years have always shown that the better the multiagency working, the better the outcomes for those using the service.  We have also learnt to adapt our styles and service offer from site to site to ensure that each person gets the best they can out of the intervention sessions.

Most recently we have adapted our offer to include those who are street homeless or who have no fixed address, and to assess this on an individual basis to support recovery.

We have also learnt to adapt with the needs of the clinical teams and practitioners, to learn about where their pressures are, and see where we can support in adapting our offer to those that require more intensive support.

How has the pandemic impacted your work?

The pandemic has meant that we have had to review and adapt our offer and service delivery  regularly over the last year. Most of our support has become virtual – whether this be over the phone or over Zoom/Microsoft Teams. The impact of additional workload on the team to ensure all the government guidance is followed in order to keep everyone safe, whilst also ensuring that all virtual sessions are productive, has also been a challenge.

I’m proud of how all our staff have stepped up to the challenge of the past year – they have worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months. They have supported through service delivery changes and learnt new ways of successfully supporting and keeping people safe throughout their mental health recovery.

The pandemic has caused pressures across all services, including clinical services, and again we have had to continue reviewing our standard operating procedure to ensure we are meeting the needs of the clinical services.

What’s next?

Our current focus is Blackpool Crisis House which launches at the beginning of March! We’re determined to ensure the service provision meets the needs of the community in Blackpool.

Put simply we want to ensure that we are as successful in Blackpool as we are in our already established areas.

Mental health care in crisis

Earlier this month the government set out plans for reform of the NHS. Amongst other things the intention is to support more joined up care – and enable greater integration of services across the NHS, voluntary sector and local authorityA community-based mental health crisis First Response Service (FRS) was cited by the Secretary of State as a case study of what this joined up care looks like in practice.

At Richmond Fellowship we are delighted to see crisis provision used so clearly as a great example of sector partners working together to deliver better care to the people who need it, when they need it. 

In 2015 Derek Caren, our Chief Executive said: “As a voluntary sector organisation we’re committed to playing our part in creating joined-up services that can truly provide the best possible care for people with mental health problems, especially in a crisis situation when individuals are at their most vulnerable.”

We know that presenting at A&E shouldn’t be the only option available to someone experiencing a mental health crisis. We also know the pressure NHS Trusts are facing in terms of unnecessary hospital admissions and delayed discharges for mental ill-health.  

We have now been pioneering crisis provision for over 17 years  from our Crisis Cafes and Safe Havens offering immediate support and signposting to our Crisis Houses for people needing step down support from hospital, or intensive support to stop then from going into hospital in the first place 

We are justifiably proud of these services, the people they support and the staff that power them. Crisis services, and increased partnership working, are going to be needed ever more in the months and years ahead to deal with increasing (and increasingly complex) mental health needs. We are glad to see that the proposed NHS reforms recognise this, and the power of crisis interventions. Yet from the outside we know it might be hard to understand what a crisis service actually is and how it works in practice 

That’s why this week, across all our social media, we’re going to be focusing in on our Crisis Services We’ll be hearing from the people we support and our frontline staff, and we’ll be sharing images and statisticthat bring the services to life. Please follow the week on #OurCrisisServices – and share with anyone you think should know about our crisis services. And if you want to find out more about commissioning or partnering with us in your area pleascontact: communications@richmondfellowship.org.uk  

Employment services: Minderjit’s recovery story

We’re proud to be highlighting the work of our Employment services this week!

Minderjit, a person we support at our Redbridge and Havering IPS Employment service shares her personal recovery story:

“Before I was contacted by Richmond Fellowship I felt hopeless and was unable to find employment! I accessed the service on the 20 March 2020; Sabrina from Richmond Fellowship got in touch with me and told me she would work alongside me to achieve my employment goals.

I found working with her helped me find my feet and she is very understanding and extremely helpful.

I would have weekly appointments with her and complete the target we would set for each session, whether that was completing applications or calling potential employers. I would find each week that I would get closer and closer to my employment goal because of target setting.

Sabrina helped me get into studying a childcare course and assisted me with getting a place at a local nursery for my placement. This was achieved by Sabrina completing some employment engagement on my behalf, speaking to the manager to secure the placement at the childcare centre with an agreement of paid employment at the end of my placement period. I was happy with this outcome and was excited to start my new journey in childcare.

I couldn’t thank her enough for all the support she has given me! The service from Richmond Fellowship is excellent and I would recommend it to those whom need help finding employment”.

Listen to our January 2021 Radio Sparky podcast where we hear from John Veir, Employment Advisor at Richmond Fellowship’s Cambridgeshire Employment service by clicking here.

Richmond Fellowship in The Guardian: Change in the charity sector

Richmond Fellowship was asked to contribute to a recent article in The Guardian around creating a movement of change in the charity and social care sector.

Danny O’Donoghue, Area Manager for our West services was only too happy to take up the task and this is what he had to say:

Do you have relevant personal experience?

People often think in binaries: are you political or altruistic? Are you a person in need or a volunteer? When truthfully, we are all of these things. It’s time to collapse the distinction between the helper and the helped, something addiction and prison services have known for years: there is no more effective support than that which comes from someone who’s been there.

Danny said: “If you ever want to know total isolation, try hearing voices. Nothing is more alienating than something you can’t share. When clinicians ran these groups, they were poorly attended – sometimes the staff outnumbered the people. That never happens with volunteers with experience. I was struck by one saying, ‘The voices have always been the thing I hide, that I find some way to bury. The pleasure in this instance is being able to wear it as a uniquely qualifying asset, to apply it in support of someone else’s recovery.’”

You can read the full article on Guardian Online here.

If you’re a journalist and would like us to comment or contribute to future press or media articles, please contact our Communications and Marketing team here.

Radio Sparky: December 2020 podcast

Listen to our latest edition of Radio Sparky, the podcast which shines the spotlight on the excellent work happening at Richmond Fellowship services across the country.

In December’s edition, Matt Webb, Communications and Marketing Officer speaks to Jessica Fish, Area Manager of Richmond Fellowship’s Lancashire services about her journey through the charity to becoming an Area Manager, how her services have been managing during the coronavirus pandemic and about a new Social Enterprise element to our Central Lancashire Haven.

‘The way in which the Service Managers and the Recovery Workers adapted, the way that they worked was incredible. Going from doing all face to face visits or support sessions to everything being virtual, learning how to use new platforms to delivering those sessions and also supporting people that use our services to access those virtual platforms’. – Jessica Fish, Area Manager.

Sudbury service receives donation of £1,700 from local Rotary Club

Tony Platt (left) presenting the cheque to Jenna Keenan (middle) and Sue Capstaff (right)

Richmond Fellowship’s Sudbury supported housing and community service in Suffolk has received a cheque for £1,700 as part of their charity of the year status with the local Rotary Club.

Tony Platt, President of the Sudbury Rotary Club selected Richmond Fellowship, the Suffolk Befriending Scheme and East Anglian Air Ambulance as his chosen charities for his 2018-2019 ‘Rotary Year’.

Various fundraising events took place over the last 12 months and proceeds split between the three charities. Events included the town’s annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Peter’s Church in December, a Valentines Day collection in Sudbury Town Centre during February, the Rotary Club’s annual charity gala dinner with special guest speaker BBC News presenter Huw Edwards and a Sudbury Last Night of the Proms music event in June.

The cheque was presented to the service’s new Community Link Worker, Jenna Keenan and Recovery Worker Sue Capstaff at the Rotary Club’s AGM in July.

The money will be spent locally, providing even more recovery based activities and trips for those using the service.

Kerry Stiles, Area Manager for Richmond Fellowship’s East Anglia services said:

‘This is wonderful news for our team and those using our services in Sudbury. The service is a bastion and champion for fundraising and it’s lovely to see their work in the local community rewarded. I’d like to pay tribute to Tony Platt for selecting Richmond Fellowship as one of his chosen charities and to all those involved in the Sudbury Rotary Club for their fundraising efforts during the past year’.

The news comes as part of a bumper fundraising year for service, which was recognised as Great Cornard Coop’s charity partner of the year, receiving £2,800 back in March.

Staff, volunteers and people we support recognised at ENRICH Awards 2019

Winning Kensington and Chelsea team

Staff, volunteers and people we support at Richmond Fellowship came together to celebrate the outstanding work happening across the organisation at the ENRICH Awards.

The awards, which took place on Thursday 21 March at London Metropolitan University, are based on Richmond Fellowship’s six organisational values (Enabling, Networking, Respect, Inclusion, Community and Hope).

Over 124 nominations were received across 10 categories – with over 50 nominations alone for the Inspiring Individual Staff Award category.

The winners:

Excellence in Innovation
Winner: Lowther Street Crisis House
Highly Commended: Macclesfield Homeless and Complex Needs Service and Trevayler Care Home

The nominees enjoying some Bhangra Drumming

Excellence in Partnership Working
Winner: East Surrey Work Programme
Highly Commended: My Time Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme and Tyne, Wear and Northumberland Liaison and Diversion Service

Excellence in Engagement
Winner: RF Connect (Internal case management system)
Highly Commended: Pele Tower and Wiltshire Recovery and Social Inclusion Service

Excellence in Inclusion
Winner: Kensington and Chelsea Supported Housing Service
Highly Commended: Suffolk Recovery and The Old Moat

Hope Award: Nominated by the People We Support
Winner: Leicestershire Life Links
Highly Commended: Mid and West Surrey Employment Service and North West Surrey Employment Service

Ayesha receiving her Chief Executive’s Award from Derek Caren

Central Services Team Recognition Award
Winner: Communications and Marketing
Highly Commended: Learning and Development and Business Development

Inspiring Individual Staff Award
Winners: Christine (Locality Manager, Midlands), Simon (Employment Advisor, Mid and West Surrey Employment Service)
Highly Commended: Damian (Recovery Worker, Kensington and Chelsea Supported Housing Service), Emily (Group Internal Communications Officer), Hannah (Employment Advisor, Kirklees Employment Service), Rachael (Community Link Worker, Tyne, Wear and Northumberland Liaison and Diversion Service) and Stephen (Recovery Worker, Tower House)

Inspiring Individual People We Support Award
Winner: Angela (Suffolk Recovery)
Highly Commended: Berenice (Cambridge Employment Service) and Ethan (Redcar and Cleveland Supported Housing Service)

Volunteer Recognition Award
Winners: Ste (Working Together Committee) and Miriam (Funding and Development Volunteer, DVIP)
Highly Commended: Elizabeth (Recovery Workshops Assistant, Wiltshire Recovery and Social Inclusion Service)

Chief Executive’s Award
Winner: Ayesha (Recovery Worker, Moorview Supported Housing Service)

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship said:

‘The ENRICH Awards celebrate the outstanding work and achievements that take place across Richmond Fellowship. This year was made extra special as we are celebrating 60 years of Richmond Fellowship. As a member of the judging panel, I was blown away by all of the nominations we received and I would like to congratulate each and every individual and team who were nominated. I would also like to personally thank our sponsors: Bob Rehill, CDP Soft, Energycentic, Castleton, uMarketeers, Yuuzuu, MEA, Kainos and Lloyds Bank for helping to make the awards so special’.

Richmond Fellowship recognised for promoting equality and diversity

Richmond Fellowship has once again been placed in the top 100 organisations for promoting diversity, equality and inclusion by the National Centre for Diversity (NCFD).

Richmond Fellowship was ranked number 92 in the country, in recognition of its work to promote diversity, inclusiveness and equality across the organisation.

Tracey Bell, Director of Performance, Quality and Innovation at Richmond Fellowship said:

“It’s great news that in 2019 we are again ranked in the top 100. We’re incredibly proud of our diverse workforce and the range of experience our staff bring to supporting people using our services. This achievement is down to the hard work and commitment of everyone in Richmond Fellowship to promoting diversity and inclusion and to working together with the people we support to shape our services.

I am particularly proud that Richmond Fellowship’s mean gender pay gap, at 5.93%, is significantly lower that the not for profit sector average of 19.4%. Also that, while we recognise there is always more for us to do, 82% of staff in Richmond Fellowship feel that their colleagues work in accordance with the principles of Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.”

Richmond Fellowship also holds Investors in Diversity status in recognition of its work to provide opportunities for people living with mental ill health and to ensure diversity right across the organisation.

NHS Long Term Plan Comment

In response to the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship said:

We welcome the focus on mental ill health in the long term funding plan. Currently, there is massive pressure on facilities with the result that many people are not getting the help they need quickly enough or near enough to their families and friends.

For example, only last week, a woman in one of our crisis services who needed to be accommodated under the Mental Health Act had to go over 300 miles away from home to get a bed.

We hope that this plan will result in a real step change in the way mental health services are viewed and resourced.

Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

Last year the Prime Minister announced an Independent Review of the Mental Health Act – which sets out when a person can be detained and treated in hospital against their wishes – to look at how it is used and how it can be improved.

Over the course of 2018, the Review has heard from thousands of people who have been detained under the Act, and from their families and carers, about their experiences.

The Independent Review has now published its final report with around 150 recommendations for change. The Prime Minister has welcomed the report and announced that the Government plans to bring forward a new mental health bill.

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship commented:

As Richmond Fellowship approaches its 60th anniversary in 2019, we’re celebrating our history and looking forward to positive changes ahead.

The development of our community based services coincided with a previous Mental Health Act of 1959, which helped establish the pathway for many people to leave hospital and live in the community. We strongly welcome and endorse the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act of 1983.

Strengthening people’s rights and their ability to challenge decisions under the Act when people are at their most vulnerable is a key development and necessary improvement to deliver better mental health services. We want to see these changes enacted by the Government as soon as possible alongside further investment in community based preventative services to reduce the number of people who are being detained.

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