Catch22 works in partnership with Colchester Borough Homes, Eastlight Community Homes (formerly Colne Housing), Tendring District Council and Active Essex by delivering therapeutic and practical, hands on intensive support to people at risk of homelessness. The people we support will be at risk of eviction or experiencing difficulties that are impacting on their tenancy or the local community. The project supports both families and vulnerable individuals, seeking to address the root causes of their presenting issues to enable a more positive and sustainable future, whilst reducing or eliminating the risk of homelessness.
Service users are encouraged to take an active role in the planning and delivery of the service, with the aim of enabling them to sustain positive change and manage future issues in a productive way.
“I’ve had so much support over the last few months from Alex, she’s been amazing to me and my two girls. I definitely wouldn’t cope very well if I didn’t have support from her. I honestly cannot thank her enough.”
– Service user
The service initially meets with the service user on a one-to-one basis to understand the impact of their experience and to identify further support needs. We use “Outcome Star” and “Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Scale” as a framework to identify needs and measure progress, which we review at 6-8 weekly intervals throughout the programme. Each package of support includes:
- undertaking regular one-to-one, solution-focused wellbeing support
- attending professional’s meetings with or on behalf of service users
- support and guidance around budget management, rent arrears and benefit entitlements
- increasing activity levels and supporting service users to utilise their local resources
- parenting and relationship support • support around mental health and substance misuse
- engaging with and signposting service users to specialist or statutory support services where needed
- ensuring service users have clear, achievable and regularly reviewed targets
“We could have been made homeless because of all the complaints from neighbours and visits from the police. Ann helped to fight our side and helped us move to a safer place.”
– Service user
The service has supported 36 families this year.
The team is made up of 1 coordinator, 1 administrator, 3 project workers (part time and sessional), and 1 service manager.
The above staff members are qualified and experienced Catch22 Practitioners in evidence based, therapeutic, targeted support with young people and families, as well as Managers experienced in developing, supervising and supporting staff in the delivery of relevant programmes and activities. The mix of background experiences allows these staff members, and the wider Catch22, to share skills, knowledge and expertise to provide a specialised service to meet contract requirements, service user needs and to support them in achieving their full potential.
All Catch22 practitioners receive regular supervision, are subject to Catch22’s performance-based appraisal scheme and receive ongoing training / development relevant to their role.
“Ann has been working with the referred case since June 2020 and while this may seem a long time this is not due to any fault of Ann’s. She has been very patient and understanding of the referred needs and wellbeing as well as managing the often-erratic behaviour the referred has, along with understanding the family needs/issues as well.
“Ann has kept me apprised of her the achievements within the case, and the unsuccessful attempts to support, she is willing to discuss and seek new solutions to reach the goals and outcomes of the person needs, all while working within Government COVID-19 restrictions.
“It is a pleasure to work with someone who is dedicated, supportive, understanding and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure she has exhausted all avenues before she move onto the next area of prioritised need. Keep up the fantastic work Ann and Catch22.”
– Amanda Clare Tenancy, Sustainment Officer at Eastlight Community Homes
The Distance Travelled report will allow you to see the change that has taken place between two Stars completed at different points in time. It shows in which outcome areas progress is being made, and how much progress is being made.
This report is useful for learning about the support a service is providing, and in which outcome areas service users appear to make more progress than in other areas. This can help services identify best practice to be replicated in other aspects of the service or highlight areas where a new approach (such as new training for practitioners, or new interventions) could be helpful.
The Distance Travelled report is useful for demonstrating the impact of a service to internal and external stakeholders, as it shows where progress is being made, and how much progress is made on average. For example, the charts can be used in an impact report to show what impact the service is having with the people it supports, across the outcome areas covered by a Star.
It can also be used in supervision between managers and practitioners to understand what is going on within someone’s caseload.
What does the data tell us?
This year you will notice a slight drop in home and money, and education and learning. Our work with service users has informed us that due to coronavirus restrictions, we have not been able to engage with service users in their homes as regularly or in the same way as previous years. The drop in education and learning is due to most children within families being home-schooled and many of our families having struggled with this. In addition, our harder to engage service users have been reluctant to use the remote and digital methods of contact available to us when restrictions have not allowed us to visit their homes.
How have we helped with this?
We have ensured that we speak regularly to all our families over the phone, through face time or any type of video call. We have completed walk and talk sessions, made doorstop deliveries and welfare checks, as well as utilising our activity fund to provide people with equipment to keep active and engaged at home during lockdowns (also running virtual games and competitions).
The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale
We ask our service users to complete “The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale” (or SWEMWBS) alongside their Family Stars every 6-8 weeks. The scale asks people to rate how often they agree with each of the statements at each review (i.e. none of the time, rarely, some of the time, often, all of the time – also see the statements in the chart below).
We use the data gathered from all 28 service users who have completed 2 or more SWEMWBS scales, to show the number of service users who have been agreeing with each statement more, the same, or less than at their first scale.
On an individual basis, how service users are feeling, alongside the review of their Family Star and their personal circumstances, helps us understand more about our service users’ sense of confidence and ability in themselves, which allows us to better tailor our support.
The data shows us that the biggest improvement is in service users feeling that they can solve problems. Despite most service users reporting an improvement in feeling able to make up their own minds, the chart shows this area as having the least amount of improvement.
Overall, this data shows us that our service users’ self confidence and wellbeing improves as the support programme progresses.
Service user feedback
“You are our real life, everyday Santa Claus. Thank you so much. I really don’t know how to thank you for all your have done for us. I don’t know what I have done in life to deserve such kindness.”
“We had not even thought about what we would eat at Christmas and when we got to the shops, they did not even have a Turkey, nothing. When the Anti-Loo Roll Brigade turned up with a Christmas Food Hamper (organised by Catch 22), I was speechless. They saved our Christmas. If I could have given the man who delivered the hamper a hug I would have. We had a lovely diner because of them.”
“I’m writing this email to say how much Ann has helped me and what a difference it made. I suffer from severe mental health problems since working with an she has helped me with everything when I’m down she cheers me up when I’m having bad days if it wasn’t for Ann, I might have been on a bad path. Ann always keeps in contact with me even through these bad circumstances. If I didn’t have Ann to help me when I’m in a bad way I don’t no what I would have done she is a great help.”
“Personally, you have been professional and supportive and always been honest and straight talking with us. Your support of Leanne* through her mental health has been so important, again without your kindness and dedication to us as a family I fear where we would be now.”
- 100% of service users said that Catch22 staff cared about them and their well-being.
- 100% of service users would recommend Catch22 to others.
Due to the pandemic, family days out in local areas and a lot of our usual home visits couldn’t go ahead as planned.
We would usually have larger events for each half term however due to restrictions we were unable to facilitate this, so we had to have smaller activities for individual families which included activity days in Castle Park.
We had to complete more walk and talk sessions as we were unable to be in families’ homes for a short amount of time. This also included more phone and video call meetings, which is quite difficult with families who don’t have good phones or internet access.
We had to continually update Risk Assessments and check government guidance in regards COVID Safe ways of working. This made it very difficult to plan for activities.
We repurposed our activity and travel budgets to provide service users with much needed equipment and resources, continuing to encourage and promote physical activity at home despite lockdowns.
We sent out activity bags during the summer holidays. These included bats and balls, bubbles, skipping ropes, footballs, bouncy balls and an activity sheet for daily challenges.
For Halloween we sent out an activity pack that included a pumpkin, pumpkin carving kit, a pumpkin soup recipe, sweets, and all the materials needed to make a new craft every day, with an activity sheet on how to complete the crafts.
For Christmas, every child and young person received a Scooter.
We made sure we prioritised our most vulnerable families by having a traffic light approach to those most in need, which we reviewed, updated and acted on as a team every week.
“Catch22 provide a brilliant service and have been especially good with my requests when I sent a request for support for an ongoing tenant before she had signed the tenancy. Therefore you were prepared as soon as the tenant moved in to provide support. Many thanks for all of your hard work.”
– Linda Bugg, Colchester Borough Homes
CHIP and the pandemic
In the last year our service has received 36 referrals, 10% less than 2019-20, due to our referral partners not being able to visit service users face-to-face. As measures now ease, we anticipate an increase in referrals for 2021-2022.
We have continued to support service users directly where measures allow, and have adapted to remote methods of support and engagement with both service users and our partners throughout the pandemic. We asked our referring officers for feedback on how we did during the pandemic:
- “The communication remained excellent during lockdown.”
- “We had more regular catchup calls, and follow up emails to ensure nothing was missed as we were unable to do joint visits.”
- “The service has always been excellent, but not being able to visit has had an impact both on the service users, the referrer and Catch22, but all parties have understood how things are and have worked in the best possible way to overcome the difficulties.”
- “Catch22 provides an excellent service, we would like to be able to have more cases with them and have a closer working partnership with them.”
- “Catch22 staff have continued to work in the best interests of their service users during unique times and have done so with the restrictions. They have done a great job and should be proud of their work. Thank you Catch22.”
100% of service users continued to find the service useful while we were working remotely.
We asked our service users for feedback on how we did during the pandemic:
- “I have felt very supported throughout all this pandemic, through food parcel deliveries, walk and talk sessions or chatting over the phone.”
- “Even though we were going through a pandemic, my support from Alex was still the same. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
- “We can always rely on Ann to be there for us and to listen and help.”
Working in partnership
This year we have managed to continue to work closely with all our partners throughout the pandemic. We have achieved this by utilising virtual meetings and communicating more regularly over the phone and by email, to ensure partners continue to be updated on service users’ circumstances.
During periods where housing officers were not able to complete home visits due to government measures, our Covid Safe working practices and risk assessments enabled us to continue working directly with the most vulnerable service users, meaning that we could continue to update our partners in regards the welfare of tenants, condition of the property and any other issues or concerns that may have arisen.
Colchester Borough homes and Eastlight Community Homes (formerly Colne Housing)
Longstanding and excellent partnership working allows us to easily and quickly share information, expertise, training and resources, enabling us to tailor interventions with service users. This work can also include skip hire, garden clearances and any work that is needed inside the property such as adaptations. During the pandemic, we managed to work in partnership by keeping each other updated on cases and held regular virtual meetings.
Tendring District Council
We have built excellent partnership working relationships within the housing department. Through these relationships we can respond to urgent referrals quickly, facilitate support with discretionary housing payments and other financial support, coordinate any adaptations within the home, arrange skip hires, and provide resources. Since the pandemic we have been unable to attend the office with the TDC staff, so to ensure we kept up with regular communication we spoke to our referrers on a regular basis and kept them updated at all times.
Our ongoing partnership with Active Essex has afforded us new opportunities to meet with activity-based agencies and attend network events. Expertise, advice and information is regularly shared regarding local activities, clubs and events, which we can encourage and support our service users to attend. During the pandemic as we were not able to complete our usual family activities, but thanks to our great partnership with Active Essex we were able to send out activity bags to all our families. This meant families could keep active during these difficult times. We have also taken part in a research project conducted by The University of Essex this year.
We work very closely with several local charities and organisations such as social care, mental health teams, vulnerable adults’ services, GPs, landlords, estate agents, furniture and clothing charities. We have managed to keep up to date with all the above partners by making sure we have teams calls on a regular basis to ensure that we all know what each other are up to, and provide support to those who need it in a coordinated way.
Value for money
Adapting to the pandemic
At the early stages of the pandemic, we RAG rated the vulnerability of all our service users and how government measures will impact their ability to meet their needs. We created Covid Safe working plans and risk assessments aligned to government guidance, contingency planned for future changes in government measures, and adapted our operational models to include a hybrid of remote, digital and socially distanced ways of working. This enabled us to continue to support our service users in the best way possible, aligned to their individual needs and changing government measures.
Several working groups were established across the organisation in response to the pandemic, covering themes relating to Operational Adaptions, Health & Safety and Covid Safe Ways of Working, Contingency Planning, as well as planning for Life After Lockdown.
In 2018, supported by Tendring District Council we were successful in our application to Nationwide Community Grants, securing 2 years pilot funding to mobilise CHIP in to Tendring District. The pilot was a huge success, and we have now entered a funding partnership with Tendring District Council for the 2021-2022 year.
Through our partnership with Active Essex (and in response to the measures in place throughout the year), we have been able to repurpose activity funding to provide service users with much needed resources and equipment to stay active at home. Through remote competitions, support and wellbeing checks, service users have continued to have access to the essential help and resources they need to stay active and healthy during the pandemic. This year we have also been part of a research project conducted by the University of Essex, to explore the impact of physical activity on socio-economically deprived people in receipt of additional support.
“Despite challenges, Catch22 have engaged well with the evaluation process. Provider surveys completed as scheduled every three months. Catch22 continued to encourage and promote physical activity despite lockdown. Supports sustainable behaviour change to address risks of homelessness.”
– Quotes from University of Essex Evaluation Summary (Dr Anna Petican)
Through our persistent, strength based and solution-focused approach to supporting vulnerable people, we have continued to prevent homelessness and therefore reduce the financial burdens placed on our housing association partners (including the significant costs associated with eviction). Through preventing homelessness we also reduce the much wider cost implications associated with homelessness across neighbouring areas and across the country.
“I could never fault the support given to our tenants, always seems to be comprehensive and mirrors the goals set out by Colchester Borough Homes.”
– Sam Potter, Colchester Borough Homes