Catch22 works in partnership with Colchester Borough Homes and Tendring District Council by delivering therapeutic and practical, hands-on and intensive support to their tenants in permanent, temporary or emergency accommodation. The people we support will be at risk of eviction / homelessness 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 supported 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.
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 Wellbeing Scale” as a framework to identify needs, areas of improve and to measure distance travelled, which we review at 6-8 weekly intervals throughout the programme.
“I find it difficult to trust, and I feel I have no sense of self-worth. Working with Catch22 I can talk to you easily and I know you will support me and make me feel better about myself.”
– Service user
CHIP’s objective is to engage families at point of referral in holistic / whole-family support, which includes:
- undertaking regular one-to-one support
- solution-focused wellbeing support
- attending professionals 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
The service has worked with 38 families this year.
- 100% of service users said that Catch22 staff cared about them and their wellbeing.
100% of service users would recommend Catch22 to others.
“Without Catch22’s help and working with our housing officers with us we would not have been able to stay in our home. We would probably have been homeless again. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate everything you have done for us. We can always turn to Catch22 for support.”
– Service user
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/or 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 the local teal 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.
“Catch22 provide a brilliant service and have been especially good with my requests when I sent a request for support for an ingoing 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.”
– Accommodation Officer
Outcome Star (Homelessness Star)
Outcome Star is designed as an integral component of one-to-one keywork or support, and completing it is intended to be a helpful process that stimulates and focuses discussion and provides a useful basis for action planning.
This report will allow you to see the change that has taken place between two Stars completed at different points in time. Based on records from 22 service users.
Mental health and wellbeing
The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (SWEMWBS)
We ask our service users to complete “The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale” (or SWEMWBS) alongside their homelessness 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).
This uses the data gathered from 24 service users who have completed 2 or more SWEMWBS scales since April 2021, to show the number of service users who have been agreeing with each statement more, the same, or less than at their first recorded scale.
On an individual basis, how service users are feeling, alongside the review of their Homelessness 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.
*Laura’s support worker explains how working with CHIP has helped Laura to change her life for the better:
“Laura was living in temporary accommodation, suffering mental health conditions including borderline personality disorder (BPD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She was vulnerable, in debt, and misusing substances. She had also been accepting money and drugs in return for sex.
“Laura needed to get out of the temporary accommodation to get her away from the people who took advantage of her vulnerabilities and to get other temptations out of sight including drugs.
“I empowered Laura to get herself onto the Gateway so she can bid for properties.
“I was able to get Laura to see the benefits in getting clean as she would then be able to have contact with her two children, who had previously been removed from her care.
“Together, we planned how Laura could get out of debt by focusing on getting some hobbies rather than spending money. This included going for walks, creating positive friendships and volunteering (unfortunately, the volunteering didn’t happen).
“Laura was spending around £70 per week on energy drinks. We discussed the impact on her body, how the caffeine in the drinks negatively impacted the medication she is taking for her mental health which was resulting in her not getting well, and therefore having a negative result when trying to regain contact with her two boys.
“It took around four months to get Laura into new rented accommodation. This was a bit up and down to start with as Laura needed time to get to grips with budgeting. Therefore, the first month’s rent was not paid and she missed payments on electric and water. She has now been in her flat for four months and the rent and electric is up to date. She is still in debt with water, but is seeking support for this.
“Laura is no longer drinking energy drinks and now has cola instead. I am trying to convert her to healthier options such as water and diet drinks, but we have to go at Laura’s pace for this.
“Laura is no longer using drugs or any substances. She has even given up smoking and is vaping instead.
“Laura has attended therapy and counselling sessions for her BPD and PTSD.
“Laura is no longer mixing in negative friendships where her vulnerability was taking advantage of. She now has a steady boyfriend and is pregnant with a girl. They are living together. He is a huge positive support for Laura and is helping her with her spending compulsion.
“Laura now has regular contact with both of her children. She has created a space in her flat for the boys where they can play with their toys. Laura alerted social services to her pregnancy and she is confident that they will be closing the child in need plan to her at the end of the week.
“Laura has been engaged with our Ninja Foodi Project over the past six months. She said that their Ninja Foodi had been a lifeline when their cooker broke. They now cook more with their Ninja than using the cooker, which has saved themselves quite a lot in electricity and gas. Laura and her boyfriend were reluctant to use the pressure cooker function on it, but now uses it for pasta, potatoes for mashing, and rice. They were pleased to have been shown how to use it.”
“I was in a bad place with no support or close friends, but when I got the help, I didn’t feel so alone which gave me the confidence to better my life. If I hadn’t had the support, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
“The Ninja is saving us so much money, especially when heating up food for the children as it doesn’t take as much time to cook food compared to our oven. I also like the minimal washing up!”
We are now back in families’ homes, doing what we love to do. Families are really enjoying the fact that we are back and are all in agreement with social distancing rules. We ensure that we call the family before we go to the property to ensure that they have no COVID-19 symptoms. These visits have all been risk assessed and are aligned to government measures. We are keeping up to date on current and changing government measures.
This year over 20 of our service users have told us that they have a mental health condition that they consider a disability. Whilst the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the impact on mental health is still evident, as is the stress on the services they need to access. While we can help to connect people to the appropriate services, we cannot replace mental health professionals. But we can do our best to make sure we support our service users in other ways:
- We have continued to encourage and promote physical activity and have monitored this over the past year.
- We have continued to organise smaller activities for individual families. This included picnics in Highwoods Country Park and visits to the Zoo in smaller groups.
- We’ve sent out activity bags during the October Half Term, Christmas and Easter Holidays. 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.
- Some of our families still like to have a walk and talk session as it can sometimes be the only time they leave the house during the week.
We have been working in partnership with Active Essex and Public Health Colchester & Tendring, through which we have been able to secure additional funds to tackle inactivity, improve and increase access to green spaces, public resources and help the people we support make healthier life choices. The additional funds from Active Essex this year have enabled to us to provide additional staffing to focus on activity-based intervention and walk-talk sessions, provide people with equipment to use for days out in local parks, as well as to cover transport and access fees where needed. Active Essex have also introduced us to further funding opportunities, as a result of which we have provided “Foodi Ninjas” to people with ingredients and recipes for healthy meals of their choice, renovated gardens, provided play equipment or wildlife feeders / food, so people can use their own green space more regularly, and sustainably.
This year (2021-22) we were successful in applying for and delivering one project focused on people using their gardens, and another providing “Foodi Ninjas” for people where gas cookers were not available (which often is the case in emergency accommodation, or before setting up temporary accommodation utilities), as well as for people with little to no experience of cooking their own meals, as the Foodi Ninja is an easy-to-use device with no cooking experience needed to cook healthy meals. We have encouraged our families to cook out of their comfort zone – perhaps something they’ve always wanted to cook but never known how to or been able to afford.
Our Gardening Project, funded by Essex County Council, helps us to clear and improve Service Users gardens, making them more usable and getting the service user involved actively outside. We are utilising the funds to cover costs relating to clearance, skip hire, equipment, plants, children’s gardening tools etc. We have provided a waist height trug, compost, and gardening equipment for a family where the Dad has a love of gardening but has physical disabilities. We have also been able to provide spades, forks, rakes and other tools, trampolines, swings and children’s play equipment.
“I cannot describe how happy I was/am when I saw the raised planter delivered!!!! It is like a dream taken to the next level!! I am really looking forward to putting it to use as soon as the weather and strength allows me to, although I might need your knowledge to advise me what to plant next as I am a humble beginner and have not much clue as what to plant now. Please transmit my thanks to your boss for making this dream come true. I am looking forward to being able to cook something for you with the fruits of your wonderful and thoughtful present!!!! Many many thanks from the bottom of my heart.”
– Service user
We have also supported families who appreciate their local wildlife and provided bird feeders – including window mounted feeders for those families without an outdoor garden space of their own (as well as window boxes and flowers). We have also been able to provide bird seed, fat balls and peanuts, as well as engage children in Conservation Projects such as the RSPB’s ‘Big Garden Bird Watch’.
“Catch22 has helped me clear my garden. I can talk to Catch22 when I need help. They are honest with me and even when I struggle with that, they are still patient and there for me.”
– Service user
Working in partnership
This year we have continued to work closely with all our partners, commissioners and referrers. The majority of our meetings have continued this year over Microsoft Teams and we have continued to have more regular phone call updates and have sent out more regular emails to ensure all referrers are aware of any updates on the cases. There have been times over the last year where the housing officers were not able to complete home visits due to the pandemic, however we have still been completing home visits (that were risk assessed) so we were then able to go back and report update the housing officers on the welfare of the tenants, the condition of the property and any other issues/ concerns that may have arisen.
Colchester Borough Homes
Longstanding and excellent partnership working allows us to easily and quickly share information, expertise, training and resources, both as professionals and with regard to tailoring 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.
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.
We also work very closely with several local charities and organisations such as social care, mental health teams, children’s services, vulnerable adults’ services, GPs, landlords, estate agents and furniture and clothing charities.
“You did a fantastic job with [service user], a vital role in making this a positive assessment. As there are no concerns at this time we would not get back in contact.”
– Senior Practitioner, Childrens Social Care
Value for money
Catch22 has extensive experience of working with families and individuals who are at risk of losing their home. We understand the barriers faced by families and the risks it brings with regards to their health, children and general wellbeing. We have developed a positive approach to engaging with hard to reach service users, as well as supporting service users to achieve a range of positive outcomes, despite how insurmountable their circumstances might seem.
The support we provide takes pressure away from Housing Associations and Local Authorities in being able to support the most vulnerable individuals and families, at the key point of their housing crisis.
Through our persistent and positive approach to supporting people, we are able to prevent evictions and therefore reduce the financial burdens relating to housing staff resources, as well as the significant costs associated with eviction. Through preventing homelessness this also reduces the much wider cost implications associated with homelessness across neighbouring areas and across the country.
“I really value the practical, hands on support that the team at Catch22 provide for our tenants with complex needs. Often we refer when people have multiple crisis occurring and Catch22 are able to effectively calm the situation and plan with our tenants ways to help them. The staff are assertive and persistent, to make a positive change, which is a quality to be admired and a refreshing approach.”
– Director of Operations, Colchester Borough Homes