Brighter Futures

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Brighter Futures is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.brighter-futures.org.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | BRIGHTER FUTURES
Chief Executive Helena Evans
Whether through supporting people who are homeless,
offering alternative therapeutic programmes or
through their mental health helpline, Brighter Futures
provide a full range of services to support communities to
overcome any challenges they may face. Over the last couple of
years, they have adopted a Housing First service, aiming to build
on the model’s success in other countries around the world.
Chief Executive Helena Evans tells
The Parliamentary Review
about their expansion from a night shelter and their aim of
tackling the UK housing and homelessness crisis.
We have come a long way in our 45 years of existence from our first service, a
volunteer-run night shelter established in Stoke-on-Trent, before forming a small
housing association called Potteries Housing Association to reflect the main industry
at that time within our city of origin.
Our name was changed to Brighter Futures Housing Association Ltd in 2006 to
reflect the diversity of what we offer, and our ultimate aim to facilitate and enable
people to live more fulfilled lives. Between 2006 and 2016, we have more than
doubled our turnover, our housing stock portfolio and our staff and volunteer
team, serving more customers and tenants than ever before.
Providing more than bricks and mortar
We are a diverse company providing homes for people within Stoke-on-Trent and
areas of the West Midlands, but we provide far more than bricks and mortar; we
FACTS ABOUT
BRIGHTER FUTURES
»Chief Executive: Helena Evans
»Established in 1974
»Head office in Stoke-on-Trent
»Services: Support for people
who are homeless or at risk of
being homeless, people with
mental health issues, adults
with a learning disability and
vulnerable women
»No. of employees: 209 and 38
volunteers
»We support 201 people in
their tenancies in properties
that we own, and we manage
96 properties on behalf of
other organisations supporting
tenants living in those
properties.
»Over the last 12-month period
we have supported in the
region of 1,000 customers to
access a range of services
Brighter Futures
Giving a customer the
keys to their new home
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | BRIGHTER FUTURES
Chief Executive Helena Evans
Whether through supporting people who are homeless,
offering alternative therapeutic programmes or
through their mental health helpline, Brighter Futures
provide a full range of services to support communities to
overcome any challenges they may face. Over the last couple of
years, they have adopted a Housing First service, aiming to build
on the model’s success in other countries around the world.
Chief Executive Helena Evans tells
The Parliamentary Review
about their expansion from a night shelter and their aim of
tackling the UK housing and homelessness crisis.
We have come a long way in our 45 years of existence from our first service, a
volunteer-run night shelter established in Stoke-on-Trent, before forming a small
housing association called Potteries Housing Association to reflect the main industry
at that time within our city of origin.
Our name was changed to Brighter Futures Housing Association Ltd in 2006 to
reflect the diversity of what we offer, and our ultimate aim to facilitate and enable
people to live more fulfilled lives. Between 2006 and 2016, we have more than
doubled our turnover, our housing stock portfolio and our staff and volunteer
team, serving more customers and tenants than ever before.
Providing more than bricks and mortar
We are a diverse company providing homes for people within Stoke-on-Trent and
areas of the West Midlands, but we provide far more than bricks and mortar; we
FACTS ABOUT
BRIGHTER FUTURES
»Chief Executive: Helena Evans
»Established in 1974
»Head office in Stoke-on-Trent
»Services: Support for people
who are homeless or at risk of
being homeless, people with
mental health issues, adults
with a learning disability and
vulnerable women
»No. of employees: 209 and 38
volunteers
»We support 201 people in
their tenancies in properties
that we own, and we manage
96 properties on behalf of
other organisations supporting
tenants living in those
properties.
»Over the last 12-month period
we have supported in the
region of 1,000 customers to
access a range of services
Brighter Futures
Giving a customer the
keys to their new home
45BRIGHTER FUTURES |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
support local communities striving
to break down systemic barriers and
stigma that many vulnerable people
within our society face. We provide a
range of services for adults who are
experiencing homelessness or are at
risk of being homeless. Furthermore,
we provide a full spectrum of non-
clinical mental health services for adults
with mental health issues, including
alternative therapeutic options to acute
services, support to people affected
by self-harm and suicide prevention
support, and a mental health helpline
which operates 365 days per year.
Our clubhouse model, which has
been operating for approximately 20
years, provides an open-door informal
support approach and networking
opportunity to enable people to
improve their mental wellbeing, learn
new skills and meet new people.
Brighter Futures services are based upon
a psychologically informed approach
with an awareness of the long-term
impact that trauma can have on a
person’s life right from childhood. We
aim to build upon people’s strengths,
aspirations and goals and, above all,
provide hope. We have been successful
in being recognised nationally via
the Royal College of Psychiatrists
in providing a recognised enabling
environment for our customers.
Creativity and tenacity
We pride ourselves on our solid
foundations and origins, and we
welcome opportunities to share
our experience, knowledge and
innovation with other partner
agencies and commissioners. We are
always willing to try new ways of
working and be the forerunner and
campaigner advocating on behalf of
our customers to ensure that their
voices are heard.
To this end, we are the lead contractor
and host for one of the National
Lottery’s 12 national Fulfilling Lives
programmes, long-term projects
seeking to break down barriers and
improve the way systems work to
support people with multiple and
complex needs. The programme also
aims to find sustainable solutions to
improve lives, reduce inequalities and
stem the “revolving door” scenario
between services. Additionally,
we work in partnership with other
organisations and, through the project,
have supported people with experience
of such support to establish their
ownCIC.
Over many years, we have been
pioneering new approaches and
working in partnerships with
colleagues in the NHS, CCG, local
authorities, charitable partners, other
housing associations and third sector
and voluntary providers. Recently, we
have led on providing an intrinsic,
multiagency approach to supporting
people who find themselves
homeless, with the introduction of
our customised outreach vehicle
providing a warm, confidential space
to receive support in a dignified way
around a range of areas including
addiction issues, physical and mental
health issues and support to access
accommodation, financial support and
hot food and drink. The Jam Factory
music sessions at the
Observatory
Our services are
based upon a
psychologically
informed
approach with
an awareness
of the long-
term impact
that trauma
can have on a
person’s life
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
46 | BRIGHTER FUTURES
Our Housing First service
During the last couple of years, we
have developed a new Housing
First service in Stoke-on-Trent and
more recently in Coventry. This is an
international approach which has been
getting some fantastic results in other
countries, such as the US, Denmark,
Sweden and France, which are
demonstrating sustainable outcomes.
More recently, this approach has been
introduced to parts of the UK.
The service is centred upon providing
a home first as a human right, offering
personalised intensive support to an
individual which is not a condition of
their tenancy and is not time limited.
Key to this approach being successful
is strong partnership working with
other landlords and support agencies
and providing flexible responsive
support to individuals at their
ownpace.
To date, we have seen positive
results, and it has been a helpful
addition to the range of options that
we can offer to people who find
themselves homeless or are at risk of
becominghomeless.
These accomplishments have been
made possible, in part, by our values:
»Passionate
»Creative
»Equal
»Empowering
»Sustainable
These values are very important to
us, underpinning everything that we
have done and continue to do as an
organisation.
Challenges moving forward
Going forward, we continue to see
the current housing supply shortage,
especially of one and two- bedroom
properties, as having a major impact
on the people that we support and
the services that we provide. Where
we can, we are looking to continue
acquiring and, possibly in the future,
developing properties to increase the
supply of properties able to support
our customers to live within their local
communities. This will also enable
us to free up temporary emergency
accommodation for people in need of
this type of provision.
Moreover, we will also continue
to strive to have the voice of our
customers and tenants heard on
issues that are important to them.
This includes helping to break down
barriers that may exist around financial
inclusion and access to key services
such as health provision, education
and employment.
As a small specialist support focused
housing association, we pride ourselves
on the quality and creativity of our
services and accommodation which are
delivered by a team of experienced,
passionate, committed and dedicated
staff and volunteers. Brighter Futures
have celebrated our 45th year of
service and look forward to a further
45 years supporting local communities.
We will
continue to
strive to have
the voice of
our customers
and tenants
heard on
issues that are
important to
them
The Brighter Futures
head office

www.brighter-futures.org.uk

This article was sponsored by Brighter Futures. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.