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Mental Health Concern

Fulfilling Lives (complex needs)

About the project

Fulfilling Lives is an eight-year programme funded by The Big Lottery, seeking to help people with complex needs to better manage their lives by ensuring that services are more tailored and better connected to each other.

Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead helps those people who often spiral around the system(s), are excluded from the support they need and experience a combination of at least three of the following four problems:

  • homelessness
  • re-offending
  • problematic substance misuse
  • mental ill-health

Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead sees people for the potential they have, not for the problems they face. The programme offers opportunities for service users to have a voice, as well as training them as peer evaluators and to co-design the way the programme is delivered, through the Experts By Experience (EBE) group.

At the end of the eight-year programme, in 2022, the aspiration of the programme is for it to be self-sufficient: continuing to run as an independent structure headed by the Experts.

The longevity of the programme and level of funding allows real opportunity to make a serious impact upon the lives of people with complex needs living in and between Newcastle and Gateshead.

There are a further 11 Fulfilling Lives programmes across England.

For further information, please contact Lindsay Henderson, Fulfilling Lives Programme Manager, on lindsay.henderson@fulfillinglives-ng.org.uk.

Who the project is for

People who have ineffective contact with services and may have ill-defined needs are often referred to as ‘hard to reach’; they find that specific services may not fully understand the breadth of their issues, and therefore their holistic needs are not met. Individuals may be frustrated by a lack of services or the coordination of services provided, and are therefore deemed as difficult clients, often leading to further exclusion and disengagement from support and society.

A lack of understanding and support for people living chaotic lives can lead to a downward spiral of mental ill-health, substance misuse, crime, offending, homelessness, and exclusion.

We work with people such as:

  • male and female offenders
  • migrants
  • asylum seekers
  • BME populations
  • young care leavers
  • older people who are heavy drinkers and are at risk of isolation, cognitive impairment, or falls
  • women presenting with mental health issues who self-harm or have eating disorders.

People with such issues often rotate through various services and systems, which can further entrench their problems, at a cost to them and society. Our eight-year programme brings together support, ensuring that the client’s full needs are met, helping them to improve their lives for the better and in turn reducing the cost to society.

If you know someone you think might benefit from Fulfilling Lives, please complete the referral form.

System Brokers and Service Navigators

Fulfilling Lives offers a combination of Service Navigators to tackle individual need, and System Brokers to address any system blockages.

Service Navigators are based in our Host Agencies and they are our clients’ constant companion, supporting them through the various support services available to them, and helping them to gain confidence in doing so. A model of ‘refer and accompany’, as opposed to ‘refer and signpost’, is a key principle within Fulfilling Lives. When a client meets a blockage or problem to meeting their needs, these issues are then shared with the Fulfilling Lives System Brokers.

System Brokers work at a senior level to address system blockages. They gather information on behalf of the project to establish if the problem is due to a system issue or a front line problem. The System Brokers negotiate pathways across services, collating and presenting this learning on what is working and what is not.

Together, the Service Navigators, clients, and System Brokers offer us an insight of Newcastle and Gateshead’s service infrastructure and help us to understand where system change is potentially required. The evaluation team alongside the New Economic Foundation research unit will collate, evaluate and evidence the cases for change.

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