CEO Blog Autumn 2023
What a year!
“I am still finding it difficult to comprehend we are already in December, this year has whizzed by! When I look back at everything we have achieved in 2023, I can see why time has passed so quickly. ”
“Working together with our system partners is even more crucial in these current times. Budgets are tight, access to affordable housing is tough and the demand for mental health services across all ages is rising – and this impacts all of us involved in providing care and support to those that need it. This year I have worked alongside a fantastic bunch of people from the voluntary sector, health and local authorities who are committed and dedicated to developing services to meet the needs arising, and are not afraid to ask the difficult questions.
The shared vision as outlined in the Integrated Care Strategy provides a set of priorities which aligns all organisations across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (otherwise known as BOB). Much of the partnership work underway now is focused on identifying and implementing what we need to do more of together to improve health and wellbeing in a manner that is fair and inclusive. Response is well represented in all these discussions (both Adults and Young People’s services), and plays an important role in shaping future services for the people we support. I will share more with you as this work progresses, but in the mean time please do check out the Integrated Care Strategy here. ”
Providing a good experience for our residents and young people
“I am really pleased to share a number of improvements made this year to the services provided to people accessing our support. This month we introduced a concierge service to our supported accommodation during out of hours, delivered by AGS Support, an external specialist team. This service provides security and assistance to residents, enabling a safe and supported service provision during the night. We have worked with more individuals to self-manage their medication, which is a huge step forward in supporting people to live independently, and our residents tell us they are happier and feel more in control. In addition to this, we have seen an uptake in community connections, encouraged by our fantastic Personalisation Worker.
The launch of our accommodation improvement programme has also begun. We know there are inconsistencies across the services, and I am passionate about changing this for our residents and for staff based there. We have already seen new kitchens and bathrooms for our staffed services at St Gabriels, Iris Hayter House and Morrell Crescent and we have replaced some of our older shared houses with modern individual flats.
Across our Children, Young People and Families (CYP&F) services, we have seen our services continue to grow and develop, with data demonstrating the significant impact our services are making to young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Across all of our CYP&F services this year we have supported 875 young people in Oxfordshire and West Berkshire. Of those young people supported, 85% have been successfully connected with a service in their local community. Our embedded social prescribing youth worker model is now engrained within even more NHS children’s mental health teams and has become an integral part of the system offering support in schools, CAMHs teams including the crisis Outreach team, the specialist neurodiversity team and the inpatient units in Oxford and Wokingham.
In Berkshire West we have specifically focused on young people in, or leaving, the care system and seen some brilliant work with unaccompanied asylum seekers and young parents within our Reframe service which supports 16-25 year olds with mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing challenges. Two of our projects, the Getting Help Social Prescribers and the Tier 4 Specialist Youth Workers have been through external service evaluations which has reinforced the significant impact our work has made on the lives of children, young people and their families, as well as generating capacity for CAMHS colleagues to focus on their clinical work.”
Fit for the future
“The current financial environment is difficult for all sectors, and part of our focus this year is making sure we are fit for the future and agile. This has involved streamlining ways of working between different departments and with NHS and council colleagues, and has also led to investment in our systems within Response to speed up and improve accuracy of processes. This year we have implemented a new Finance system, an online medication management system, modernised IT kit and WIFI connectivity for our sites, and in the New Year we will be implementing a new Housing system. This investment not only enables us to work more efficiently, it also provides a better and quicker service for those who we support.”
“Finally, I would like to welcome two new trustees to Response. Kezia Rushworth and Desmond Orisewezie have both recently joined our Board and are really keen to help us focus on the impact we have on supporting people to improve their lives. Kezia is our young trustee with lived experience who has a huge passion for young people’s mental health and supporting individuals to stay connected within their community. Desmond trained as a lawyer in his home country, Nigeria, and has substantial experience volunteering for human rights. You can find out more about our trustees here.
I am incredibly proud of Response and all the work we do, and am looking forward to seeing what 2024 brings!”