After my recent visit to Community Links (Twitter @commlinksnorth) in Batley, West Yorkshire I left feeling inspired by this small project, and the massive difference it is making to the wellbeing of people in the local community who’ve had contact with the Criminal Justice System.
Their 'Changes' project provides vital support to women with personality disorder, a complex condition. People with this diagnosis can “find their patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving are more difficult to change and they have a limited range of emotions, attitudes and behaviours with which to cope with everyday life.” The women referred for support all have had, or are at risk of having, contact with the Criminal Justice System. Clinks’ March 2015 report into health and care services for women offenders highlighted a gap in provision of support for women with personality disorder in many areas of the country which needed to be addressed.
The Changes project takes a look at clients’ lives from a psychological angle, but provides support which is often very practical. The outcomes are transformative - it's no surprise how much Project Manager Fran Coard’s passion and enthusiasm for the project came across during our discussions: “It’s an emotive client group to work with,” she said, “It’s important that support workers have a high motivation to work with people with personality disorder, and understand and empathise with their situation.”
The charity is supported by a mixed funding portfolio (a situation similar to many of the voluntary sector organisations surveyed for our State of the Sector 2015 report), with funding for Changes coming from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). As part of their reporting to the CCG, case studies are provided to illustrate the real issues faced by their client group; Changes find this is an effective way to provide feedback and demonstrate the impact they are having on the community.
Read the full case study on the Changes project to find out more about the fantastic work they do with clients, more on the project's relationship with the CCG, and to follow an individual's journey through the service to see the transformative impact Changes has on the lives of people with personality disorder.
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The RR3 special interest group on Covid-19 will today convene voluntary sector leaders to discuss what is needed to mitigate the impacts of the virus on CJS voluntary organisations and the service users they support. We'll publish the key points from the discussion in a blog.