Families Though Crisis

The project commenced on the 1 September 2016 and the aim is to provide specialist advice, support and advocacy service to families who are in positions of crisis, using specialist caseworkers working alongside a team of volunteer peer mentors.

Families Through Crisis is a Partnership project involving:.

  • Newcastle Law Centre
  • Changing Lives
  • Advocacy Centre North
  • Newcastle City Council (strategic Partner)
  • Eligible Clients

    This service is designed specifically for clients within families:

    • living in Newcastle upon Tyne
    • are at a point of crisis and might not ordinarily engage with services that can support them (trigger points- Benefit sanctions, sudden job loss, eviction or threat of eviction, family crisis)
    • have low level mental health difficulties (diagnosed or undiagnosed)
    • are in a position where some intervention and support can move them towards resolution and a more stable position.
    • have an identifiable legal need that means that specialist legal advice can play a part

    Clients ineligible for the service

    The project will not support clients with the following characteristics:

    Clients with child protection issues and those with statutory support..

    Single clients with no dependants

    Clients with complex needs. We define complex needs to mean clients who for example are likely to require ongoing support with more than 2 issues around homelessness, drug addiction and mental health issues, or clients with high level mental health, long term drug addiction or homelessness issues. .

    Clients can also attend drop in sessions at:

    • Riverside Community Health – Mondays 11am – 2pm
    • West End Women and Girls Centre – Wednesdays 9am- 11pm
    • St Martins Centre – Thursdays 10am – 4pm
    • In addition, we will also accept direct referrals into the project via the Newcastle Law Centre main telephone line – 0191 2304777.

      Client Journey:

      Firstly, a specialist welfare benefits caseworker will assess clients’ eligibility and willingness to engage with the project. The caseworker will then deal with urgent hardship-causing legal advice requirements of the client.

      The Specialist caseworker will then identify an appropriate support worker (SW) based on needs around:

      • Advocacy: being able to make informed decisions about their lives and speak up for themselves.
      • Targeted support: Practical concerns: homelessness, food or furniture, addictions, mental health, offending.
      • The Specialist Worker and client will develop a support/action plan, having jointly identified the family’s strengths and relatives/friends’ resources to support the client.

      Project Staff

      Newcastle Law Centre (Lead organisation) hosts project manager – Michael Fawole (1 day) who takes the lead on the project, taking responsibility as:

      • Leading partnership
      • Maintaining links with formal and informal partners
      • Stats, evaluation, capacity building budget etc.

      And a Specialist WB Caseworker Lucy Harrison:

      • Provides specialist legal advice to clients in project (2.5 days)
      • and a further 0.5 days per week to be involved in training and supporting peer mentors

      Advocacy Centre North hosts an Independent Advocate – Claire Crawford

      • who can lead on advocacy, peer advocacy etc. supporting a number of clients who need that kind of support (2.5 days)
      • and a further 0.5 days per week to be involved in training and supporting peer mentors

      Changing Lives hosts a Support Worker – Helena Elliot

      • an outreach specialist who is experienced in delivering services to vulnerable families, working particularly with families around early addictions (parents or children)
      • and a further 0.5 days per week to be involved in training and supporting peer mentors

      Benefits of the proposal: This model will ensure that
      • Clients have access into specialist advice and advocacy;
      • Clients receive support from peers with lived experience;
      • Clients receive holistic, tailored support designed to build their confidence and self advocacy skills;
      • Peer Mentors get (accredited) training and valuable experience, and;
      • Clients benefit from the expertise of several key partners.

        For more information on the project please contact Lucy Harrison