Posts Tagged ‘Salford’

Debt and welfare advice with ‘BetterOff Salford’

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Changes in national welfare policy will this month will see the gradual transition of some Salford benefit claimants over to the new Universal Credit (UC) system.

In an effort to demystify UC and the general work and benefits landscape in Salford, the council have developed a new website, ‘BetterOff Salford’. The site aims to help people in Salford make sense of their benefits; understanding what they are entitled to and answering questions around conditionality, budgeting and signposting to advice services.

If you are a Salford resident that is unsure about your benefit eligibility, or would like some help trying to get a job, we suggest first taking a look at the BetterOff Salford website, where a wealth of useful information is all in one place. On the site you will find guidance on:

  • Universal Credit
  • Calculating benefits entitlements
  • Applying for benefits
  • Appealing decisions
  • Recording job search activity
  • Finding work
  • Interviews and CV building
  • Debt advice and personal budgeting

This site has been designed to be used without the need for additional help, but there are some people who may need extra support and assistance. Please contact the council directly if you:

  • are being forced to leave your home
  • are awaiting trial for a criminal conviction
  • have complex learning difficulties
  • have any difficulties with reading and writing
  • are a young person in care or are about to leave care

Visit BetterOff Salford here: https://salford.betteroff.org.uk/#/home

 

 

Phoebe’s housing plea: Stop neglecting resident mental health

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Phoebe is a 24-year-old social housing tenant from Salford, who has lived in her current home since she was a toddler. Along with an estimated 7 million others across the UK, Phoebe is an informal carer to her mother, who experiences periods of poor mental health.

We met Phoebe at START, a creative arts and wellbeing centre in Salford, where we were kindly given the opportunity to speak to START members about their experience with housing as part of our Brick by Brick campaign . Phoebe spoke profoundly about the stigma her family had faced from housing staff due to her mother’s mental health, and explained how a lack of compassion from housing association staff had brought her family to brink of eviction.

We thank Phoebe for writing openly about her family’s experience; her story of neglect of tenant mental wellbeing is all too common. We hope that Phoebe’s words will encourage other tenants to speak out, and encourage Salford’s housing associations to listen and consider what changes they need to make in their organisations so that such scenarios aren’t repeated. Read Phoebe’s housing plea below:

 

brick by brick salford campaign“Please be more aware of residents who won’t let a housing officer in – maybe there’s a reason for it. For example, my Mum is a bad hoarder and we were constantly threatened with eviction, I was always terrified we’d be kicked out each day growing up. The housing officers would come in really rudely, take photos and leave again. It was only when she got CBT that they understood, yet still no help, not with mental health, not with the black mould in my house that we’ve lived with since I was three (I’m 24 now) – nothing. They won’t even help my sister who’s suicidal because she’s that desperate for help with housing – things need fixing and she needs adjustments. It feels like they just don’t care.”

Has your experience with housing in Salford affected your mental health? By sharing your story, you could help us better understand the real problems in Salford’s housing system, and encourage others to speak out about their experiences. Write your housing plea, or get in touch with us at, communications@mindinsalford.org.uk  .

 

Mind in Salford team up with local business to help struggling client overcome housing difficulties

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

When experiencing a period of poor mental health, sometimes managing a home can become overwhelming, especially when under severe financial pressure.

Mind in Salford’s welfare rights and debt advice team work regularly with individuals who are experiencing problems with money and mental health, helping them to manage debt, understand their welfare rights and explore avenues to help ease financial strain. Advice team member, Lisa, recently started working with a struggling client, Gemma, who was at risk of having her three young children removed by social services due to an excessive hoarding habit – a common symptom of many mental health problems such as OCD and depression.

Wanting to make a settled life for her and her children following a period in an abusive relationship, but with no money to begin clearing the house, Gemma found her situation worsening. An enduring period of depression and anxiety was further exacerbated when she received a sanction on her Universal Credit allowance, which came after her mental health condition forced her to cancel a meeting with a work coach at her local Jobcentre Plus.

 

“Mental health problems can make it extremely difficult to attend appointments and meet other welfare criteria, meaning that those suffering are often issued with sanctions. Claimants are then left with an even more restricted ability to engage with services, therefore reducing their income, aggravating money problems and increasing the risk of worsened mental health or homelessness.” Brick by Brick Report – Housing and Mental Health in Salford – Mind in Salford

 

Things started to look up when social services agreed to provide Gemma with a skip, so that she could start the process of clearing her home – a vitally important step towards regaining some stability and keeping her children. Unfortunately, the offer was withdrawn, and with no support from her landlords (a well-known local housing association) the prospect of resolving her problem seemed increasingly unlikely.

 

Typically, registered council providers such as housing associations have a duty to cooperate on matters of tenant safeguarding (such as support for with mental health problems) yet the association did not provide a skip as allegedly they deemed Gemma’s situation to be self-inflicted. 

 

Salford has the highest proportion of social renters in the country, with 35.29% of households renting from one of the city’s registered social housing providers. Source: ONS (2016)

Lisa reached out to Worsley-based company, Kenny Waste Management, who after hearing Gemma’s story kindly agreed to provide a skip free of charge. Subsequently, her friends and neighbours helped her clear her home, thereby kick-starting the process of overcoming her hoarding, providing a safe home for her children and regaining control of her life. What’s more, United Utilities Trust Fund cleared the water bill of over £3,000 that Gemma had accrued when she was without her Universal Credit entitlement, and replaced her cooker through their white goods grant.

 

 

 

We would like to say a big thank you to Kenny Waste Management Ltd, for making this incredible gesture of good will by donating their time and resources to help our client, and also to United Utilities Trust Fund for allowing Gemma the debt relief she so desperately needed.

 

“It’s great that organisations and local businesses can come together to assist local people in need.” – Lisa White, Advice Team, Mind in Salford.

 

We are pleased that with the help of our advice service, Gemma has restored some stability to her life and can begin planning for her and her children’s future. However, stories like Gemma’s are all too common, and highlight the need for improved mental health support for social housing tenants. We are therefore calling on housing associations in the Salford area to demonstrate their commitment to supporting tenant mental wellbeing, and ensure that staff know how and where to signpost and individual should they be struggling.

If you would like to find out more about some the housing an welfare issues raised in Gemma’s story, view our Brick by Brick Campaign page, where you can read our analysis and find out how to get involved.

Four in five people with mental health problems say their housing has made their mental health worse

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Figures from Mind show that nearly four in five (79 per cent)* of people with mental health problems said a housing situation has made their mental health worse or caused a mental health problem.

More than two in three (69 per cent) of the people Mind surveyed said they had issues with the quality of their housing such as damp, mould, overcrowding and unstable tenancies. One in four tenants with mental health problems are behind on paying rent and at risk of losing their home.*

The findings come as Mind launches a major new housing campaign. The charity is calling on the Government and local authorities to provide good quality homes and a housing system that’s easy to understand and doesn’t discriminate against people with mental health problems.

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at mental health charity Mind, said:

“It is unacceptable that so many people with mental health problems are living in housing situations that are making their mental health worse.

“Housing is more than just a roof over your head. It’s about finding somewhere safe and stable to call home. We all have the right to live somewhere that helps us focus on our families and our health or other parts of our lives. For people with mental health problems, a good home can be even more important when it comes to staying well.

“Too often people with mental health problems are living in cold, damp, poor quality homes or dealing with difficult landlords. Many of them will come into contact with authorities that hold outdated, stigmatising beliefs about people with mental health problems. At the best of times bad housing situations can be difficult, but for those of us with a mental health problem, it can be even harder to handle. It can make our mental health worse.

“This needs to change. While housing is high up the agenda at the moment, people forget that those with mental health problems are particularly at risk of being in poor housing situations. We want to see mental health embedded in all housing policy developed by the Government.”

Chris, 50, from London, has complex PTSD after being in an accident five years ago. While in hospital, he got behind on his rent payments and people were sending him bills and threatening debt collection letters. When Chris came out of hospital, the Housing Association put him in contact with their Benefits and Welfare Officer who helped Chris complete forms, access housing benefits and get support with his mental health.

He says:

“My housing is a source of stability in my life. Without a home, what other source of stability have you got in your life? I can’t imagine how that must be and I count myself lucky.

“My flat is more than just a flat. When you say ‘where you live’ it’s not just four walls and a telly, you’ve got neighbours, and you’ve got shops, a community. Everyone knew me and knew what happened and it all helped manage my mental health and come to terms with what happened.

“I have now been diagnosed with complex PTSD. I know I would be in a lot worse place if I hadn’t had my house.”

Another Mind campaigner says:

“My experience of living in a very damp flat made me very stressed. I had depression and I lost most of my belongings to green and white mould. The bed covers were wet so I had to buy an electric blanket to dry the bed before we got in. It was a miracle that the electric blanket and the damp did not cause the flat to catch fire.

“I had to bathe my baby in the living room until I could afford a radiator in the bathroom. My daughter was so, so cold in the bathroom so there was no way I was risking her health.

“We then moved to a new house and life started getting better. Being in surroundings that are manageable makes me better able to deal with my depression.”

 

[1] Figures from online survey by Mind. Total number of respondents who said they had mental health problems was 1,780. Of those 1,410 said that their housing situation had made their mental health worse and 1,221 said that they experienced at least one issue with the quality of their housing 
[1] Social Exclusion Unit (2004) Mental Health and Social Exclusion. London: Social Exclusion Unit

IMHA initiative rated ‘Outstanding Practice’ by CQC

Friday, April 27th, 2018

An initiative led by Mind in Salford’s Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) team has been recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who praised a Mental Health Trust’s engagement with the service as an example of ‘Outstanding Practice’.

Support for the initiative was espoused in last month’s inspection report of Prestwich Site which is one of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust’s inpatient mental health units.

The report summarised that overall, “staff cared for patients with compassion; feedback from patients confirmed that staff treated them well and with kindness; and staff involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment”, resulting in most services being rated as ‘Good’.

Services in the Substance Misuse and Child and Adolescent wards however, received ‘Outstanding Practice’ commendations, for their innovative approach to service planning and provision.

Mind in Salford’s IMHA Service contributed substantially to the commendation.  Charlotte Gaskell, Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) for the Young People at the Junction 17 Unit, established an advocacy working group with another advocacy provider to address collective themes common to clients of both services. The initiative enables greater collaboration between Prestwich Site advocacy providers by working directly with senior leadership teams, and meeting quarterly to assess the impact of individual policies on younger patients.

Not only has this personalised approach been highly regarded by the CQC for its attentiveness to young patients, but also for its success in stimulating communication with Advocacy agencies, particularly as poor communication has been highlighted as a shortcoming of some NHS services in recent years.

In response to the rating, Mind in Salford said, “We are extremely proud of the work of our advocates, who work tirelessly to represent the views and secure the rights of their clients. We are committed to providing advocacy services for patients across Prestwich and Salford, and are extremely pleased that GM Mental Health Trust and the CQC recognise the importance that the role plays in supporting and empowering service users.”

Read the full inspection report here.

Job Vacancy: Trustee, Mind in Salford

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Role: Trustee (voluntary, unpaid)

Location: Salford, Greater Manchester

Mind in Salford is on an amazing journey, can you help us with the next stage?

Mind in Salford is an independent, user focused charity providing quality services to make a positive difference to the wellbeing and mental health of the people of Salford.  We’ve been doing this since 1972, but over the last few years we’ve grown significantly and broadened the scope of our services.  We’re now looking to add two new trustees onto our board as we look to further increase our impact for the people of Salford.

As a trustee, you will be part of the team that leads the charity and decides how it is run.  You will attend our regular board meetings (currently monthly, on a Wednesday evening) and will undertake other work between meetings to support the staff team and keep the work of the board moving forward.

You will be excited by the opportunity to make a positive difference to the Charity and the people we serve.  Whatever your background, experience and skills, if you think you have something to offer we want to hear from you.

 

How to find out more about Mind in Salford

 

Mind in Salford Twitter

 

Charity Commission – information about Mind in Salford

 

How to find out more about being a charity trustee

 

Charity Commission – Charity trustee: what’s involved

 

Information from Reach

 

How to apply

 

Please send a current CV and a short covering letter (no more than 2 pages) explaining why you want to be a trustee for Mind in Salford and how you expect to be able to contribute.  Please submit your application to markus@mindinsalford.org.uk as soon as possible.

 

Become a certified mindfulness teacher on the Mindfulness in Mind Practitioner Training Programme (PTP)

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Want to become a Mindfulness Teacher?  Our new Mind Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) prospectus is now available for the Mindfulness in Mind Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) starting in September 2018 – You can view and download the prospectus here.

The Mindfulness in Mind Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) is a 12 month part-time fully supervised training pathway.  Mindfulness in Mind is an affiliated training organisation of the UK Network for Mindfulness Based Teachers, upholding the Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs).

“The excellent teaching and supportive attitudes of others are really reassuring. Such a range of personal backgrounds and life experiences on the course demonstrates how mindfulness can be beneficial for everyone.” – PTP Student

You can train on the PTP via our Northern Hub (Greater Manchester) or our Southern Hub (London)

The fees for the PTP can be paid by monthly instalments to spread the cost and the income from the PTP supports Mind to continue to deliver free 8 week mindfulness courses to people with mental health conditions on low or no income in the local community.

For a PTP application pack or further details contact: suzanne@mindinsalford.org.uk or call 0161 212 6441/4880   https://www.mindinsalford.org.uk/mindfulness/

 

Debt, loan sharks and the impact on mental health

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

In the 21st century, the costs of modern living are abundant and ever-growing. Juggling life’s outgoings can be a tricky task for anyone, and financial struggles are a common occurrence not only in Salford, but nationwide.

One particular problem in the UK is the growing threat of loan sharks i.e. people that offer illegitimate, illegal loans. Typically, loan sharks will agree to lend money without any official paperwork or terms, leaving borrowers susceptible to dramatic increases in interest rates, which they are unable to repay. Loan sharks often use the threat of violence and blackmail to coerce victims in to keeping quiet and agreeing to their terms of repayment. Often but unjustly, loan shark criminals go unreported.

It is widely understood that debt and mental health are symbiotic. Research has revealed that 1 in 2 British adults with debt problems has mental health issues, and 1 in 4 British people with mental health conditions also have a debt problem (HCE Group, 2017). For those entrapped in agreements with loan sharks, the repercussions for their mental health can be severe. The stress, anxiety and fear instilled by growing costs and persistent threats enough to bring on a period of mental ill-health, or intensify someone’s existing conditions.

 

Stress, anxiety and mental health repercussions caused by loan sharks and debt

 

To clamp down on the prevalence of loan sharks, a new campaign designed to encourage victims to come forward and report loan sharks was launched this month. The ‘Why I Borrowed’ campaign, started by The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), aims to expose loan sharking as a crime, tell real life stories of those who have been affected, and help people to free themselves from the illegal entrapment of loan sharks.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,500 people.

 

 

 

As the ‘Why I Borrowed’ campaign has highlighted, involvement with loan sharks can have a particularly hostile impact on mental wellbeing; a recent study by IMLT revealed that over 60% of borrowers said they were in a state of worry, stress, depression or severe anxiety because of their involvement with a loan shark. This said, poor mental health as a result of financial strain can manifest itself in many ways.

Here at Mind in Salford, we offer advice to those struggling with debt, as we recognise that tackling such problems alone can be overwhelming and potentially detrimental to mental health. We offer one-to-one, confidential support; helping clients gain perspective by looking in to their rights, and developing a plan for the future. Recently, our team have assisted a client with extensive debts to recoup thousands through recovering mis-sold PPI, and challenging a ruling on the client’s benefits allowance. As a result, our team secured thousands for the individual – a truly transformative amount – enabling the client repay their debts and regain control of their life once again.

If you’ve got money troubles, it’s important not to feel embarrassed about seeking help, because it really could happen to anyone. Our debt and welfare advice services revitalise many people’s ability to plan for the future – a freedom that should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their background, income or mental health.

GETTING HELP

  • If you live in Salford and have a mental health condition that as been either intensified or brought on by debt, click here to visit our advice page, where you can find out more about the debt, welfare and benefits advice we offer. Here you will also find a downloadable referral form.
  • If you or someone you know are being affected by loan sharks, visit stoploansharks.co.uk or call the hotline on 0300 555 2222 to report a shark.

Time to talk day 2018 – 1st February

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Help make a difference to mental wellbeing in your workplace

Since Time to Talk Day first launched in 2014, it has sparked millions of conversations in schools, homes, workplaces, in the media and online. The campaign, run by our partners, Time to Change, has already dispelled much societal stigma surrounding mental health, and is aiming for 2018 to be its biggest year yet.

At Mind in Salford, we share this ambition. In order to help individuals manage and overcome mental health challenges, it is imperative that the subject becomes widely acknowledged and free of prejudice. In recent years, the prominence of mental health issues has rocketed in public awareness – something that we should all be proud of. Nonetheless, thousands of people across the UK still do not feel comfortable talking about the topic, particularly in the workplace, where employees often fear for the repercussions of disclosing their mental health problems.

Last year, responsible business charity, Business in the Community (BITC), commissioned YouGov to conduct a study of more than 3,000 workers, collecting their experiences of mental health in the workplace. The findings stated that although 84% of employers acknowledged their responsibility towards employee’s mental health, around three quarters of affected workers chose not involve work in the issue. This ratifies the notion that mental health stigma is still prevalent in many workplaces to date.

Despite this, 76% of managers said they had not received any mental health training, and 35% reported not having any workplace services to support employee mental health and wellbeing. For us, this is a fundamental problem; counselling and advice infrastructure should be a part of every workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the build up to Time to Talk Day, we want to hear from employers in Salford about what they are doing to support mental wellbeing. What systems are in place? What has the impact been? Why not even go the extra mile and run a campaign in your workplace? The Time to Talk website has loads of great advice and resources that can help you do so.

It’s #TimetoTalk, let’s make mental health a priority for workers in Salford.

A massive thank you! Local fundraiser, Ethan Evans, raises £1,411 for Mind in Salford

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

fundraising, mind, mental health, charity, get involved

We would like to say an overdue thank you to fundraiser, Ethan Evans, who has been tirelessly helping to raise money for Mind in Salford over the last year, amounting to an incredible total of £1,411!

Ethan’s endeavours have seen him raise funds for charities all over Salford and Greater Manchester such as, St Anne’s Hospice, Narrowgate Homeless Shelter and Emmaus Salford, collecting thousands of pounds and making a real difference to the lives of people in his community.

In recognition of his achievements, Ethan has received a British Citizen’s Award (BCA) in the category of ‘Young Achievers’ – a well-deserved accolade and display of appreciation for all the hard work that he has put in over the years.

We feel privileged that Ethan selected us as one of his charities, and can assure him that the money raised is contributing to providing vital mental health services in Salford. We wish you the best of luck for your future, Ethan, thanks so much!