The most prominent wish often entertained by residents in supported accommodations largely revolves around the big question of when will an independent life outside of services become fully realised? Apax, not willing to abandon the answer to this ‘big question’ for independent living, so desired by its residents, has embarked on a pragmatic Independent Living Scheme that ties prospective residents’ aspirations with necessary support arrangements that advances the interest, thereby enabling further access and flow in the pathway.
“Apax is good at ﬁnding properties and they will always get back to you if you leave a message. They are experts in the ﬁeld, and familiar with the paperwork I had to complete. If anybody wants to move out, I think they should try the ILS scheme.”
CG, Apax previous resident
Subject to identifying the potential client eligible for independent living, the team will take all meticulous measures appropriate to ensure that prospective client is not thrown into the ‘deep-end’. Therefore, by recognising that independent living can be an overwhelming experience, we work to ensure that the necessary corresponding life skills and abilities are fittingly harnessed, cultivated and developed – whilst still living in supported environment. As such, a large-scale systematic plan and procedures for attaining these particular objectives are put into effect through our established three tier stage of growth: Achieving My Tenancy (AMT), Gaining My Tenancy (GMT) and Floating Support.
The AMT offers weekly training for residents to obtain knowledge and valuable skills necessary for independent living, which, with the support of their key worker, residents can place newly learnt skills into effective performance – important to achieving confidence in their own capabilities. This stage covers areas like managing medication; managing a stronger social, emotional, physical and intellectual wellbeing; organising welfare benefits ; managing money and budgeting; banking; shopping; maintaining good hygiene and self-care; DIY; effective planning and time management; staying on top of bills and managing tenancy; leisure and recreation; among many others. At the point they feel they have achieved these prerequisite skills the next part of the ILS is the GMT (Gaining My Tenancy) course.
The GMT course aims at providing the prospective client with a defined and thorough understanding of the private-rent sector which will help form the basis for procuring an independent home. The course covers fundamental areas of common expectations including property law, housing benefit entitlements and security as a private tenant, how and where to search for properties, knowing what is right for your choice, how to exchange with landlords or agents, what to look out for and what to avoid in your search, your role and responsibilities as a tenant, types of tenancy agreements, rogue landlords, what to do when there is a problem, and everything else like, how to move affordably, who we need to call when we are moving and how to settle in your new home.
These two courses will generously afford you a robust and comprehensive overview of what to expect: stretching from meeting your needs and offering the desired fulfilment in achieving your tenancy. By the end of the AMT and GMT courses you will have every required tool to move forward and ensure a satisfying life independent of services. Upon completion of the courses, further queries can obtain support and guidance from the open availability of their respective support worker in collaboration with Aaron for help through each that will finally see you agree on your new home.
“I am happy that I got to move on with the ILS scheme. This is a life changing experience and it is diﬀerent for me, something new. I’m now able to live by myself and have independence. It is nice to have my own front door. I am happy that I moved with the ILS Scheme and would recommend it.”
JM, Apax previous resident
Apax’s Independent Living Scheme prudently sits on each resident’s personalised cues that ensures independence is sustainable through recognised progress in their support plans whilst acknowledging historical challenges that must keenly remain monitored, so that potential resident’s mental health may not be put to unnecessary risks when living independently. Having no fixed barriers, we have established relationships with private landlords who are accommodating towards vulnerable adults in a way that fosters deeper satisfaction that firmly guarantees the quality living standard of the individual. Remarkably, obtaining Artillery Place – concluded through the unique collaborative relationship with a particular landlord who share the vision, purpose and commitment to supporting our independent living initiative – have provided for 13 one-bedroom flats to be tenanted by our eligible clients.
“The Scheme has given me the opportunity to practice my passion to help people move forward in life as I believe a happy home is a key foundation for being well”
LF, Apax previous resident and now, collaborator
In continuum, we help to resolve issues around benefits and creating adequate ties (through thoughtful signposting) with agencies that helps mark the individual’s wellbeing outside of services. This organic mechanism caters for both basic and complex needs of each client in our service.
Coproduction and client involvement
This Scheme has clearly transpired, thrived and increased in momentum under the reputable experience of one particular resident at Apax. Her advanced expertise familiarity in the field – gained from her previous work in housing projects – meticulously serves as a triumphal secret to the success of the Scheme. She extraordinarily builds and stabilises good relations with private landlords through her unique ability in rapport building, good communications skills and sturdy confidence in her transactional and interpersonal skills acquired over the times. In fact, ILS would not be so promising without her committed involvement to this stage. Apax clearly prides in this coproduction and collaboration, progressive as a result of identifying her resourcefulness in the housing market and channelling it into effective use for the benefit of others who finds her more relatable. She is very approachable to all residents and greatly serves their interest with unquestionable professionalism.
Floating Support Service
Major life changes such as moving can be daunting but ultimately this is a great stage to be in, when an assuring support is available at your disposal. For this, the Scheme adapts the level of support sensitive to each individual’s defined needs understood at the time of their exit from services to independent living, and managed by the floating support team. Floating support will often be characterised by weekly home visits, open two-way telephone contact when the need for calling arises, catching up in the community or through our always open-arm approach to visitors in our offices – where an ex-resident can turn up for any support necessary or attend our social events and training workshops.
The floating support team serves as a comprehensive platform for assessment on the stability of the individual, where relapse signs can also be recorded, shared and accelerated for immediate attention so as to avoid predictable hospitalisations; whilst at the same time maintaining safety in a way that deescalates risks of foreseeably incident to the individual or the wider community when the individual is treated in the community.
“I was taken to the property, got to pick my ﬂat and I was helped with my ﬁnances, above and beyond what I would expect.”
MO, Apax previous resident
Nevertheless, the floating support team does not pivot on permanent attachment to the person living independently but, ideally stands on working with progressive outcomes that will slowly reduce support levels to the point where the individual feels confident enough to be solely independent from services. Certainly, true independence sequences a number of flourishing areas – which does not happen overnight – so our committed and robust approach will help clients reach their full potential through encouragement, empowerment, engagement and enablement and become well able to manage their holistic wellbeing.