Up to £10m for people in Birmingham with multiple and complex issues

27 March 2013

Issued on behalf of the BIG Lottery Fund
The BIG Lottery Fund (BIG) is announcing today that a Birmingham partnership is now on its way to receiving up to £10m to better support people with multiple problems such as homelessness, mental ill health, addiction and reoffending. 

BIG is awarding £50,000 to the partnership led by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) to help submit business plans on how they will improve and better coordinate services to tackle the needs of people living chaotic lives, in order to receive up to £10m. Nine other successful partnerships across England are also on the verge of receiving a share of the £100m investment. 

With problem drug users alone costing government and society around £46,000 a year, BIG’s £100m investment which aims to help thousands of people, could save the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds. 

BIG’s investment, backed by Jon Snow, Mitch Winehouse and Russell Brand, has brought together organisations and bodies that tackle these issues to improve the stability, confidence and capability of people with multiple and complex needs to lead better lives so they spend less time in prison, reduce their drug abuse, are in stable accommodation and have better mental health. 

BVSC research suggests there are around 1,300 individuals in Birmingham with complex needs, although given factors such as migration and the city’s diversity, the true figure may be substantially greater than this. 

The vision for the Birmingham partnership, which is comprised of 15 organisations, is for people with complex needs to be able to access a network of services where they feel welcome, safe, are treated as individuals, actively listened to and have confidence in staff. They will have greater ownership of the changes they need to make for journey of recovery. The partnership also aims to collaborate to offer better client access, improved referral and tracking and better diagnosis.  

Brian Carr, Chief Executive of BVSC, said: 'We are delighted with this news and look forward to progressing our ideas to the next stage. All members of the Complex Needs Partnership are united in a desire to ensure that services to people with multiple and complex needs are easily accessible, appropriately connected, and delivered at the highest possible standard.

'This potential Big Lottery Fund investment provides us with a fantastic opportunity to make that aspiration a reality and to make a genuinely positive difference to the people in Birmingham who need it most.' 

Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund England Head of Communications, said: 'There are countless statistics demonstrating a need to help people with multiple and complex needs – for example the NHS Confederation found that 70 per cent of prisoners suffer from a mental illness and a substance abuse problem 

'Imagine a world where service delivery gives individuals the power to turn their lives around – our ultimate goal is to use the learning gleaned from this investment to shift policy thinking so that individuals become assets rather than just a drain on society.’ 

Jon Snow, Channel 4 News Presenter and Chair of the New Horizon Youth Centre, said: 'I have worked for some four decades in a project that works with vulnerable and homeless young people and I have rarely ever come across funding targeted directly at supporting people of any age with multiple and complex needs. 

'That’s why I am so excited by the Big Lottery Fund’s radically new approach to put £100 million behind bringing the assorted services together behind this needy but difficult group of people. 

'I believe this initiative is going to make life changing differences to the lives of very many people previously regarded as on the margins of society. I’m particularly attracted to the way the Big Lottery Fund has engaged the client groups themselves in designing services. 

'In austere and difficult times, the Big Lottery Fund is laying the foundations toward making a profound difference. I’m honoured to support their endeavour.' 

Mitch Winehouse, who alongside family members established The Amy Winehouse Foundation, said: 'Since losing Amy I have been supporting charities that help people who are struggling with an addiction or health issue.

'I’ve been involved with Big Lottery Fund since the start of this investment and I’m very excited that successful partnerships are now on the verge of receiving up to £10 million to start helping people with serious and complex problems. This money will bring different organisations together to offer people more tailored support to deal with all the different needs that they may have.' 

Russell Brand said: 'The BIG Lottery Fund is investing 100m in people with complex needs - this means alcoholics, homeless folk, mentally ill people and drug addicts. They will be devising a strategy in collaboration with the beneficiaries - this is a unique and outstanding initiative that will significantly advance our society. The BIG Lottery Fund has a simple solution to complex needs - now I might buy a bl**dy ticket!'

Over the eight-year investment, BIG will track the success of the partnerships and gather evidence that will shed light on more effective and efficient ways of organising and delivering services including tracking the savings and benefits to the wider community as well as to the individuals who are supported. BIG will use this learning to improve practice amongst the projects it funds, to influence future policy and practice and encourage the continuation of successful interventions.  

CASE STUDY - Gary (Swanswell, Birmingham)
Gary, 43, from Birmingham, used substances from a very young age, which led to him being placed in a children’s home and later going to prison. Gary began a cycle of offending for petty crimes, being released from prison and then reoffending in order to fund his drug habit. Gary was told about services that could help him and was introduced to Swanswell drug support services in Birmingham.

He was in residential rehab for a few weeks, which played a big part in his recovery. Gary accessed services from Swanswell for a number of years and received ongoing support from one of the service’s drugs workers at his GP surgery, meaning he could also see his GP for other health-related issues during the same visit.

In addition, the organisation helped him find a flat and supported him to get bedding and essentials, and provided support at home when required. Gary is now completely abstinent from alcohol and drugs and has not reoffended. 

He said: 'My life was chaotic, I was always in trouble. It was a very painful time for me and my family. To be honest, I felt that I’d hit my rock bottom and I couldn’t carry on living the way I was living.'

Speaking about the support from Swanswell for his multiple needs, Gary said: 'They quickly helped to reduce my drug intake and they gave me a goal, something to work towards. They gave me a flat and a support worker helped me get back on my feet. The Swanswell staff gave me hope and my life is so much better now. I have nothing but praise for the work they do.'

To see Gary's video and other videos, go to our success stories page.

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