Leading figures spoke at an event to launch the Changing Futures programme in Stoke-on-Trent.
The scheme, which aims to ensure all adults in Stoke-on-Trent are protected and have ongoing support was launched at Staffordshire University’s new multi-million-pound building The Catalyst, with more than 100 delegates from organisations including public, private, voluntary and community sector partners attending.
The Changing Futures programme has been developed to improve support for vulnerable adults in Stoke-on-Trent. The £64 million joint initiative by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and The National Lottery Community Fund, will see local organisations work in partnership to better support those who experience multiple disadvantage. This will provide essential support and treatment for adults facing a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, poor mental health, domestic abuse, or contact with the criminal justice system.
Many adults experience difficulties in getting the coordinated support from local services that they need, which can lead to worsening problems such as greater risk of rough sleeping and ill-health or increased reoffending. Stoke-on-Trent City Council are now taking a new approach to tailor support to individuals and their needs through the Changing Futures programme, led through Expert Citizens.
Darren Murinas, Chief Executive of Expert Citizens said: “We are a community interest company built by and for people with lived experience. We exist because we care about people and the world we live in. Changing Futures is an exciting new partnership in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. We are co-designing and co-delivering this program with other partners to insure the voice and insight of people with experienced understanding are at the centre, to create better futures for the people of Stoke-on-Trent. We understand that everyone has an individual experience and treat all with respect and dignity. Everyone is welcomed with kindness, humility, and love.”
Council leader Abi Brown who spoke at the event said: “In 2021 we were delighted to have been awarded £3.9m to develop the Changing Futures programme and it is fantastic to see this work now starting to come to fruition. Changing Futures will provide tailored support to people experiencing difficulties. This is something as a council we are passionate about and now working with partners at the same time we are embedding effective approaches to support our residents.
“This initiative will transform how our services operate by linking up support across areas such as health, employment, and drug misuse. This will make sure support services suit the needs of each individual, and benefit from the Changing Future staff who have first-hand experience of issues such as homelessness or drug misuse.”
Councillor Ally Simcock, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Care said: “Supporting adults experiencing multiple disadvantage in Stoke-on-Trent can sometimes be a complex issue, but through Changing Futures we are now taking a person-centred and trauma-informed approach to tailor support to individuals and their needs. I am excited to see the programme develop and the difference we can make to our residents’ lives.”