Complex Needs

Helen

Helen was referred to Elmore following her release from prison. She had 54 previous convictions which covered 88 offences including, Criminal Damage, Public Order Act Offences, Criminal Damage, Theft, Assault on a Constable, Battery and Breach of Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

Helen had a history of extensive mental health issues, starting at the age of 19. Diagnosed with Personality Disorder, this was exacerbated by alcohol use, and over time both statutory and voluntary services found her behaviour more difficult to work with.

Elmore was able to visit Helen prior to release and work closely with the prison on her release plan. On the day she was released Helen did not want to follow the original plan of staying in a local hostel, and so plan B was needed! Elmore co-ordinated a plan between Oxford City Council, Helen’s family and a local B&B owner to secure emergency accommodation for her.

Helen continued to have problems around her disruptive behaviour when under the influence of alcohol. Her long-term plan was to be referred to mental health supported accommodation, but she was turned down on two occasions after assessment due to their concerns around her behaviour.

Elmore supported Helen to access support from local services to address her alcohol use and organised a number of professionals’ meetings between housing providers, the Community Mental Health Team and her alcohol recovery worker. This integrated approach helped Helen to recognise and manage the risk of relapse.

Elmore supported Helen with practical issues including setting up her benefits, attending DWP medicals and medical appointments. Because of her previously chaotic nature it was necessary for two workers to attend meetings with Helen. This intervention wasquite a drain on Elmore; however, this intensive support coupled with other interagency support has enabled Helen to maintain stability for almost four years now.

Recently housing providers were convinced by the progress that Helen had made, and she was offered a place in mental health supported accommodation. Helen was supported through the move by Elmore and continues to be delighted by her new flat.

Daisy

At the point of referral to us Daisy was sofa surfing and street sex working, was a chaotic drug user, was on bail for robbery, and was under an acceptable behavioural contract for her sex working.

She had been assaulted on several occasions including being gang raped. Her son had been removed from her care due to neglect. She was not interested in engaging with services, and wary of Elmore. Our initial work was to build a relationship with her. This involved consistent assertive creative engagement on our part, such as engaging with her whilst she was out on the streets working.

When Daisy received a custodial sentence we continued to work with her during her time in prison. It was during this time she began to see the relationship between her drug use and sex working and the detrimental affect they were having on her life; she began to make contact with her son.

Back in Oxford and in hostel accommodation, Daisy lapsed once more into using drugs and sex working, stating the hostel environment was incompatible with abstinence. Elmore supported her to find privately rented accommodation. We supported her to engage with a women’s centre and began to talk to her about exiting sex working.

When Daisy found out that she was pregnant she was both delighted and petrified that the baby would go straight into care. We increased the level of support available to Daisy and worked intensively with her during this time. She was supported with her prenatal appointments and the process of a pre-birth assessment by Children’s Social Care. Daisy was realistic that if she was to stand any chance of keeping her baby she would need to be free of drugs. She reduced her drug use in line with medical advice, and ceased sex working.

Daisy was successful in obtaining a place in a rehab unit in Plymouth shortly before the baby was due; when she completed rehab she moved into accommodation in Gloucester. Her baby was placed in foster care for a short period after birth but has since been returned to her care. Daisy remains abstinent and has not returned to sex working. She continues to receive counselling for trauma and attends parenting groups in her local area. As part of our exit interview with Daisy she told us why she stayed engaged with us: “You never gave up on me even when I was a nightmare or messed up, you did not rush me or judge me, and I trusted you in the end”.

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The Elmore Difference

Elmore Community Services (ECS) is a registered charity governed by a Board of Directors. It provides high quality services for marginalised and disenfranchised people throughout Oxfordshire. Elmore was established in 1989 after an Oxford research project identified the weaknesses of service provision for people deemed ‘difficult to place’.

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We think that our services are better when they are shaped by the people who use them! Elmore values the expertise and experience that you have and is committed to making sure that clients are involved in guiding the way we work.

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