Step Together supports Kayleigh to live more independently

Step Together client Kayleigh recently spoke to the BBC in a poignant interview alongside her recovery coach Rooth Langston-Hart and Izzy her dog. 

Listen to Kayleigh’s story on BBC Sounds.

Kayleigh has been working with Rooth for many months as a client of Step Together, the innovative service for people with complex needs in Somerset.  

When Kayleigh heard that the service, commissioned by Somerset Council in 2019, may have to end because of swingeing budget cuts, she was determined to let others know the amazing work it does across the county.  

Thankfully the Council recently decided to fund Step Together for another year until April 2025. 

Kayleigh said: 

“There are loads of other people out there who have had stuff happen in their lives and need help. This service helps – by being there. It should continue, lots of people need it. I’m talking to you because I want to do something for other people and I hope this will benefit them.” 

Rooth said: 

“One of the unique factors is that we have not been time bound in our work with Kayleigh and all our other clients. It’s not a six week or three month offer. People who have experienced trauma need time and space to build trust before any work can begin. Having a trauma-informed service, that is supported by psychologists and allows space for the client worker relationship to form and develop is such a healthy approach and one that is yielding results.” 

Somerset Council’s decision to extend the Step Together means it is keeping faith with a service they commissioned as the first of its kind in the county back five years ago. It was set up as a trauma-informed service before having trauma-informed services was commonplace. The service builds trust with clients supporting them to engage with services and live more independently.

The service is life-changing, according to Step Together’s Senior Operations Manager Mark Brown. He said: 

“Our skilled team offers unique support to some of the county’s most vulnerable people. We work to support them to change their lives. Importantly, we also help the system change the way it works too. What we need now is a continuing commitment to people with complex needs like Kayleigh.” 

Recent research from national programmes such as Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) shows that Step Together’s approach results in significant reductions across the system including in A&E attendances, hospital admissions and arrests.  

What’s more, the number of people having a homelessness assessment who had been repeatedly homeless in Somerset FELL by 75 people between 2019 and 2022. Step Together is an important reason why this reduction has taken place. (Source: Centre for Homelessness Impact) 

Step Together is a team of 14 recovery coaches supported by two psychologists. Kayleigh is one of more than 569 people who have been supported by Step Together in the since it launched in April 2019. 

The service, which is run by mental health organisation Second Step, works with more than 50 other organisations in Somerset to support people with complex needs out of homelessness to build their resilience and independence. 

Find out more about Step Together.

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