The new support service, which began on 1 April 2019, is for adults who are homeless, or likely to become homeless and who also have a mix of mental health and drug and alcohol problems, debt or have been involved in the criminal justice system.
We’ve been listening closely to what current clients feel and need through a number of drop-in sessions. Some common themes have emerged around acknowledging that everyone is different, and the importance of trust, consistency, and a smooth transition. We’re using this feedback to inform how the new service will work.
We were also very keen that that the service has a name that represents our clients and the support we provide. Following feedback from existing clients, we've decided to call the new service Step Together.
A more detailed description and our approach can be found here.
The referral criteria can be found here.
Want to know more? Our frequently asked questions may help
What is Step Together?
Step Together is the name for a new support and housing service for adults in Somerset who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and also have a mix of mental health needs, drug and alcohol problems, behavioural issues, debt or have been involved in the criminal justice system.
Our clients have complex needs and often find it extremely hard to sustain positive change in their lives. We believe we have a responsibility to make sure our service, and the system as a whole, does all it can to reverse this experience.
Our service is primarily about helping people to live fulfilling lives in their own communities, retain their tenancy and reduce repeated homelessness.
We support people to build their strength and reach their own goals, such as:
- maintaining a home;
- improving health and wellbeing;
- accessing treatment;
- reducing re-offending; and,
- becoming part of their communities though activities, training, volunteering or employment
Who funds the new service?
The new service run by Second Step and ARA is funded by Somerset County Council. Services were provided previously by Rethink and DHI.
Who are Second Step and ARA?
Second Step is a leading mental health charity that’s been putting mental health first for individuals and communities in the south west for over 30 years. Our work is underpinned by the belief that with the right support everyone can take control of their life and make their future their own. Second Step works with over 4,500 clients in a range of supported housing, homelessness, mental health and NHS services.
ARA has been operating in the south west and Wales for 30 years and passionately believes people change and recover. Last year, ARA worked with nearly 5000 people in our housing service, mental health service, problem gambling service and outreach addiction services.
What will change and when?
Initially, our priority is supporting clients to transfer across from the previous providers. We are focused on service stability and a smooth transition.
We are currently carrying out client assessments so that we understand people’s needs and recovery goals. We are also working with landlords and managing agents of current housing properties to ensure existing tenancy arrangements remain in place for the immediate future.
By the beginning of May, we expect to start accepting new referrals. This will increase over the summer as we work with partners to understand the level of need fully and build the new service. We will keep referral agencies up to date with timescales and referral pathways.
Do you provide accommodation?
We work with landlords and letting agents to find suitable permanent homes for our clients and offer support to help manage and maintain their tenancies.
We do not provide accommodation ourselves, but help people with complex needs to live independently in their own homes without having to move on when they no longer need as much support.
Will my tenancy change?
We are working with the landlords of all existing clients to maintain tenancy arrangements. A small number of people moved as their tenancies had come to an end, and we have supported them to find new homes.
Will my support worker change?
We have done our best to make sure support workers (or as we call them, recovery coaches) have stayed the same wherever possible through the transition. There have been some circumstances where this has not been possible, and we have made sure our clients are aware. If a recovery coach needs to change in the future as the service develops, we’ll involve clients in any plans.
What are recovery coaches?
Our support workers are called recovery coaches. This is because they are focused on supporting our clients to reach their goals.
Do you have any job vacancies?
If you’re interested in working with us or know someone who might be, we are currently recruiting and further information is available here. Our main office is in Taunton at The Great Weston Hotel, Station Approach. We will also have new bases in Street, Yeovil, and Minehead.
Can local organisations or community groups get involved?
We’d really like to hear from you. If have ideas about how we could work together, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I contact you?
For general queries, telephone 0333 023 5405 or email email@example.com
Existing clients have contact details for their recovery coach who will support them in their recovery journey.
How can I get urgent help?
If you feel that you’re in immediate danger of seriously harming yourself or someone else, call 999 and ask for help or go to your nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) department.
You can also speak to someone who is trained to listen by calling Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours a day).
If you are at risk of homelessness or are rough sleeping, your local district council can advise you. Contact details are below.
To find out which council covers your area, visit https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council