How we do it
Our teams of Navigators engage people with multiple disadvantage and help them to access services.
We do not provide treatment services ourselves, but we help our beneficiaries to make contact with existing services and use them positively and constructively. We appreciate that the people we work with do not just face problems and need help during normal working hours so our Navigators are available to provide support 365 days a day in early mornings, late evenings and over weekends.
We recognise that short-term interventions will not generally work for people with long standing and ingrained issues so we work with them intensively over a relatively long period of time, if required, over a number of years.
We fully recognise that people with multiple disadvantage have had challenging and difficult experiences. They aren’t using the services they need due to a range of different reasons. They could be barred from accessing certain services because of past behaviour or their chaotic lifestyles could mean they can’t easily fit into the requirements of services. That’s why we work with people on an individual basis, tailoring our support to the needs of that person.
Once people are stabilised, we help them to realise their goals and aspirations, whether it is reconnecting with their family, developing new skills and interests or taking up educational, volunteering or paid employment opportunities. We organise a wide range of activities such as tennis lessons, gym classes, snooker, bowls, arts and crafts, cinema visits and walk and talk groups that we encourage and support beneficiaries to get involved in.
We run drop-in sessions a few times a week to encourage people to meet and socialise in an informal safe environment. These sessions have helped beneficiaries who are often socially isolated to build more positive relationships.
BFL accepts referrals from agencies working in Blackpool, from family members and also self referrals. People referred must be aged 18+ and live in Blackpool.
BFL aims to work with people who have the most complex needs. All referrals received are assessed against set criteria but people must have at least two out of the four identified area of multiple disadvantage (homelessness, re-offending, substance misuse and mental ill health issues).
Our team will talk to the referrer, any other agencies involved with the person being referred and, ideally, that person themselves to obtain information to complete the assessment.
Building a rapport takes compassion and perseverance. That’s why our Navigators and volunteers, many of whom have lived experience, really take the time to engage with beneficiaries. We operate on an assertive outreach basis which means that Navigators will meet people in the community and where they live rather than in an office environment.
We operate on an assertive outreach basis seven days a week, from 7am to 9pm on weekdays and 10am to 9pm on weekends . This enables us to make contact with people outside of what are typical working hours.
The support our teams provide takes a variety of different forms. It could be accompanying a beneficiary to a health appointment, helping them to access a drug treatment programme or shopping with them to get clothes for a job interview. It could also be simply meeting over a coffee for a chat. There is always a purpose; for example to start building a relationship with that person or help develop their ability and confidence to attend an appointment by themselves. The overall emphasis for the Navigator is on working alongside other agencies and support services.
Empowering beneficiaries to lead healthier, happier and ultimately more fulfilling lives is what we want to achieve. Once people are stable and their major problems are being addressed, we encourage them to get involved in therapeutic activities and pursue volunteering or employment opportunities.
We value the views and experiences of people who have been supported through the BFL programme. When people are ready and express an interest we want to encourage them to help shape and influence the development and delivery of BFL by getting involved in the Lived Experience Team.