WY-FI Project

West Yorkshire – Finding Independence | Supporting people with multiple needs


Warren’s story

Warren is a WY-FI Beneficiary and Network Member. He’s also one of our Peer Mentors. Warren very kindly agreed to share his story with filmmaker Alistair MacDonald.

The result? A brutally honest, moving and inspiring journey of recovery, told from Warren’s perspective.

The film also features Sharon, Warren’s Multiple Needs Navigator, Yan from our Education, Training and Employment Team, and WY-FI Programme Manager Sue Northcott.

During the film, Warren explains that his problems started at a very early age. He moved out of a troubled family home aged 14, and quickly got into the drink and drugs scene.

The last thing I said to my mum before she passed was, “Mum, I have changed and I want to make you proud.”

I’ve been given a second chance.

Warren, WY-FI Beneficiary, Network Member and Peer Mentor

Warren was referred by Humankind in Todmorden. He was deeply entrenched in his addiction and facing homeless. He wasn’t engaging very well with anybody at all…

Sharon Booth, WY-FI Multiple Needs Navigator, Foundation (Calderdale)

Institutional Inspirations

What happens when a poet, a theatre academic, students, prisoners, a film-maker and WY-FI meet? Institutional Inspirations tells the stories of Stuart & Ellie – young people doing their best to cope when life is disastrously difficult – but who end up in youth offending institutions, prison and on the streets, using drugs and drinking. We hear insight from Ellie’s case worker and from a prisoner who is still serving her sentence.

Credit and thanks must go to Ad Verse, Dr Aylwyn Walsh, students at The University of Leeds School of Performance and Cultural Industries, the WY-FI Network, Alistair I MacDonald and the audience for their valuable participation in this creative process.

We hope it helps you to #seethefullpicture

Annual Learning Event 2018

We produced a series of films at the 2018 Annual Learning Event.

Listen to our key speakers again, plus find out what a few of our lovely guests had to say about the event, and more generally, about the WY-FI Project.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner

“WY-FI has recognised the intensive and holistic support that people with complex needs require. It’s developed a distinctive approach to service user engagement and there is clear evidence that this approach is successful in reducing re-offending.”

  • there is evidence that the WY-FI approach is successful at reducing re-offending
  • investment in prevention and early intervention will reduce long-term costs
  • it is vital that we do the right thing and invest in approaches that work
  • the Office of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is willing to look at whether there is a business case for funding a ‘WY-FI 2’ and we may have to work together
  • there is value in the independence of the Project that comes from its roots in the third sector Watch now (2 mins)

Anna Headley – Executive Director, Operations, Humankind

“The WY-FI legacy is very much a work in progress. It’s very exciting. I’m excited to hear about the investment possibilities about keeping ‘WY-FI 2’ going post 2020.”

  • Anna co-chairs the Management Board with Adam – a member of the WY-FI Network
  • What makes WY-FI work?
    • Navigation model
    • Multi-Agency Review Boards (MARBs)
    • Peer Mentors
    • Personalisation Fund
    • Employment, Training and Education
  • the nature of this group means there will be people who need support post May 2020 (the end of the WY-FI Project). Watch now (3 mins)

Professor Del Roy Fletcher – CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University

“The need for WY-FI has never been greater.”

  • the model works
  • key distinguishing features are that Multiple Needs Navigators have small caseloads and the freedom to work with individuals over a long period of time
  • What have we learnt?
    • it takes time to establish relationships of trust
    • Navigators with lived experience act as role models
    • Navigators’ people skills are crucial
    • Navigators need support too
  • Multi-Agency Review Boards play a pivotal role in case conferencing, facilitating flex and focusing support on the most vulnerable and those who have been banned from services
  • the financial benefits will be seen in the longer-term Watch now (5 mins)

Laura Furness – Head of Funding, National Lottery Community Fund

“People aren’t falling through the cracks, the system is not designed for the kind of people we work with.”

  • We want to:
    • reduce the cost to the public purse
    • stop people from dying
    • influence systems (culture, workforce, co-production…)
    • see flexible systems which are responsive to individual need
  • we see a reduction in risk at about 2 years
  • optimum caseload is 6-10 people
  • timely end dates, rather than fixed end dates
  • 3 out of 5 people we work with have nobody apart from their key worker – we can’t allow this to continue Watch now (4 mins)

Professor David Best – Head of Criminology, Sheffield Hallam University

“For recovery to be a complete process, society/communities have to afford people a way back in.”

  • What makes recovery stick?
    • recovery is about human connections
    • we need to allow people to recover
  • a good recovery/support service allows CHIME
  • in recovery, a person’s motivation switches from pleasure-seeking to wanting to give back, do something useful, make a meaningful contribution
  • out of 2,000 recovery stories from across the world – there is ONE common feature – recovery is a social process. Key features are:
    • engagement in networks with other people in recovery
    • meaningful activities
  • 79.4% of people in long-term recovery volunteer. These loose social ties reduce offending and produce safer communities
  • at 5 years into recovery 80% of people are in stable employment
  • “sticking with people pays back” Watch now (8 mins)

The importance of time

Craig Sibson, WY-FI Multiple Needs Navigator, talks about the importance of spending quality time with WY-FI beneficiaries to successfully support them through their recovery journey.

Craig has been with the Project from its design stage. He draws on years of experience to talk about how time always seems to be the missing element from many services these days.  He reflects on the short, 10 minute appointments a service user may have with their recovery worker and how “no meaningful work can be done in that amount of time”.

Craig knows that what works is:

  • a low caseload
  • being able to offer time with a beneficiary
  • being able to offer advice and personal experience
  • being able to support a beneficiary from the start of their journey to the end
  • WY-FI Personalisation Funding

He shares a story of a beneficiary he has worked with who had been drug-using for 20 years and had reached the point of attempting suicide. He says “I never knew people like me could go to rehab. I thought it was just for rich people and celebs.” Watch now (5 minutes)

Thoughts from our guests on the day…

“We need to keep funding these projects.”

  • What stood out for you today?
    • the positive stories and positive approaches
    • the positive role of WY-FI and how that can be replicated
    • the speakers were awe-inspiring
  • What have you learnt?
    • there’s a whole network of people I can rely on and refer clients to, so that I have a holistic approach to supporting people
    • there’s more going on at WY-FI than I thought, e.g. co-production, workforce development
  • What change would you like to see in your own organisation?
    • easier access into services for people, e.g. when experiencing mental health issues and addiction (dual diagnosis)

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