WY-FI Project

West Yorkshire – Finding Independence | Supporting people with multiple needs


Below you will find a selection of stories, challenges and successes from beneficiaries as we follow their journeys with the WY-FI Project.

Ian – how does he get the help he needs?

People in Ian’s situation are often denied access to mental health services because of their addiction. This puts Ian in an impossible ‘catch 22’ situation – as much as he desperately wants help, he can’t always access it. If you think this should change, you can quickly sign this petition and help lobby decision makers. 

Rachel’s story

“WY-FI and my Navigator have helped to keep me alive, both physically and emotionally. They have incredible understanding of mental health and addiction.” 

By the time Rachel was in her early thirties she was homeless, addicted to alcohol and drugs, committing domestic violence offences against members of her own family and was experiencing suicidal thoughts and night terrors. Her doctor told her she’d have less than 10 years to live if she carried on drinking at the same level. 

Rachel didn’t suddenly start experiencing multiple needs in her thirties – there had been a long, slow decline in her health since the trauma she suffered as a child. The WY-FI Project would like to see systems change so that supportive interventions happen much earlier in a person’s life. 

Carl – from a dark place to a brighter future

Carl's story

Carl’s story is very typical of a recovery journey. Fraught with ups and downs, including a struggle to get the benefits he is rightly entitled to. The difference WY-FI brings to the recovery process is being able to support a beneficiary with every aspect of a person’s life – not just homelessness, addiction, re-offending and mental ill health. We also support people with strained family relationships, their physical ill health, entitlement to benefits and managing finances. Carl was supported when he received a substantial back payment of benefits so that he didn’t find himself in a dark place again. Read more



Liam: finding peace in the church

Following years of addiction, re-offending, homelessness and poor mental health, with the support of WY-FI, Liam has been able to make great progress. He now volunteers for his local church.

Mike: a 3 year wait for a home

Mike’s story shows that someone’s life can be turned around with a little upfront investment. That’s why WY-FI has its own Personalisation Fund – so that we can finance small items, personalised to beneficiaries’ needs, to help people on their way to a more fulfilled life. 

Sarah’s story

“I felt lost and now I’ve found myself again.”

Sarah hit rock bottom when her horse died in a riding accident. This is her story about how she recovered from a life of drug use and re-offending whilst her mental health was deteriorating rapidly. Read more 


Peter: homeless after accident

Following an accident at work, Peter ended up homeless, alcohol dependent and with a criminal record. It was Peter’s WY-FI Multiple Needs Navigator who helped Peter navigate the complex web of services to get him the benefits he was entitled to. Services are hard to navigate on your own, especially when you’re suffering. The WY-FI Project is working hard to influence change so that people with multiple needs are better cared for in future. Want to find out more? Watch one of our short films here

Jessica: driven to suicide

This story is heartbreaking but sadly typical of the struggles faced by WY-FI beneficiaries. The bottom line is that people who are most in need of help are the ones least likely to get help. At WY-FI, we are looking for long-term system change so that Jessica’s experience is never repeated.


Thank you – You’re a gem

WY-FI Multiple Needs Navigator, Rebecca Sanderson, based at Spectrum CIC in Wakefield received this card recently from a WY-FI beneficiary she has been working with.

“To Becks, Your special. Thanks so much for everything that you do for me. I no that im a pest at times and im so sorry. All my love [name redacted to protect anonymity] x 

Becks, I just wanted you to no that I would be f****d with out you love. You go out of your way to help me, I just wanted to let you no how greatful I am for all you do for us. Your the best so thank you so much allways from [name redacted] PS sorry about that hand writing lol xxx”

Derek: an opportunity for a new home

Derek's update

Remember Derek? He was stuck in a flat paying for damage he didn’t create. We’re pleased to report that Wakefield District Housing have flexed their system to enable Derek to find a way out of his current situation and help him on his way to better housing. Derek’s WY-FI Multiple Needs Navigator, Jamie, played a key role in negotiating this flexibility for Derek.


Derek – paying for damage he didn’t create

Derek desperately wants to distance himself from people who hold back his recovery. He also wants to live closer to his family who can support him. But he’s stuck in a flat paying for damage he didn’t create. Which way should he turn now?

Sarah’s story – “I felt lost and now I’ve found myself again”



In her own words, Sarah was at rock bottom, struggling with substance misuse and mental health. With WY-FI’s support, Sarah says he is happier than she’s ever been, and is looking forward to the future. Read the full story here.


Brendan – breaking the cycle of re-offending

Brendan1 250px

Brendan is on an inspiring journey, breaking a 32 year-long cycle of re-offending and building a more meaningful life.

Here is Brendan’s full story, which shows just how far he’s come since he started working with his WY-FI Navigator in Calderdale. Read the full story here.

Louise’s story – from addiction to Community Builder in Kirklees

Group support imageFrom divorce, addiction and unemployment, Louise is now stable in recovery. And she has a new job helping other people turn their lives around. Read the full story here


Paul’s story – how WY-FI helped bridge the gap

Paul_Kirklees_March 2019Paul, a beneficiary from Kirklees needed urgent medical treatment but was anxious about attending hospital.

One of our WY-FI Navigator’s supported Paul to go to A&E – acting as his advocate – to bridge the gap with medical staff and ensure his needs were met whilst he waited to be seen. As a result, Paul was was given the vital treatment he needed. Read more here.


Rob Roche

Rob Roche Photo

Rob Roche shares his journey from early recovery into training, learning and onto becoming an Education, Training and Employment (ETE) Peer Engagement Worker.

Read Rob’s full story here. 



Lucy_snippetLucy has experienced trauma as a child and in adulthood. Lucy had needs across all four HARM areas (Homelessness; Addiction; Re-offending; Mental Health).

WY-FI has been able to support Lucy in all these areas of her life to help her make positive changes.

Read more



Howard's storySometimes beneficiaries don’t engage with WY-FI immediately. The time has to be right for them and we respect this choice as part of our person-centred approach. In Howard’s case it was important that he knew that WY-FI was there for when the time was right for him.



Gareth's storyWY-FI Navigators in Wakefield have supported Gareth to engage with Probation and complete his Order. He is also now volunteering. Despite his efforts, his children have been adopted. We need system change to help keep families strong.




Having spent most of his adult life in jail, Frank is now working with his WY-FI Navigator to break his cycle of re-offending.




BrentBrent had been living in a tent, without any access to heat or running water. He wasn’t registered with a GP and didn’t even have a National Insurance Number. Now Brent is in stable accommodation, in receipt of the correct benefits and has taken up falconry as a hobby. Read more.



Emma's storyWith help from the WY-FI Project, Emma is now overcoming her substance misuse, mental ill health and the trauma caused by her childhood abuse. Working with The Truth Project, she is now helping other survivors of childhood sexual abuse.




John had been living on the streets for 25 years and his physical and mental health were very poor. WY-FI have taken the time to gain John’s trust and his overall health and well-being is improving. Read more.



Roxanne was referred to WY-FI from Probation. She was vulnerable in temporary accommodation, and a regular user of crack cocaine and alcohol. With WY-FI’s support, Roxanne is in treatment for her addictions and is in settled accommodation. Read more



Jill website image

Jill was first introduced to WY-FI as she was preparing to leave prison. Lead Navigator Mel started helping Jill from day one. Mel helped Jill find the confidence to start going to her appointments and Jill is now in recovery and no longer engages in criminal activity. Read more



Niomi website image

Niomi was referred to WY-FI following her release from prison. When Lead Navigator Debbie met her, Niomi was abusing alcohol and prescribed medication. With WYFI’s support Niomi is re-building her relationships with services and is in stable accomodation. Read more.

“WY-FI helped change my life. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me…” Niomi



History: Diane had been evicted from her property, she was drinking, had depression and was often abusive towards various hostel staff.

At referral stage Diane had the following needs:
Support from WY-FI: WY-FI quickly put things in place to support Diane and enabled her to access an operation to fix her hip which had been causing her trouble for over 10 years.

Impact of a service flex: WY-FI were able to influence a decision to allow Probation to carry out home visits as Diane had difficulty leaving her property due to mobility issues. 




Melissa’s story shows the importance of a person-centred approach in aiding recovery. Melissa’s story also focuses on how becoming involved in activities and hobbies helped  her boost her confidence. Read more

“WY-FI hasn’t let me down like other services. The support came along at the right time for me.” Melissa



History: Jeremy was refused cardiology treatment due to his alcohol addiction. He also had difficulties attending appointments as a result of poor memory which was brought on by his alcohol use.

At referral stage Jeremy had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: With Navigator support Jeremy reduced his alcohol consumption and was able to attend 3 cardiology appointments which led to successful heart surgery.

Impact of WY-FI work: The work of WY-FI enabled Jeremy to engage with health services which resulted in him having much needed heart surgery. Following Jeremy’s successful operation he has started to rebuild relationships with family.



History: Maya suffered from homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill health and was involved in crime. Maya also found it difficult to accept help due to her cultural upbringing.

At referral stage Maya had the following needs:
Support from WY-FI: WY-FI worked to gain trust and understand Maya’s faith. WY-FI were then able to help Maya engage with services such as probation and Forward Leeds as well as supporting her through various benefit claims. WY-FI also worked with Maya to reduce her offending.

Impact of persistence: Initially Maya found it hard to leave the chaotic lifestyle behind but with persistence from the Navigator Maya began engaging with support services. Since WY-FI’s involvement Maya’s lifestyle has become more stable and this has allowed Maya to re-establish relationships with her family.



History: Sheila was in temporary accommodation and suffered from mental ill health and alcohol addiction.

At referral stage Sheila had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: As Sheila was not ready to address her alcohol issues the Navigator worked closely with the dual diagnosis team and achieved flex to enable Sheila to access fast-track help for her mental ill health.

Impact of dual diagnosis flex: Without the flex of the dual diagnosis team Sheila would have had to register at a recovery drop in, await allocation of a worker and then be referred to the dual diagnosis team.



History: Between 2009-2014 Paul received 92 antisocial behaviour orders and a 12 week period of imprisonment. Paul also had long standing issues with street homelessness and alcohol addictions.

At referral stage Paul had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: The Navigator worked carefully with Paul to develop a trusting relationship and encourage positive engagement with services.

Impact of Navigator work: Paul had been known to housing services for 10 years but with WY-FI’s involvement in helping to reshape behaviour Paul finally secured his own property. In the last 9 months Paul has only been arrested once which is a huge improvement on his offending history. Paul is also back with a mainstream GP after completing his script.



Jason thumbnail“When I first started with WYFI, I was living in a hostel in Bradford where drug use was rife, myself included. I was barred from all drug services and had to have police attend my appointments with me….” Read more




History: Christian had been released from prison and was in temporary housing when he was first referred into WY-FI.

At referral stage Christian had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: The Navigator worked with Christian and the housing provider to ensure Christian met his obligations while staying in temporary housing and this lead to a permanent tenancy. The Navigator accessed the Personalisation Fund to purchase essential items for Christian’s new home.

Impact of Personalisation Fund: The Personalisation Fund was used to purchase a cooker and fridge which allowed Christian to cook his own healthier meals, instead of him buying takeaways. The Fund was also used to purchase a washing machine which enabled Christian to be able to wash his own clothes and be more independent. Read more about WY-FI’s Personalisation Fund.




daniel-thumbnailDaniel’s story shows how crucial it is to take the time to build a solid and trusting relationship with a beneficiary and how getting to know their interests and hobbies can be one of the keys to success. Read more

“I was in a really dark place and terrified. The support I’ve received from Jamie and James has been phenomenal. The WY-FI Project has given me my life back.” Daniel




History: Brian was previously known to WY-FI and had a history of mental ill health and addictions. When Brian re-engaged with WY-FI he was clean but homeless and suffering from illnesses related to previous drug use.

At referral stage Brian had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: The Navigator helped Brian to access appropriate accommodation to support his mental health issues and a sum was awarded from the Personalisation Fund to fund initial accommodation while ongoing funding for the accommodation was provided by Adult and Social Care.

Impact of Personalisation Fund: Brian is now in long term accommodation, suitable for his needs and has options for the first time in his life. Without the personalisation fund there would have been a delay in accessing appropriate accommodation. Read more about WY-FI’s Personalisation Fund.



Stephanie thumbnail

Stephanie’s story shows just how easy it can be to slide into a life of chaos. She started drinking to ease the pain of the sudden death of her Mum. Her story also raises the question about whether her addiction, homelessness and her conviction for drink driving could have been avoided if she had received bereavement support at the time. Read more

“What happened to me could happen to anyone. But if I can find a way out of the trap, so can you.” Stephanie



History: Jordan was released from prison and in poor health. He had a difficult relationship with his GP and struggled to make himself understood.

At referral stage Jordan had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: The Navigator liaised with Jordan’s GP on his behalf.

Impact of WY-FI work: Jordan’s health has since improved as he is now on the correct medication and has been provided with dressings.



History: Kate had a history of sex work, crack and heroin addictions and depression. When Kate was referred to WY-FI she was living in a bedsit which was in a poor state of disrepair.

At referral stage Kate had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: The Navigator helped Kate to access a supported tenancy with wrap around support for domestic violence.

Impact of WY-FI work: With WY-FI’s support Kate is now able to budget effectively and no longer sex works.



History: Graeme had just been released from prison when he was first referred into WY-FI and required high level, immediate support.

At referral stage Graeme had the following needs:

Support from WY-FI: The Navigator worked with Graeme to secure a tenancy and furnish the flat. As the relationship developed the Navigator was able to find out about Graeme’s interests and accessed the Personalisation Fund to purchase gym equipment for Graeme to use at home.

Impact of Personalisation Fund: Due to Graeme’s anxieties he was unable to go to the gym, so being able to use the Personalisation Fund to purchase gym equipment to use at home allowed him to build up confidence. The Personalisation Fund also enabled Graeme to make his flat into a home with the purchase of paint and carpets. Read more about WY-FI’s Personalisation Fund.