Mind the Gap

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Scottish Drugs Forum’s first conference of the year – Bridging That Gap – will focus on the delivery of Scotland’s drug and mental health strategies and has a mix of national and international speakers and workshop presenters confirmed.

This event will aim to offer a vision of the potential impact of better effective joint work and what can be achieved, and discuss the next steps in terms of service development.

Keynote speaker is Professor Carl Hart, Professor of Psychology (In Psychiatry); Columbia University New York City. Carl is a neuroscientist and psychologist studying the behavioural and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs in humans.

Click here to download the draft conference programme

The Glasgow Community Activist Panel (CAP)

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The Glasgow Community Activist Panel (CAP) Newsletter, which is co-ordinated by GHN, is looking for new contributors, anyone with experience of living on a low income in the Glasgow area can get involved.

The CAP is made up of a diverse group of people from across the city who use their lived experience of poverty to influence the way public services are provided by consulting with the council and partners through the Poverty Leadership Panel (PLP).

The CAP Newsletter is designed to reach communities and individuals who want to have a say in the issues affecting those on low incomes in the Glasgow area but do not know how to get involved in the discussion. If you or someone you know would like to contribute please contact David on 0141 420 7272, dramsay@ghn.org.uk or visit the website for more information.

The latest CAP newsletter is available here >>

To sign up to receive the newsletter click here. 

GHIFT of the Gab

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Do you know someone with lived experience of homelessness who would like to get more involved in influencing policy and services? We are looking for volunteers for the GHIFT; Glasgow Homelessness Involvement & Feedback Team.

GHIFT members are directly involved in facilitating events and conferences, feeding into surveys and taking part in the wider debate around homelessness, but always to a level and degree that the person is comfortable with.

If you or anyone you know has the GHIFT of the gab and would like to talk to other people about how to make homeless services better, come along to our monthly meetings and help us rewire the system.

Next meeting will be held in the Glasgow City Mission, 20 Crimea Street, G2 8PW, 17 January from 2pm – 4pm. If you can’t make that date but would like to get involved, then please contact Kelly on 0141 420 7272 or 07834 437185.

Following on from successfully recording the views of more than 400 people with lived experience for the Housing and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) this year, we have also established a national engagement platform called SHIFT that will be rolling out across Scotland in 2019. There will be more information in our January 2019 newsletter about how organisations and individuals can get involved in this exciting new network.

Festive fun at Social Bite

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This year Social Bite will again be opening their shops in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen on Christmas Day to provide food, presents and loving company to people who are homeless during the festive season.

CHRISTMAS EVE (12pm – 3pm) & CHRISTMAS DAY (12pm – 4pm) in each of the following locations:

Aberdeen

516 Union St, Aberdeen AB10 1TT

Edinburgh

131 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 3DT

Glasgow

103 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5EA

Sleep in the Park 2018 was the largest ever event of its type, with around 10,000 people sleeping out, including our colleagues, David Ramsay and Doug Gibson. On Saturday 8th December Social Bite hosted four events in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, featuring busking sets from superstar acts, a bedtime story from an iconic local figure and the voices of those who have experienced homelessness and housing insecurity.

A proportion of the money raised from Sleep in the Park will continue to go towards Housing First Scotland, a programme that will take 830 of Scotland’s most vulnerable people into stable, permanent homes.

Josh Littlejohn, from Social Bite, said: “Scotland, a nation of pioneering innovation. This is a pivotal time in our nation with the development of Housing First Scotland, the increasing political, public, and cultural support to end homelessness. It is incredible to have so many people joining the movement and believing that a Scotland where everyone has a safe place to call home is possible when we all play our part.”

To keep up to date with Social Bite’s projects visit:

Twitter: @SocialBite_

Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialbitebusiness

Instagram: @social_bite

Website: www.social-bite.co.uk

Universal Credit

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The first stage of Universal Credit has now rolled out across Glasgow for those people making new claims, or whose circumstances have changed recently.

Universal Credit combines six benefits into one for working age people across the UK. In Scotland payment flexibilities were secured where people can be paid twice a month and have the relevant housing costs in the Universal Credit award paid direct to their landlord in some cases.

Stage two will take in current claimants who have not seen a change in circumstances, although the timeline for this has yet to be finalised, according to Cllr Allan Gow, City Treasurer at Glasgow City Council.

Councillor Gow said: “Firstly, I want to thank the organisations we have been working with across the city in the voluntary sector and community level for engaging and making sure around 1700 of our most vulnerable citizens are plugged into the new arrangements. As large as the council is, we simply do not have the reach to do something like this alone.

“Our focus with the £2m financial & digital inclusion fund that we have made available has been to target those individuals likely to experience difficulty in claiming, such as those living with a disability or experiencing homelessness. It’s important to recognise that this funding will not last forever, but it has allowed us to add value to the assistance people receive.”

People wanting advice on how to claim universal credit can call into their local advice hub, accessible here. Advice is available by calling the Universal Support Service on 0808 169 9901. Additional information is available at the Scottish Government website here.

2019 will be the year of ‘No Wrong Door’

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In 2019 one of the themes for public sector organisations and charities in Scotland will be embedding a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach, which was highlighted at our annual conference in the City Chambers in October attended by more than 200 delegates from government, councils and third sector organisations across Scotland.

Catriona McKean, Unit Head (Homelessness), Scottish Government, was a keynote speaker at the conference and said: “Our current homelessness system needs to be redefined in line with ‘No Wrong Door’ principles and this will require collaboration across sectors – hardwiring multi-agency approaches into all of our interventions and ensuring Health and Social Care Partnerships are at the heart of what we do.”

No Wrong Door is about signposting people to the right service to meet their needs, but also making them feel they are being helped, not turned away and it has backing from the Scottish Government. It was also the subject of the most recent GHN Members Event that took place in December at the Adelphi Centre, when thirty of our members came together to discuss what it means to have a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach in service delivery.

Doug Gibson, our Business Development Manager, said: “Building on the theme of our annual conference, people agreed that while there will be times when we simply don’t provide the right service, that doesn’t mean we can’t be the right door. We can make sure that we are friendly and welcoming and can help to connect people to the right service for them, instead of defaulting to ‘sorry, that’s not what we do here’. We can be careful and kind in the language we use and the environments we create, regardless of when, where and how a person engages with the system. As always, it was a healthy, inspiring morning of debate and ideas.”

Those attending the forum pledged to do one thing in their roles that would progress a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach. From ensuring that ‘no person is left alone to navigate the system’ to ‘challenging the idea that signposting is good enough’.

Read the conference report >>

Renfrewshire Keys to Learn

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Do you know, or are you working with, someone with experience of the criminal justice system who is looking for a new start in 2019? Drop into an open day at The Russell Institute in Paisley Town Centre (30 Causeyside Street, Paisley) on Tuesday 22nd January from 12pm-1pm for a cup of tea and more information on Keys to Learn.

Following the successful Keys to Learn programme in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, set up to equip people with the skills they need to move on with their lives, The Homeless Network is delivering a life skills course with Invest in Renfrewshire’s ‘Just for Learning – Skills for Employment’, starting Tuesday 5th of February 2019 and then weekly for eight weeks.

The course is for people who want to build skills like working with others, working on their C.V., and building self-confidence. Previous participants have had positive outcomes, moving onto employment, learning, and volunteering. Travel and lunch expenses will be paid for each day attended and participants will be registered as a college student with college ID, also the training can count toward job agreement and community payback order requirements.

To find out more and book a free place contact Fraser McKinlay at Renfrewshire Council on:

Phone: 07534 002 229

Email:   fraser.mckinlay@renfrewshire.gov.uk

‘SHIFT’ THE POWER!

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A vital component of the Housing and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) recommendations published earlier this year was input from people using homelessness services across Scotland. Following on from HARSAG, a national network designed to engage people with first-hand experience of homelessness launches today (Monday 26/11/18) and is inviting projects or individuals to join up.

The Scottish Homelessness Involvement & Feedback Team (SHIFT) is free to join and has been developed from a local project that has been running successfully for 18 months. Its aim is to place greater power in the hands of people who use services and make it easy for anyone with experience of homelessness in Scotland to get involved in implementing the 70 recommendations that came out of HARSAG.

David Kidd, Coproduction Co-ordinater at The Homeless Network, which is leading the project, said: “The HARSAG recommendations were developed with input from people using homelessness services in nearly every local authority area across Scotland. That lived experience aspect is one of the strengths of the final reports. As implementation begins there will be an even greater need for us to make certain that lived experience informs what we do next to make sure this happens in a way that works for those using the services – SHIFT will be the national body that supports that.”

People working in a role that supports the participation of people experiencing homelessness or whose role supports groups with experience of homelessness can contact SHIFT from Monday (26/11/18) and discuss the benefits of membership and ways to get involved.

For more information, or to join SHIFT contact Michelle Major by email or phone on 0141 420 7272

Case Study: Govan High School

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Govan High School Pupils

It feels like every day in the news right now, we hear about important, life changing votes taking place. Six months after Govan High School facilitated a Community Budgeting voting process, we returned to witness the school changing project that six pupils made happen.

Around the school are benches where pupils can sit and chat, have lunch, relax away from the classroom, and bins to keep the place tidy. Pupils tell us as a result there is less crowding in public spaces, and a more tidy school. There’s less complaining about the school, because an issue identified by pupils had been addressed with a solution developed by pupils.

Ready Steady to Go with Community Budgeting is working with 9 schools across Glasgow, to facilitate a Community Budgeting voting process, where pupils decide how £1000 will be spent for the benefit of the school. In Govan High School, six pupils came together to find out how this money could benefit the whole school, and within 6 months, the benefits can be clearly seen.

Led by the group, the whole school had a chance to talk about the issues affecting the school, the group came up with some practical solutions, and their fellow pupils had a chance to vote for what they wanted to see happen.

We asked the pupils involved what’s been the benefit of the project for them? They highlighted they feel more empowered, because they didn’t just have a say in the changes, but led the way in making the changes, and ensuring everyone had a say. Equally important was the fact that the school was willing and able to ensure pupils, staff and Ready Steady worked together to come up with solutions that addressed a problem, and were realistic in terms of implementation and budget.

One word to describe coproducing the Community Budgeting Process? Spectacular! Enjoyable! Inspirational! Eventful! Fantastic! Educational!