David* became a Beneficiary of the project in autumn 2016. His initial assessment took place in hospital after a referral was made to Opportunity Nottingham via a member of the hospital team.
He had been admitted to hospital due to overdosing on medication and alcohol. Despite significant concerns about his health, David began to improve, and focus turned to the need for 1-2-1 support upon his discharge from hospital.
David had a history of drinking which ultimately caused him to lose his job and also over time, saw the breakdown of his family. He felt his overdose was the last resort, he simply didn’t know what else to do.
At the point of meeting David, we asked hospital staff if he had been seen by the crisis team, as we were concerned his only coping mechanism was to drink alcohol. We identified significant risk, particularly as David was being discharged as homeless, and would most probably enter the ‘hostel circle’ and experience repeated hospital admissions as a result.
Due to David’s history and imminent risk facing him on hospital discharge, we accepted him onto the project and put a plan of intense support in place. We passed information onto the Gateway Team, and David was placed in a temporary flat; we all agreed that relapse was likely within a hostel environment. The Gateway Team helped David to understand and claim the benefits he was entitled to, and we ensured that his flat was comfortable with the necessary furniture and household items.
We encouraged David to attend group meetings regarding his drinking, but he found them challenging. However, when he felt the need to buy alcohol, he would call one of us instead and we would discuss how he was feeling and encourage him not to buy or consume alcohol. We met regularly (initially at least twice a week) and we would also speak on the phone or via text messages.
In late 2016, David was given his own tenancy. We supported him with the viewing, paperwork and furnishings. Initially David found living alone and managing his finances difficult. We met with him regularly, worked through bills and paperwork with him, and made calls for him as needed. During this time, David started having some contact with his family again. He was also referred to MNTS (Multiple Needs Tenancy Support) where the team looked at budgeting of his finances, and any positive social activities he could do to fill his time. A meeting also took place with our Beneficiary Ambassadors, where opportunities to input into the Opportunity Nottingham project were discussed. Once settled in his tenancy, David voiced his desire to get back into employment as part of his recovery, and this ultimately led to him securing a part-time role.
Moving forward, David is aware that drinking again could cause him long-term chronic illness, or even kill him. He says that without our support on leaving hospital, he would have turned back to drinking to cope. He also felt that having a ‘home’ as opposed to just a bed was critical to his recovery and wellbeing. Despite now working and being settled in a tenancy, we will continue to work with David to ensure that he is coping well with the changes in his life.
We are both extremely proud of David and how far he has come since his initial engagement with the project when he was in significant chaos. The intense support we were able to provide meant that at times when David was unable to cope, rather than moving towards a relapse, he looked to us for help and advice. Ultimately, the nature of our project delivery and the 1-2-1 support approach we offer was essential for David and his journey towards recovery.
Michelle Wardle and Gary Mclaughlin (Personal Development Coordinators)