The Residential Forum Neighbourhood Residential Living Networks Project is about assisting people think through, with their families and neighbours, what matters to them in their lives. Specifically what support and care would benefit their neighbourhood and how they could contribute. Essentially it is a project about collective community forward planning for people’s accommodation and personal support needs at various times in life.
As such the approach is one of a ‘fresh start’ project that, rather than arguing for more of a service or finding ‘work arounds’ for failings, seeks to take people back to the drawing board. Fundamental questions are posed around why, what and how people want care and support to work for themselves, their families and the people in their neighbourhood. The idea is to involve people in designing a local plan about what matters to people. By engaging with community businesses, housing and residential accommodation providers as well as voluntary and faith organisations the expectation is to move together from a model which tries to fit people into what is available to one in which people and organisations shape and create what people want.
The Residential Forum are grateful to members and supporters who contributed to the workshop and to the expert inputs from:
- Mandy Cowden from CLARE a Community Interest Company in Belfast, and
- Lindsey Hall from the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) a social enterprise working on social problems across education, creative arts, building renovation, employment – and baking. RIO is based in Devonport and operates across the South West of England and is linked by the British Council to work in other countries.
The project report includes a section on evaluation independently developed for the Residential Forum. The approach recommended – as with the project itself – uses coproduction techniques that involve working with people in neighbourhoods on what evidence would be meaningful. It is hoped that the evaluation process is not only key to determining the success of the pilot projects, but can also be an active record of how conversations and responses can provide assistance to other project sites.
Join the Project
The network extends to London, Belfast and Cornwall. Please recognise these documents as “works in progress”. They are not the final views of the Residential Forum. They are presented as a means for people to follow the work, to trigger thoughts and to get you to join in. Included are underdeveloped ideas and there is a lack of information on how some might be used to change the way social care is organised and funded. The Residential Forum does believe that Residential Care is a way to support people. That is what defines Residential Care; not by concerns about who owns what or by favoured policies. What matters is the way people want to live, where and with whom. For Residential Care to break out of the constraints imposed on it and support people in a way they prefer requires a clear, calm but substantial shift of thinking. Our hope is that readers will contribute to developing the ideas and by coming up with new ones.
The Residential Forum blog has become an important point of information sharing and idea development https://residentialforum.org.uk/blog-2/
Contributions to that are very welcome.