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07 April 2017

Providing a safety net in Nottingham city

“I’ve had a busy day!” said Councillor Alex Norris at the end of a day spent touring NCHA’s services for young people, refuges for women and children, and tenancy support services.

With responsibility for Nottingham City Council’s Adults and Health portfolio, as well as chairing the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Councillor Norris was keen to find out more about the care and support services NCHA has been providing across the city for nearly 25 years.

Visiting the Sound as a Pound and Foothold services, Councillor Norris met staff who deliver tenancy and financial support services to tenants across the city. Next stop was Corporation Oaks: one of NCHA’s longest running services providing semi-independent accommodation for young people aged 16-25 years old who are facing homelessness.

Councillor Norris met with Charlotte, a former tenant at Corporation Oaks who now has a home of her own, a job and is working towards qualifications to get her on the road to a career as a victim support advisor. Charlotte attributed how stable her life is now, to the time she spent at Corporation Oaks:

“Without being here, I wouldn’t have the life I have now. My time at Corporation Oaks taught me life lessons – I didn’t know how to cook a proper meal when I came here! Staff helped me to claim benefits - I didn’t know how to fill in the forms. I’m hoping to come back and volunteer here, I like to help and it’s something I could do that I know would make a difference.”

The councillor then visited Ozanam House, another of NCHA’s semi-independent accommodation services, but with a focus on purely supporting young women aged 16-25 years old. The day of visits concluded at Umuada, NCHA’s refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse.

Councillor Norris was joined by Jill, Umuada’s Children’s Worker, who had been busy creating a play session for the children that enabled creative play and emotional support. Jill discussed the importance that Umuada staff place on supporting the families that stay at the service, and how important it is to give the children a safe and happy place to play.

At the end of a busy day Councillor Norris relfected on the staff and service users he had met:
“It’s a wonderful thing to hear the impact that the staff have on people’s lives. Service users and tenants have complex lives with complex needs, but there the services I’ve seen supporting people today provide a safety net for them.”