THE LOCATION of ‘Focus House’ – Reading’s only Council-run mental health accommodation service, is being reviewed to improve living facilities and quality of life for current and future residents.
The proposal is to relocate Focus House services, with a longer term vision to retain and extend this service, in order to support existing needs but also to meet the mental health needs of a wide range of people living in Reading.
Deterioration in the buildings at 14 Castle Crescent and 16 Castle Crescent, which currently offer a supported living service for individual’s with a mental health diagnosis, mean either a significant level of investment is required or a move to a new location, to ensure the service’s accommodation is fit for purpose into the future. There are currently 13 residents across these two sites.
The change in location could also open up the opportunity to work more closely with partners in the voluntary, public and private sectors to provide further mental wellness activities and support, which would be convenient to access and to immerse individuals into an environment of a growth culture and mindset.
Three alternative options are being considered. The first includes relocating all the individuals together, to a larger building. This option would enable the service to continue in a similar manner, but may include the potential to expand or to be based in closer proximity to other mental wellness support.
The second alternative is to spread the service over a number of smaller sites, encouraging more independence and integration into the community and offering a level of choice for individuals in where they live.
The final option would offer a mixture of the first two suggestions, offering a choice between a new larger premises and smaller, supported living accommodation.
This review is part of a wider review across Reading Council’s Adult Social Care services in order to ensure that services are sustainable and able to meet the need of Reading’s communities, now and in the future.
Cllr Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We are fully committed to the future of this valued service and view this as a good opportunity to improve living facilities and quality of life for current and future residents. We put recovery at the heart of this service, following our consultation in 2017, and the change from residential care to a model of supported living means that people are helped to live more independently and to take control of their life.
“We fully appreciate any change for vulnerable residents can be daunting and Council officers will be working closely with the people at Focus House, and related service providers, on this review.
“We want to emphasise this as a positive opportunity for the service. A change of location offers a chance to provide suitable accommodation which supports and encourages recovery and promotes independence, as well as providing value for money, to achieve the Council’s commitments and remain financially sustainable.
“Despite the challenges we face financially as a Council, we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our community and to improving the services and facilities available.”
People and organisations directly affected by the changes, including individuals and staff, will now be consulted on the review and on how they could be supported to transition to new accommodation. The Council also hopes to hear from residents and other stakeholders who have an interest in mental health services in Reading.
The consultation on these changes launches on Monday 19th November and will last for 6 weeks, ending on Friday 28th December 2018. People can take part by visiting the consultation hub on the website www.reading.gov.uk/relocatingfocushouseservices
To request a paper copy, a large print version of this consultation or for help with completing it call 0118 937 4661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A report on the response to this consultation and the final recommendations will be made at the Council’s Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education (ACE) Committee in April 2019.
The Focus House service provides supported living accommodation and support for those recovering from mental health issues. Supported living means that people are supported to live more independently and to take control of their life.
In July 2018, 14 Castle Crescent transferred from Residential Care to Supported Living accommodation, following a consultation in 2017. As part of the supported living arrangement, individuals have more choice and control over their accommodation and who delivers their care and support. It is now felt this choice and control could be better achieved by moving to a different location.
The full ACE Committee report on the previous changes at Focus House – which includes consultation feedback – can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/article/10566/Adult-Social-Care-Childrens-Services–Education-Committee-12-JULY-2017 (item 6).