Project budget4 291 352 €
ERDF amount2 574 811 €
Social exclusion is defined as a: “process through which individuals or groups are wholly or partially excluded from full participation in the society in which they live” (European Foundation, 1995). Across the 2Seas region health/social care providers have become aware of a growing number of socially excluded vulnerable people whose needs are not recognized/met by current structures & services. At present services are accessed by allocating people a pre-determined “label” eg autistic. ENSURE will reach both the significant number of people who do not fit these labels & are passed from one service to another without attaining support as well as those who do not access support despite meeting the criteria. ENSURE will provide a simple, effective solution to prevent their situation worsening & causing great cost to them & society. It recognises that services are failing these people & provides a cost-effective system redesign to prevent vulnerability in our communities.
ENSURE will break the cycle of disadvantage which prevents vulnerable people from being socially included. In doing so it will ensure that this disadvantage does not repeat itself in future generations. Furthermore, as the initial support is drawn from within the local community, it will be there for an individual over the long term & ensure they don’t slip back into vulnerability. ENSURE will create a holistic model: it will provide radical system redesign led by front-line workers to break down existing professional silos as well as a bottom up peer-supporter approach. By acting at both levels simultaneously it will reach people in a timely fashion, reducing the cost to society of the bigger ‘labelled’ problems further down the line, creating less vulnerable communities, providing support where ‘everybody counts’ & enabling positive community development, moving people & their area from a downwards cycle to an upwards one.
- A new cost-effective, evaluated model to reduce & prevent vulnerability & the gap between people & state services, building on PP6’s highly successful ‘Moms for Moms’ network of peer-to-peer community volunteers & linking 3 groups into a successful solution: professionals, peer supporters & vulnerable people
- 2 training programmes for: 1) health, social care & welfare professionals/volunteers/NGOs, based around mentalisation (walk a kilometre in my shoes) led by front-line workers; 2) peer-to-peer community volunteers acting as intermediaries between the vulnerable & state services; plus evaluation of these programmes.
These outputs will benefit vulnerable people: migrants & culturally, socially and economically vulnerable individual adults and families & creating healthy communities. In particular trained professionals will be able to work more effectively & the trained volunteers will have opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Cross border approach
In 2016, 118m people in the EU (23.5% of population) lived in households at risk of poverty/social exclusion. The 2 Seas area is very affected as the EP states “coastal or border regions tend to present the highest levels of rural isolation...limited transport infrastructure hampers access to employment & the development of social relations, increasing the isolation of certain population groups.”
ENSURE PPs combine a number of disciplines (public health, social care, community centre, HE, charity, employment) in which approaches to the vulnerable are varied. All PPs working together will tackle the common problem of poor communication between professionals & the people they serve, drawing upon existing expertise eg PP6's Moms for Moms, PP4’s use of students supporting socially excluded people into work. It will co-create a model that draws upon what works & identifies & addresses gaps in the current systems that result in many people not accessing the services they need.
All societies have their vulnerable people, some of who risk falling through the cracks between health, welfare and social services. Many people, who do not fit pre-established labels within the system, are passed from one service to another without getting the support they need. Others are unable to access support despite meeting the criteria as they find it difficult to navigate health, social care and welfare structures. These are the kinds of people the ENSURE project is supporting via a model to reduce and prevent vulnerability and the gap between people and public services and newly-developed training programmes.
Despite COVID dominating the first year of the project's lifetime, ENSURE has adapted to the situation to fulfill its goals for 2020 and enjoy a number of highlights. A site visit to De Mussen social centre was able to take place in February 2020 in order to fully understand their Moms for Moms initiative, in which migrant mothers receive peer support training in order to support other migrant mums in the heavily diverse area of The Hague. This site visit was particularly important, as the initiative was one of the driving factors behind the ENSURE model and training programmes to be developped by the partnership. Partners were also able to partake physically in the kick off meeting in Kent, as well as the Kent County Council site visit in order to learn about their Social Prescribing model in February. Due to the restrictions that came into place in March, later site visits were successfully hosted virtually by partners in the Netherlands and Belgium, exploring more initiatives that will contribute to the model and training programmes.
The evaluation partners undertook some incredibly important work, which was, fortunately, not impacted by the pandemic. With their guidance and input from a wider group of stakeholders, the project partners agreed a new set of terminology to help break down barriers from professionals and society in general when addressing vulnerablity and the people that are impacted by it. This terminology forms a key starting point for the development of the model and training. The evaluation partners also performed literature reviews, mapping reviers and a SWOT analysis, forming the basis for the model. Partners were able to meet physically in September and virtually a number of times before the end of the year to further develop the model and training, as well as agreeing crucial next steps for 2021.