By Andrew Holt

Voluntary and community sector organisations in 15 areas of England have today been given the backing of the BIG Lottery Fund to enable them to work together to improve and better coordinate services to tackle the needs of people with deeply entrenched multiple and complex problems.

The VCS organisations will lead partnerships to apply for a slice of the BIG Lottery Fund’s (BIG) £100 million investment over eight years to improve the lives of people with multiple and complex needs, including homelessness, reoffending, substance misuse and mental ill-health.

There are an estimated 60,000 adults in England with multiple needs who are beset by several problems at once and lack effective contact with services that support across all their needs.

As a result they can rotate around various welfare, health and justice systems compounding the problems in their lives.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England chair, said: “Multiple issues feed off each other and can lead to a downward spiral of ill-health and harm to individuals, their family and society as a whole.

"By working in this original way we aim to not only improve the lives of the people reached over the eight years, but to also feed into a wider study of what works in order to influence policy and practice in the future.

“To do this, it is essential that people experiencing these issues are genuinely involved throughout the design and delivery of each project. By showing why and how this approach works we can inform future policy both within the areas funded and beyond.”

Each of the 15 areas have a significant concentration of people with multiple and complex needs and organisations were invited by the Fund to work together to select a lead partner and to closely collaborate to improve services for people who experience at least two of these problems - homelessness, reoffending, substance abuse and mental ill health.

These 15 lead partners now have the task of developing a vision for how they will deliver local services that are more tailored, better connected and involve people with entrenched problems playing a key role in developing and delivering the support.

The BIG Lottery Fund will award between £4 million and £10 million for between five to eight years to successful applications from these partnerships.

Rick Henderson, chief executive of the umbrella body Homeless Link, said: “Homelessness is often linked with other problems such as mental ill-health, alcohol dependency and experience of institutions like prison.

"It’s unfortunate but those who often need the greatest help can fall though the gaps and this is why BIG’s investment into multiple and complex needs is so vital.

“The lead partners announced today will play a role in helping some of the most vulnerable people in our communities turn their lives around.

"I wish each of the 15 organisations involved every success in pulling together solutions that make a real difference, providing individuals with access to the high quality, tailored services they deserve.”

The 15 lead partners are:

Birmingham: Birmingham Voluntary Service Council

Blackpool: Addaction

Brighton: Brighton Housing Trust

Bristol: Second Step Housing Association

Camden & Islington, London: Single Homeless Project

Great Yarmouth: Voluntary Norfolk

Lambeth, London: Resolving Chaos

Liverpool: Plus Dane Group

Manchester: Young People’s Support Foundation

Newcastle / Gateshead: The Cyrenians

Nottingham: Framework Housing Association

Plymouth: Hamoaze House

Stoke on Trent: Brighter Futures

Tees Valley: The Wisegroup

West Yorkshire: Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities

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