What We Offer

We work alongside open-minded statutory services and service providers to demonstrate how people with disabilities or mental health challenges can achieve their Good Life when you step outside narrow, service-dominated responses and focus instead on each individual’s strengths, aspirations and harness community assets.

Enabling individuals to secure their Good Life

We demonstrate how to deliver Good Lives by playing a role as independent, expert commissioner of personalised support.

Much of our current work is supporting those with complex and challenging reputations who are being held in restrictive and controlling environments (psychiatric units etc) to move back to living in the community with personalised support and a sense of purpose enabling a good life.  

When invited to work with individuals our approach is to:

> Produce a Good Life Plan:  we spend time with the person, their families and those who really know them to shape an aspirational plan for that individual’s good life. The plan identifies what a Good Life for the person would look like and describes what is needed in terms of support, housing and transition to get there.

> Draw in clinical expertise to create a low-arousal plan:  the stress and trauma that people with challenging reputations are living with has to be attended to.  This must start with an understanding of the transactional nature of stress (how our behaviour influences the behaviour of others). We work with our partners at Studio 3 who are specialists in low arousal techniques to shape support plans that are not about controlling behaviours, but creating a behavioural environment where the person can flourish.  

> Co-create a commissioning plan: we describe and cost out a personally designed housing and support arrangement that will enable the Good Life to be provided. We then proactively identify providers who can work with us to deliver our plan, rather than relying on Approved Provider lists. We focus on establishing small teams of higher quality staff – well-paid, well-trained, well-led.

> Train and coach Providers to deliver a good life:  having identified a suitable provider, we invest in building the problem-solving and creative thinking of the team so they can make the necessary positive community links, and be confident sticking to the low-arousal plan.

> Implement the plan: whilst the on-going commissioning of the support plan is held by the funding authority, we oversee the transition to the new approach and provide on-going training and coaching through the initial months, equipping teams to anticipate and respond positively to turbulence.

Our input will vary depending on the numbers of people we are working with and their specific circumstances. As a guide, our approach typically involves  20-25 days of our and our clinical partners time.

The on-going costs for the support plan remain the responsibility of the funding authority.  Typically we assist organisations to deliver better outcomes for the people they support with less money and more ‘community’.

If you are a commissioner looking for expertise in designing and establishing an individual support plan or a family experiencing a system that is not providing a Good Life to someone you love, contact us to see how we can support you.

Pushing for System Change

We want statutory systems to learn from our decades of experience and refocus away from deficit-based, service-led responses that are denying people their Good Life. 

We know from decades of work in, beside and against statutory bodies that current systems are not delivering a Good Life for too many people.  We are pushing for radical change which to us involves putting the local, the community and relationships back into the way we support people.

Our partners at Vanguard have shown there is compelling evidence that local authority and health systems need to recalibrate to:

• Listen to the people

• Be local (not a remote digital system)

• Help citizens to help themselves

• Attend to purpose

• Focus on value not cost.

At LivesthroughFriends we challenge the system wherever we see it failing citizens. Our independence and experience of working in a different way enables us to demonstrate how established practice and processes too often get in the way of securing a good life for people.

We seek to assist those statutory bodies that recognise the need to change and want to take steps to refocus in the right way.  We provide insight, training and consultancy to demonstrate better ways of working.

Our involvement may begin with specific work with individuals (see above) that challenge the system. We make it a condition of our involvement that one or more professionals be nominated to work with us, allocated appropriate time, and supported to acquire the additional knowledge, skills and competences inherent in our approach. In this way we hope commissioners will learn and build robust in-house capacity to undertake more effective work with subsequent people. 

We can also work with statutory bodies, drawing in our partners at Vanguard where appropriate, on wider system change thinking and action.

If you are part of the system and you know it is time to change, contact us to discuss how we can help.

Training and Coaching on delivering a Good Life

Equipping Providers and families with practical knowledge of strengths-based practice, building community networks and low-arousal techniques & alternatives to restraint.

Enabling those with complex reputations to enjoy a Good Life requires creative leadership and a deep commitment to achieving inclusion in community life. 

We need service providers who: Take responsibility for building a sense of place and real relationships with the local neighbourhood. Adopt a problem-solving and creative thinking approach. Have the skills and competence to give people their Good Life, rather than focussing on how to control and contain behaviour.

Across the LivesthroughFriends team and our partners we provide a range of effective training and coaching opportunities that develop those in Provider organisations so they can enable those they support to achieve their Good Life.  

Our training suite includes:

1. Introductions to Strengths-Based Practice

2. Building Relationships and Community Networks, including links to our partners at the PLAN Institute

3. Inclusion / Participation – what does it really mean, sharing ourselves

4. Clinical – low arousal practice and management – to ensure that when people are getting their chance to move into their community the institutional culture they have experienced does not follow them. 

Contact us if you are looking for training and coaching to create a positive culture of support built around assets, gifts and community connections.