The "Worcester Model"
Welcome to the "Worcester Model" - a refreshed way of organisations working together to respond to homelessness.
As a way of ensuring services for people who were homeless or threatened with homelessness are sufficient, organisations in Worcester City have begun to work together from one Homeless Forum which works towards shared goals*. This Forum was first suggested in 2015 by the Cardon Banfield Foundation's predecessor organisation to help services see the benefit of working together for the best outcome of the people who need support.
The Worcester Model doesn't prioritise one organisation over another but rather understands that each service has a certain role to play in dealing with homelessness. It's important to note that duplication in a service for people who are homeless is not always a negative thing, because demand may warrant more of the same.
The key services which the Model mandates are; service user voice, doctor/GP, mental health, substance misuse, housing, outreach, benefit/Job Centre, housing associations, LGBT services, hostels/foyers, street kitchens, day centres, Council and Citizens Advice. Depending on the area and needs other services may include probation, religious groups and business leaders.
Each local area will have different priorities in regards to tackling the issue of homelessness and this may mean their primary aim is to reduce rough sleeping whilst the city next to it may need to prioritise building affordable homes. The Worcester Model is an approach to working which is flexible to the needs of the area, rather than the services being the same.
After the release of the Worcestershire Safeguarding Thematic Review, (opens a new window) a number of recommendations were suggested including an information sharing database with the main focus being safeguarding. The Forum is seen as the central point to the design and implementation of joined-up homelessness services. You can see our response to the Thematic Review here.
This Model is currently being developed further by agencies in Worcester in light of the Thematic Review and is supported by the Cardon Banfield Foundation.
The 'Worcester Model' recently received national media exposure through an article in The Big Issue magazine: https://www.bigissue.com/opinion/we-must-work-together-to-prevent-homeless-deaths-on-britains-streets/.
* Find out more about the work of Worcester's Homeless Forum called 'Worcester Cares' here.