The Family Support Worker service has been in operation since 2002. It was initially set up with support from Royal Mencap to provide information and advice to families and carers of children and adults with learning disabilities. However, after Royal removed their funding of the project, it evolved into a service providing a lot more support and not just information. This was achieved due to the needs and wants of the local learning disabled population.
Anyone caring for someone with a learning disability based in Southend, Rochford, Rayleigh or Castle Point can use this service and it is free of charge.
The service offers support, advice, information and guidance to people with learning disabilities and their families and carers to ensure they have access to services that is their right to have. People with learning disabilties are a vulnerable section of the population and, as such, their families and carers find it difficult to obtain services that would otherwise be available. This is where the family support worker fits in as she provides that bridge between the authorities controlling the services and the families of people with learning disabilities.
Using a wealth of knowledge and expertise, the family support worker supports families across a wide range of issues such as health care, social care, leisure and benefits to name a few. She also provides support to the families at meetings with authority figures to ensure their needs are met and not disregarded or even dismissed.
Currently, in the Southend area, this project is unique and has been since it’s introduction. Although there are a few advocacy services within the area, this is the only project that has the needs and wants of the families of people with learning disabilities as it’s primary objective.
The family support worker also works closely with both Southend and Essex Social Services teams to ensure that knowledge and information is kept up to date. As well as individual referrals from previous clients, social services will also refer families under their remit to the family support worker.
Funding for the project has historically been tricky to secure but due to it’s demand and success the society has ensured the project remained open. Happily, Southend Mencap can report that with effect from 1st April 2014 the project will be funded by Essex Mencap for a period of three years taking us right through until the end of March 2017. This is an amazing level of support being provided by Essex Mencap and we are immensley grateful to them for their support to the project, which has guaranteed it’s financial security for the foreseeable future.
To make a referral to the family support worker and enquire about how she can help, please contact her on (01702) 334514 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org