about connection - Connection Floating Support

Connection exists to work flexibly with people struggling to create a home and live
independently, by building confidence, exploring resources and developing skills
What is the aim of Connection?
 The aim of Connection is to provide a flexible, home visit based service to people over the
age of 16 living in local authority, housing association, owner occupied or private rented
accommodation, who are not in receipt of appropriate support from family, friends or care
providing agency, and who are in need of such support. The work now includes
substantial work with parents although the main focus of our work has traditionally been
with single people.
 The support is ‘floating’ in two senses: it moves from property to property according to
who needs it, and it varies in intensity according to each person’s level and type of need.
We do not provide a housing management or allocation service (although we have a role
in the allocation of properties in some projects), but work with people where support is
vital to prevent homelessness or more acute care intervention.
Service Developments
 Connection started with a generic floating support scheme in Oxford in 1995. In 2007
and again in 2012 Connection secured the contract to deliver generic floating support in
Oxfordshire and the new contract which started March 2013 sees Connection as the
single provider across Oxfordshire. This contract includes work with med/high risk
offenders with a rent deposit scheme for Oxford City. Since October 2013 we have
supported offenders in the Gresham Project in partnership with Oxhop.
 The Bucks Floating Support Service is a partnership between Connection and Bromford
Support won in a tender process in 2007. The Connection team comprises an
administrator, and operations manager (with responsibility across the partnership), a team
manager and 6 front line workers. The service was fully operational with effect from
1/10/07. This is a generic service which welcomes referrals from people with a wide
range of support needs. The service builds on Connection’s well established and valued
work since 2000 as part of local provision in Bucks. Connection’s work in Bucks includes
a dispersed housing project in Wycombe (more details below).
 Connection won the tender to provide generic floating support in Milton Keynes. This
project started on 4th January 2010. This project reduced in size in 2013, but we were
very pleased that the threatened closure of the project did not take place.
 In 2011 we secured a tender to provide Mental Health Floating Support to people with
serious and enduring mental health issues across Oxfordshire as part of the Support to
Independent Living (SIL) Pathway.
 The Connection Outreach Service operates in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire working
with rough sleepers to help them find settled accommodation since January 2013.
 The Community Practice Workers in Bucks are based in Primary Health Care and deliver
preventative support. This started in June 2013.
 Connection developed a Volunteers initiative in 2011.
 Connection also operates a dispersed housing project in Wycombe and a similar project
in Banbury. These projects provide temporary (up to 18 months) accommodation with
people who have substance misuse/offending issues, giving support and encouragement
to access treatment and establish new lifestyles with an appropriate network of support in
their local community. Some move-on routes have been negotiated with relevant District
Who uses the service?
 The project provides services according to need rather than groups with ‘labels’. We are,
however, working with a wide range of people including young people who have been in
care and/or homeless, people with mental health support needs, older people and those
with previous or current addiction or offending problems. Connection works within a
recognition that these groups are traditionally marginalised in communities, and
sometimes stigmatised.
 We target our work to those people who are at risk of losing their housing or of not coping
and where there is a lack of available support. Thus there is a significant “preventative”
aspect to the work. Connection accepts referrals from statutory and voluntary agencies,
and also accepts self referrals.
What kind of support is offered?
 The scope of the team’s one-to-one work is focussed on housing related support and
ranges from providing direct support (e.g. benefits and money management advice, or
encouragement around daytime activities), through advocacy (e.g. with a landlord), to
brokerage with statutory services (e.g. to get support from Social Services, a welfare
rights adviser or their G.P.). Support is delivered and monitored through a plan agreed
between the worker and the service user. We usually start off by seeing people weekly,
and then drop down to fortnightly or monthly with use of access points in some areas.
Continuity and flexibility, however, are high priorities, so contact could be less, although
contact is required where support is linked to tenancy. There is some follow up after
closure and people can contact us again after a break if they need to.
 Connection aims to help people to assert control not just in their own home, but in the
home of their neighbourhood, estate etc. Whilst our core work is one-to-one based, we
are sometimes involved in wider community issues and support, where appropriate, the
development of self-help networks and groups which will maximise people’s chances of
successful long term independent living.
How is Connection organised?
 Connection Oxford is a company with charitable status. There is a Board comprised of
people with backgrounds in housing, social care and business. The Chief Executive
reports to the Board, and manages the Operational Managers and most of the
Administration roles. Team Managers report to the Operational Managers, and manage
the Support Workers and the Senior Support Workers.
Diversity and Equal Opportunities
 Connection Oxford is working towards equal opportunities both in employment and
service delivery. We are committed to ensuring that the organisation does not
discriminate on grounds of race, sex, being lesbian or gay, disability, dependants, age,
class, HIV status, religion or unrelated criminal conviction.
 Connection recognises also that in principle commitments are not enough in themselves
to bring about change; and that in striving to achieve genuine fair treatment for all, it is
vital to integrate working with diversity best practice into all areas of the project’s work.
February 2014