New Horizons (Teesside) is a not for profit Mental Health Charity, located in Middlesbrough, England
Providing care to those suffering from issues of Mental Health/Learning Diffuculties since 1972
New Horizons (Teesside) began in 1972 by two student nurses, whilst training at St. Luke’s Hospital, they realised that very little help or support was available in the community for those being discharged. Thus they formed a voluntary group to help patients once they were discharged back into the community; this idea caught the imagination of staff at St. Luke’s Hospital and the hospital itself.
Long before “Care in the Community” was a phrase that slipped into everyday use, this group of Health Workers were implementing all that it stands for. They realised the situation at their hospital reflected what was actually happening in the rest of the country and decided to extend their work. It was on this basis that ‘Cleveland Mental Health Support Group’ was born – growing slowly, quietly and confidently over the years.
The founding members were; Nurses Mr. John Gellatly and Mr. George Testo.
New Horizons (Teesside)’s Executive Committee and Volunteer Forces consist of local people, concerned about those with mental health problems / learning diffivulties and their carers in their local community. We endeavour to influence the provision of high quality mental health care and services for the Teesside Community, the key activities are;
- Supported Housing
- Floating Support
New Horizons (Teesside) provide supported housing to adults aged 18 years and over, with mental health and/or learning disability issues who wish to live independently in the community, but still need a degree of support to enable them to do this successfully. Our properties are dispersed in town centre areas, provided by local housing associations, which we fully furnish and the tenant holds an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, our aim is to provide permanent homes for those tenants wishing to stay in their property once our support is withdrawn.
Through research, New Horizons (Teesside) acknowledged that great stress and anxiety was been caused to clients who were in homes or hostels where they were expected to leave once they were deemed able to manage their own tenancy. Often this meant little or no support was offered for any significant length of time and were placed into properties without any furnishings. Sadly, in many cases this led to relapses in their mental health – hence the name ‘revolving door syndrome’. In 1995, using this research, New Horizons (Teesside) supported living scheme was born.
Each client is allocated a Floating Support Officer who will visit them in their homes on a regular basis, as often as required until the client feels confident in their new home. The visits will then drop to once a week but extra visits can be reinstated at any time until the process of withdrawal begins. The Floating Support Officer, working closely with the care team, will assist them with all aspects of independent living including but not limited to housing management, such as welfare and housing benefit applications, managing their household finances, establishing links, social skill, seeking employment or voluntary work etc. all with the view of empowering the client to sustain a tenancy in their own right. With the landlord’s consent this usually leads to a direct tenancy.
New Horizons (Teesside) also operates a floating support service which offers one-to-one support to people recovering from ental health problems / learning Difficulties living independently in the community, across all tenures. This service is adaptable across all levels of support needs.
Our aim is to assist and address our clients and member’s needs - developing their self-esteem, helping them to gain confidence, motivation and assertiveness to enable them to be part of the community. Our support officers help the clients in filling in various benefit application forms. Support is also given with regard to budgeting, should the individual require this as well as support with any problems with regard to utilities, debt and other accounts.
The support officer also liaises with the relevant housing association with regard to any repairs or other problems that may arise. A strong working relationship is maintained between the client, the social/key worker and our support officer. Support being the operative word – we are always available when needed, if not in person, then we are only at the end of a telephone, where there is usually someone available during office hours and the answering machine can be used to leave a message after hours and at weekends.