What we do

Approach

network planning

The work of Neighbourhood Networks is based on a unique model called “Living Support Networks”. This is a model that delivers support flexibly and responsively to a group of some nine people who live within a reasonable distance of one another. Each Network is facilitated by a part-time Community Living Worker recruited from the local neighbourhood and available during the day, evenings and weekends. Support is then negotiated, based on the needs of individuals and the group, and the availability of the Community Living Worker and the Network Manager, who works full-time and typically covers three Network Areas.

Distinctiveness

The approach of Neighbourhood Networks emphasises the importance of providing preventative models of support, and opportunities for mutual support, to vulnerable people who might otherwise receive no support at all and thereby run the risk of entering significant and costly, but nonetheless avoidable crises in their lives.
As a result, the distinctive features of Neighbourhood Networks are:
  • its unique approach; 
  • its emphasis on relatively inexpensive prevention and the avoidance of unnecessarily expensive critical intervention; 
  • its focus on the capacity of vulnerable people to provide each other with support at times of difficulty or need; and 
  • its roots in notions of the renewal of neighbourhoods and wider communities as places where people don’t just share the same streets but actively co-operate with each other for mutual advantage.
In addition, Neighbourhood Networks is keen to explore possibilities for the diversification of the model to include the development of support networks of people with labels of vulnerability other than “learning disability”, and the development of networks of people with varying labels of vulnerability.

Involvement of Members

The organisation has a very strong “member involvement” ethos, as evidenced by
  • the active participation of Members as Trustees on the Management Board
  • the work of members in the role of advocate and Quality Street
  • the regular publication of Members’ Newsletters etc. 
There is also an AGM Working Group and Improvement Council where members and staff collaborate. In addition, Neighbourhood Networks recently undertook a “REACH” evaluation (2008).
 
Members are keen to have more involvement in their communities and are actively speaking out and advocating for their citizenship rights.  In 2008, work was completed on a Charter of Rights for members. This was developed by members in Networks across Scotland.

Responsiveness

The unique model of Neighbourhood Networks ensures a flexible and responsive service to members of Networks. In addition to the work of a locally-based Community Living Worker available during the day, evenings and weekends support is provided by a Network Manager who oversees the work of three networks. The Network Manager’s core hours are Monday to Friday 9 to 5 but they may also work flexibly at times dependant on the needs of the individual or the Network.
 
There is also an out-of-hours message service for members which operates in the evenings and weekends until 11pm, including all public holidays. All managerial staff providing the out-of-hours service have access to core information on all members and can offer telephone support where people need this.