City Ambition Network
The City Ambition Network (CAN) is a partnership of the Simon Community, Glasgow City Mission, The Marie Trust, Turning Point Scotland and Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership. CAN is focused on some of the city's most vulnerable and excluded homeless people working creatively to stick with people through the most challenging of life's journeys.
The initiative is not only a close collaboration between agencies but between senior staff, front-line workers and service users. The challenge is to transform expectations and the lives of those people where hope is in short supply.
Helping the most vulnerable
The City Ambition Network (CAN) was formed in 2015 by Glasgow City Mission, Simon Community Scotland and The Marie Trust. We had the simple belief that by working together, we could improve services for people relying on us. We shared a common vision that no one in Glasgow should ever need to sleep rough and behind that was a desire to put people at the heart of our services. That meant finding ways of working with people who really struggled to accept the help that is on offer and just couldn’t meet the expectations of services in Glasgow. It wasn’t long before the Health and Social Care Partnership – Glasgow City Council, and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde – came on board opening doors to resources, systems and networks that were critical to offer the right kind of help for these extremely vulnerable people. More recently, Turning Point Scotland have made a welcome addition to the network.
Real solutions, not just responding to crisis
Many of the people we were talking about circulated between prison, hospital, rough sleeping and emergency or temporary accommodation, and had been doing so for years. Staff and services were spending large amounts of time and resources reacting to this chaos – crisis management.
From a cohort of 70 folk we choose 12 of the most chaotic and vulnerable people. The approach was simple: we’d stick with people no matter what, we’d work as a team – from different organisations – to support each other and find solutions, we’d build and use networks to connect people with the resources they needed and we’d provide enough staff to have the right intensity of response that each individual person needed. The inter-agency operational team are given support and authority from our organisations to find solutions, push the boundaries and do things that work for people.
It has been fantastic to see the compassion, determination and resolve of the CAN Key Workers. Importantly, the people that we’re supporting have a really strong sense of being cared about in ways they haven't experienced for a long time.
There remains a level of chaos amongst those being helped by CAN, but on engagement, health status, accommodation, incidents and risks, there have been significant improvements.
The people supported by CAN have many, many years of homelessness, substance misuse and trauma. For some it may take as many years again to enable them to find real hope and to see and experience a safe, secure and happy life.
Following the successful CAN pilot, more staff are being dedicated to the approach. A three year grant from Oak Foundation means we can expand and evidence the work of the team.
CAN were crowned winners in the Silo-Buster category of the Scottish Social Services Awards in June 2018. It was an honour to be recognised for our ground-breaking model of working, breaking down barriers between organisations so that our clients receive the best possible service.