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Connecting People Newsletter

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Connecting People Newsletter December 2012



to the first Connecting People Newsletter! The Connecting People Study has been around for two years now. During this time the team has embraced technology to deliver regular blog updates on progress with our research.

Meet the Connecting People Team...

However, it was felt that a newsletter would be a great new way of reaching out to people and providing updates on the work we are doing and the work we have coming up. Our next issue for example will provide details on the recruitment process for the Study and give feedback from the interviews which have taken place so far.

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With this in mind we hope that you enjoy the December 2012 Connecting People Newsletter. If you have any questions or want advice on any of the matters raised here please feel free to contact us.

The Connecting People Model…

We also welcome your feedback on items you would like to see in future issues of the newsletter. Contact details for the team can be found on page 7 of the newsletter. -The Connecting People Study Team 1|P a g e

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Our Work So Far… Page 4 - 5

Connecting People Newsletter

Meet the Team‌ Martin Webber is a Reader in Social Work at the University of York and a registered social worker. His research interests are in social inclusion, social capital and mental health social work, with a particular interest in the development and evaluation of interventions that improve social, as well as clinical, outcomes. He is co-editor of Reflective Practice in Mental Health: Advanced Psychosocial Practice with Children, Adolescents and Adults (Jessica Kingsley, 2010, with Jack Nathan) and author of Evidence-based Policy and Practice in Mental Health Social Work (2nd edition, Learning Matters, 2011), both aimed at supporting the professional development of advanced social work practitioners. Martin is Principal Investigator on the Connecting People study and you can find out more about him and his work on his blog. Email: Telephone: 01904 321203

Meredith Newlin, Msc, BS is a Research Fellow and PhD candidate at the University of York and based full time in the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London. With degrees in child development (University of Minnesota- Twin Cities) and health psychology (University College London and King’s College London), Meredith has previously worked on research projects related to family interventions for youth offenders and the impact of risk perceptions on sexual health behaviour. She also serves on the Board of Directors for an African development organisation. These experiences led to her strong interest in supporting strategic efforts that empower individuals within community-based health and social care. Meredith is involved in the piloting of the intervention, working closely with many of the agencies. Email: Telephone: 0207 848 1861

Sharon Howarth, MSc, BS is a Senior Research Assistant at the School of Health, University of Central Lancashire. She has a background in psychology, with a focus on sport and exercise psychology and is interested in how sport and exercise initiatives can enhance the well-being of individuals and communities. Sharon has conducted a systematic review looking at interventions that promote the social participation and well-being of adults with a learning disability or mental health problem which is due to be published shortly. Sharon is involved with piloting the intervention, facilitating training sessions with different agencies and conducting interviews with new referrals to the agencies. Email: Telephone: 01772 895536

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Connecting People Newsletter

Meet the Team… David Morris PhD, BA, CQSW, DASS, FRSA, is Professor of Mental Health, Inclusion and Community in the School of Health, University of Central Lancashire where he is also Director of the Inclusion Institute. He holds a Visiting Academic Associate post in the Health Service and Population Research Department of the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London. He was Director of the cross – government National Social Inclusion Programme (2004-2009) at the National Institute for Mental Health in England. David has founded and led a number of programmes in the field of inclusion and health equalities and contributes widely both nationally and internationally in a range of advisory and consultative roles to the development of policy and practice on social inclusion such as the new Inclusion Health programme at the Department of Health. Email: Telephone: 0207 307 2448 Ian Norris is a Senior Administrative Assistant at the School of Health, University of Central Lancashire. He has a large amount of experience and knowledge in this area having worked in different administrative roles since 2001. The majority of his work has been at Local Government level with posts held at Lancashire County Council and most recently Sheffield City Council. Ian’s role is to provide administrative support throughout the duration of the Connecting People Study, including managing interview schedules of participants and creating bespoke training materials for the agencies involved to use within their teams. Email: Telephone: 01772 895532

Hannah Reidy is a Research Fellow in the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London. She has a background in both commercial and psychological research, but most recently worked as a Social Inclusion Worker for a mental health charity. She is currently setting up a group for under 35 year olds with mental health problems that aims to link them back into activities within the mainstream community. These experiences gave her insider knowledge of how the intervention will need to run in order to be maximally effective. She conducted the bulk of the fieldwork for the latter half of original Connecting People project, as well as pulling together all of the findings to form the Practice Guidance document that acts as the manual for the intervention. Email: Telephone: 0207 848 1769

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In a nutshell… “In a Nut shell” The model The Connecting People Intervention is a way of working that helps users of health and social care services to make new connections beyond these services. Many of its elements can already be found in routine health and social care practice. Its originality lies in utilising individuals’ strengths to co-produce activities and codefine outcomes. New social connections arise as a by-product of engaging in this process. The model depicts the dynamic process of the intervention – it is not a traditional linear model of a worker ‘doing’ and an individual ‘receiving’. The aim is to get the green and blue wheels - representing the cycle of discovery for both worker and individual - to turn in tandem. The shared processes in the centre of the model further describe the co-production that lies at the heart of the intervention. Life isn’t straightforward, and therefore barriers to new social connections being formed are depicted by wheels turning against the worker and individual – they must overcome these in order to be successful. The agency underpins the entire intervention process, forming the strong base and community knowledge needed for it to work. The pilot study It is increasingly important for mental health service users to develop social relationships and engage in their local communities as care provision diversifies. Health and social care workers have some skills in supporting people

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with this, but there is little evidence about which approaches are the most effective or best value for money. The Connecting People Intervention Study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research, is a multi-site pilot to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Connecting People Intervention model explained above. We aim to engage the social structures that impose barriers for accessing social capital and develop individual capacity to build relationships. This approach will address social exclusion by challenging the local community to connect with marginalised and stigmatised individuals. We currently have more than 15 sites across England piloting the intervention and aim to recruit 240 participants to the study.

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What we’ve done in the last 3 months Training Activities We are in the midst of training 18 agencies in the Connecting People Intervention for the Pilot Study. The agencies are diverse, ranging from small third sector social enterprises to large NHS Mental Health Trusts. Yet across all sites there has been a unifying message that the model accurately reflects current practice and equally illuminates both the areas where workers excel in enhancing social participation with individuals and the current challenges that are faced by health and social care workers. We have found that each agency team is unique in their approach to working within the model and therefore our training sessions have been greatly adapted to fit the strengths and needs of each agency. From our discussions with social workers, community psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists, community development workers and support time and recovery workers, we are gaining a better understanding of how the CPI model fits into existing practice. The feedback thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, with most workers affirming that the model largely describes the work they are currently doing.

What others think… Martin spoke recently to Griff Jones, Social Care Lead and Approved Mental Health Professional in Derby City Council, about his experience with the study. He writes about this here. You can read the full article and many more relevant posts on Martin’s blog – take a look!

“In choosing to participate in the study, I felt that it dovetailed very well with the move towards self-directed support and would help social care colleagues to be able to use a model which would guide and inform their practice. I was particularly attracted to the partnership approach to work with clients as this also linked into the recovery model in mental health. I feel that the intervention helps to enable social workers to identify what they are able to offer in the field of mental health, particularly in relation to developing and enhancing individuals’ circles of support and looking to link in with community resources. The staff who attended the training have responded very favourably to the intervention, in particular as it has helped them to reflect on what their role is as social care staff working in Mental Health Services.” Martin says – “We are hopeful that the study will help social workers to articulate their role and provide evidence about its outcomes so that reviews and service reconfigurations can be more evidence-based than they appear to be at present”.

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Connecting People Newsletter

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How to contact us… We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our first newsletter. We welcome your questions and feedback about all aspects of the Connecting People Intervention Study (CPIS). If you are an agency involved in the piloting of the Connecting People Intervention and have a query for the research team or wish to comment on any of our study materials please email us at

A member of our research team will respond to your email within one working day. Thank you FOR MORE INFORMATION

Coming soon in Issue 2…  Recruitment to the study  Feedback from Interviews  Discussions of the process with agencies

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Issue 1 Connecting People Newsletter  
Issue 1 Connecting People Newsletter  

The first issue of the Connecting People Newsletter. This provides information about the Connecting People Team, the work they are doing and...