Southport councillors Janis Blackburne, Jen Corcoran and Carran Waterfield met with Andrew Marsden, the recently appointed new Area Manager for New Start, a Housing and Social Care provider based in the North West, to hear more about the services they provide.
New Start provides support and residential care services for vulnerable men and women.
The two leg visit started at their Leyland Road premises which hosts residents from 18-35 who are in need of support for a range of reasons.
Some young adults are care leavers, others have had a breakdown of their family or relationship. The range of circumstances and needs may be broad, but there is a consistent and developed commitment to providing support.
The Labour councillors met with one of the Complex Needs Support Workers, Alex Baynes. She has been with New Start for some years, being trained to NVQ Level 3 whilst in the role.
Cllr Jennifer Corcoran said: “It was clear speaking with Alex and Andrew that they take pride in their work. They network effectively with a range of fellow professionals and community resources to make sure everyone who needs their help gets the appropriate support.
“Some people need urgent and high level attention, others need a safe space to regroup before returning to independent living. New Start offers support for all of this, and the team knows that these needs can fluctuate too.
“As restrictions are lifting, Andrew is pursuing a number of improvements to the property and connected buildings to serve the community and offer the highest standard to those using them for safety and for pride. We were able to see them as they are now and look forward to what is sure to be an excellent transformation.
“One of the buildings is in the process of being transformed into a gym which will be of significant benefit to users. Andrew has already enlisted pledges of support from Crossfit ASG, the gym he attends on Russell Road in Southport, and will be able to accept donations of good quality equipment in the coming months. If you have anything suitable please email Cllr Blackburne at: email@example.com”
Since the visit, Cllr Waterfield has already offered her support in this area. She described the visit as inspiring and has since actioned a swift request for immediate attention to necessary repairs to the building and outside areas which is being acted upon by the Riverside Group.
The group then moved on to the second leg of their visit, to Leicester Street in the centre of town. This branch provides services to individuals aged 18 and over who have complex needs around homelessness.
During the first lockdown in 2020, there was an immediate need to accommodate people in town who had no fixed abode.
The New Start team leapt to action, working with the Bold Hotel staff and then going on to secure the Leicester Street premises which are currently undergoing renovation.
Here they met with Project Manager Hannah Blundell and CEO of New Start Neil Baynes.
Councillor Corcoran said: “Whilst walking around the property, it was clear that the standard is really high. The residents had been developing baking skills that morning and would give Bake Off a run for its money.
“It was also delightful to meet the office cat, Paddy as well as seeing drawings adorning the walls done by talented service users.”
If you want to know more check out their website www.newstarthomes.org.uk, contact New Start, or contact any of your councillors for advice and signposting. You may need help, or you may be someone who can offer your time and services to this worthwhile resource.