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I, Daniel Blake

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British director Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival.

As he accepted the award for his film about a middle-aged widower and the UK welfare system Loach attacked the “dangerous project of austerity”.

Interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme he said:

“Dealing with a cruel bureaucracy is something that crosses borders.  People understand the frustration of being constantly trapped by call centres, by people who won’t give you the help you need and facing a bureaucracy that is out to deny you what you feel is your right . . . is something we all understand.”

Interviewer: “You were famous 50 years ago for ‘Cathy Come Home’ which ultimately affected policy, is that something you are still hoping to do with the films you make?”

“I think we have to look again at this whole cruel sanctions and benefits system which is out to tell the poor that their poverty is their own fault and if they don’t have a job its because they are incompetent or useless, I think there is a despair and an anger for people who are facing this and those who are trying to support them.  The fact that we now accept food banks as part of our National scene, its there and its accepted . . this is really unacceptable!”

Interviewer: “There is huge public support for what the Government has done, the polls suggest that there is very strong popular support, not least for the benefit cap.  Do you think . .” interrupted

“Maybe because people listen to the Today programme too much.  If you had to get out amongst the people who are in the food banks, who are supporting those who are there, people who would not eat unless there were people providing charity, if you had to choose between the heating and food, I think you’d find that there’s a great disgust and despair that we live like that in this country now.”

 

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Inspiring Change Manchester is an innovative approach to supporting those with multiple needs.  Led by Shelter, it is an eight-year programme, funded through Big Lottery Fund’s £112m Fulfilling Lives project.  ICM has been designed and developed with service users to meet the diverse requirements of people with a variety of multiple and complex needs (including a history of problem drug and alcohol use, mental health or emotional well-being issues, accommodation problems and offending).

The programme works with individuals who are disengaged from services and aims to break down barriers that can prevent these people from leading fulfilling lives.  It does this by delivering the right range of services at the right time.  ICM is not an additional; replicating work that other organisations do every day across the city.  Instead, the programme works alongside people experiencing multiple and complex needs and in partnership with organisations and communities.  ICM has comes from an asset based approach; recognising strengths, focussing people on services that can make a difference and by reengaging people with support that they may have lost touch with.

Our programme has four outcomes;

  • Manchester residents with three or more complex needs have improved health, wellbeing, housing, employability and reduced re-offending and these outcomes are sustainable,
  • Manchester residents with multiple and complex needs have more opportunities for involvement in the services they need, and influence on decisions that affect them,
  • Services share more information and better coordinate interventions for people with multiple and complex needs
  • Commissioning of mainstream services respond to project learning, funding cost-effective evidence based
    interventions for people with multiple and complex needs.

In the first two years, working across four different areas (mental health, substance use, criminal justice and homelessness) has given the programme a great insight into how experiencing more than one area of need can exacerbate issues around isolation and other disengagement from services.  More specifically, ICM has learned about the issues affecting people experiencing multiple and complex needs in Manchester.

Each Fulfilling Lives project runs in two-year business cycles, offering an opportunity to refresh and revise things in response to learning or external changes. Learning from the first phase of the programme has guided our planning for the next two years and, on 1 April 2016, Inspiring Change Manchester began their next two-year business cycle with 20 priorities that they intend to achieve in the next two years. Here are just some of the priorities and new initiatives for the next two years:

  • A new peer mentoring model, bringing people with lived experience into the heart of delivery.
  • The launch of a Housing First pilot for people with long-term, entrenched homelessness issues.
  • A stronger focus on health and mental health.
  • Greater use of mobile technology.
  • Building on the ‘Women’s Voices’ work already started to develop better approaches to working with women with multiple needs.
  • Evolving ICM’s Flexible Fund to bring about a greater focus on personalisation and personal budgets.
  • Stronger links with small and grassroots organisations.
  • A specific offer for Eastern European nationals and other economic migrants.
  • Taking co-production to the next stage by strengthening the programme’s Core Group and looking at it becoming independent.

Paul Pandolfo
Programme Manager, Inspiring Change Manchester, Shelter

 

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