This service is led by a group of people with lived experience of mental health problems who passionately believe that people can recover their well being and self esteem through service to others. From their experience of being the recipients of services, they noted that a lot of the written material was complicated and hard to read, leaving some of them feeling disempowered and confused. They wanted to challenge this so that everyone would have equal access to the information relevant to them.
The Easy Read service aims to reduce social isolation in Lewisham Borough by Lewisham residents regularly meeting and working together. The service offers access to structured activity, training and work opportunities and is service user led. This gives people a sense of ownership, leadership and improves self-esteem, linking directly to improving mental health outcomes.
They aim to translate documents that are not only information based, but also promote access to arts projects.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Currently clients within adult services in Lewisham don't always have access to the information they require in a format they can read. In response to recent NHS Information Standard, it will become a legal requirement for all adult social care and NHS services to provide information in a format that is accessible.
Our service is commissioned by Turning Point and the NHS to support a client group with mental health needs in the borough of Lewisham. With the support of staff, the clients of this service set out to create a social enterprise. The key goal was to give everyone the opportunity to engage in purposeful activity, which is shown to demonstrably improve mental health and social outcomes.
From clients' own experiences of hard to read official documents, they came up with the idea to provide an Easy Read service. They also sought to promote access to the arts through Easy Read translations in order to support the link between improved mental health and creativity.
Steps to get it done:
This project has two distinct groups of beneficiaries. The recipients of the Easy Read translations (adults with learning or literacy difficulties) are empowered to make decisions about health and legal choices and enables them to access the arts.
The other group are those who translate the documents into Easy Read format. This group consists of mental health service users who have offending histories. This often socially excluded group will be able to access structured and meaningful activity in Lewisham Borough to develop their marketable skills and enhance self esteem and mental health. The Good Lives Model informs forensic mental health services, as research into this model has shown that meaningful and purposeful activity has a demonstrable impact on improved mental health and reduction of reoffending. It will also have a positive impact on social functioning and the development of interpersonal skills. In combination, this project will tackle social isolation for both groups.
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