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We go behind the scenes at Calderdale Council’s ‘shop front’ social work service.


Calderdale Council’s community social work practice has set up a new ‘shop front’ service that is already making the team more accessible to the local community. We catch up with Iain Baines, Head of Adult Social Care (DASS), at Calderdale to find out more.

What are the benefits of introducing the service?

There are two strands to the service, which are focused on prevention and wellbeing. The first is the strengths-based approach, which we have been using for over two years. This is where we focus on what people can do as opposed to what they are unable to do. We have a team of skilled social workers who advise and support people to remain in control and resilient whilst they gain confidence as to how to manage their care and support needs. The social workers were based in our council offices until we opened

Using a strengths-based approach saw the team achieve 75% diversion from traditional routes of social care.



The second strand to the service is accessibility, which we have now been able to achieve with the shop. We operate without any eligibility criteria and our social workers are available immediately to support people face-to-face. People, therefore, receive a much quicker service. 

How does it compare to last year’s smaller-scale pilot?

Better Lives at No.42 has been open for a few weeks and the number of people coming into the shop is increasing.  The outcomes are consistent with those we experienced whilst still operating from our council office. The team receives between 200 and 250 referrals per month, and we aim to see people within a week of being referred. 



This is encouraging as it means we are reaching more people and helping them sooner due to our accessibility.

Are there plans for expansion?

Yes, this has been our intention from the outset. We aim to open hubs in other parts of Calderdale during Autumn\Winter 2017, based around market premises like Better Lives at No 42. Calderdale is made up of market towns, so this feels like a good model to maintain.

To read more interesting articles such as this one, check out a range of issues of Sanctuary Social Work News here.

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