A new initiative aimed at helping vulnerable individuals has been launched in Mid and East Antrim.
The ‘Support Hub’ will bring together multiple agencies including Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Department of Justice, PSNI, NIFRS and other statutory agencies, to help people get the right support.
The framework involves representatives from various agencies meeting regularly to discuss individuals in their local community who may require support and working out how those agencies can then work together to provide the best help for that person.
Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy said: “This is about a collaborative working approach to help the most vulnerable in our society.
“This shows council’s commitment to helping support and empower our citizens, building stronger and sustainable communities as a result.”
Ms Donaghy added that the initiative forms part of the council’s Community Plan ‘Putting People First’.
“This is exactly what we want to do, improve the life of our citizens by putting them at the heart of this truly joined up approach to meet the needs and improve services for people in Mid and East Antrim,” she added.
Explaining how the process works, PSNI Superintendent Davy Beck, said: “Each agency in the hub identifies vulnerable persons or a family unit and shares what relevant information they have with the other partners.
“This helps create a full picture of their particular circumstances. By doing this, all agencies can work together so that early interventions are identified and implemented to reduce a person’s vulnerability and improve their wellbeing.”
Supt. Beck said that the learning from other pilot schemes is that “it’s often the simple and low cost interventions that work the best”.
“In order to identify these interventions, information has to be shared and discussed between various partners in the Hub so that vulnerable people and groups get the right help for their particular circumstances,” he added.
Steven McCourt, the Department of Justice’s Head of Community Safety Division, added: “At the heart of this scheme are individuals. Many of them are the most vulnerable people in our communities, men and women who need support.
“Support Hubs help deliver the right support at the right time, from the appropriate agencies to the people who need it most.
“Not only does that work help individuals to improve their personal situation, it can also steer them away from the justice system.”
Mr McCourt added that agencies working together and sharing information is an important component of the draft Programme for Government.
“Support Hubs demonstrate how statutory partners working together can literally change lives for the better,” he said.
He added: “I congratulate everyone who, working together, are now delivering this important service to those in need across Mid and East Antrim.”
It’s hoped the scheme will be rolled out across Northern Ireland over the next year.