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Link Worker Case Study

SOAR's Social Prescribing Link Workers start the conversation and make referrals to other organisations or members of SOAR who can offer the appropriate help and guidance. The team triage referrals and carry out assessments over the phone or face-to-face, to find out how we can help and then use that information to signpost to a service who can best meet those needs.

Read on to hear how Margaret, one of our Link Workers, helped support someone who was referred to us as homeless.

*name changed to protect identity

Adam is originally from Sheffield and has family here, but had been living elsewhere with his partner before the relationship broke down. He found that he was very lonely which lead to a downturn in his mental health.

He moved back to Sheffield for stability and to be close to his mum who was in poor health. He was temporarily staying with her in a one-bed flat in a supported living complex, but had also brought his car back with him. This arrangement was only meant to be for a few weeks as Adam was registered with Sheffield City Council for housing, but six months later his situation hadn’t changed and he was sleeping between his car and his mum’s couch.

Adam disclosed that this meant his mental health had taken another hit and he was starting to feel as if he no longer wanted to be here. He was also struggling financially and not claiming any benefits other than SSP but assured Margaret he would either make a claim or get a job once his housing was sorted.

Margaret was able to help work out what stage Adam's housing application was, submit a duty to refer to Sheffield City Council, signpost to Shelter's drop-ins for information and guidance, and helped signpost to Sheffield Mental Health Support Services too.

Margaret acted as a cheerleader for Adam and encouraged him to be calm and resilient in his approach. She encouraged Adam to access mental health support and forwarded the details of Sheffield support again to ensure he had them to hand.

Margaret encouraged Adam to call in to Wellbeing Wednesday for a cuppa and a distraction, which he did and was able to speak to Patrick (SOAR's Mental Health Peer Support Worker) who offered excellent support with his emotional wellbeing as well as some additional advice on housing.

Adam finally learnt that his account had been sanctioned and his banding downgraded due to failing to submit his paperwork and ID when requested. This dated back to when he got in touch with Sheffield City Council to advise he was moving back to Sheffield and needed to apply for social housing. It transpired that SCC had sent the request to the wrong email! Once sorted, Adam forwarded all the correct documents within 24 hours and his banding increased to Band D quickly. He now felt motivated to access the website regularly and bid.

Adam let Margaret know he had been matched to a flat and had a viewing booked. Margaret asked if he wanted her to go with him but he felt okay to look himself. He accepted the flat and was moving in the following week!

As Adam had very little furniture, Margaret arranged for a sofa, chair, bedding and curtains to be delivered from St Vincent’s. He had managed to pick up a cheap cooker and fridge-freezer from Facebook Marketplace.

Adam confirmed that he was able to make a claim for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit himself and was actively starting to look for work.

Adam fed back that the support and guidance he received from Patrick and Margaret in terms of suggesting which services to go to and what questions to ask had been “spot on”.  He went on to say that without our support he might have given up and still been homeless.

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