New free support service for older people in Sheffield launches

Ivy with her Key Worker Miriam

Ivy with her Key Worker Miriam

A new service that provides free support for people aged 55 and over launches in Sheffield today.

Our LiveWell at Home service offers a range of support on all things related to health and housing. From today anyone in Sheffield will be able to call on them for help with things like feeling lonely, debt advice, moving house and hoarding.

LiveWell at Home also offer support on mental health, help to quit smoking and to cut down on alcohol.

The service was established thanks to £3.3 million of funding from Sheffield City Council and builds on our successful Support 55 project which worked in the North and West of the city.

Specialist Key Workers from the service will be based in communities across Sheffield, and provide appointments at any time and any place – including weekends.

Anyone referred to the service will have access to a free ‘home health check’, which identifies any opportunities to improve life at home, which might include things like aids, adaptations and applying for extra funding.

Saxon Bond, Service Manager for LiveWell at Home said: “We’re really excited to be able to bring a service like this to the whole of Sheffield. South Yorkshire Housing Association already provides a range of services for older people in the area, including Age Better in Sheffield, so we’ve got lots to offer the people of Sheffield – and best of all, it’s free.

“All of us know an older person who could do with a bit of extra support. It might be your parents, grandparents, a friend or even a neighbour, all you need to do is pick up the phone, give us a call and we’ll do the rest, it’s that easy.

“Our support is completely flexible, we can come to your home at a time that suits you best and we’ll listen to what you need and do whatever we can to help.”

If you’d like to find out more about the LiveWell at Home service you can give them a call on 0114 2908 359 or visit their dedicated website at

Whitfield House celebrates 10th anniversary in style

More than sixty people joined us at Whitfield House in Glossop to celebrate the extra care scheme’s 10th anniversary. We were joined by residents, relatives, partners and friends, many of whom have been involved in the service from the beginning, to celebrate the anniversary in style.

There was live music, dancing, food and drink, presentations and the planting of a rose bush to commemorate the special day. Residents also used the anniversary occasion as a chance to host a Macmillan coffee event, which raised a total of £165.30.

Lynne Timothy has worked at Whitfield House from the first day it opened

Lynne Timothy has worked at Whitfield House from the first day it opened

Whitfield House is one of South Yorkshire Housing Association’s Extra Care Schemes. We work in partnership with Derbyshire County Council to support the 45 older people to live independently in their own apartments. It’s a beautiful old building that dates back to the 19th Century and was originally owned by Sir John Wood who was a local mill owner. In 2007 SYHA breathed new life into the building by renovating the old house and constructing a new entrance.

In its 10 year history, Whitfield House has supported many local people in Glossop. Moving to the scheme has given residents a safe place to call home, reduced isolation, helped them to make new friends and develop a whole community of support.

Irene Hunter, the first resident at Whitfield House said: “Ten years ago my landlord suddenly decided to sell the house I was privately renting. Moving here was the light at the end of a very dark tunnel and I couldn’t be happier to call Whitfield House my home. It is a wonderful community where I feel safe and happy.”

Older people from the community who attend day facilities at Whitfield House’s LiveWell Centre also joined in with the celebrations.

David Healy, who has recently started attending three days a week said: “My life has changed for the better since I’ve started coming here. The food is outstanding and the team are all lovely. Best of all – I’m more cheerful, I really am.”

Matthew Reather, Project Lead at Whitfield House said: “When I started working at Whitfield House the first thing I noticed was the great upbeat, vibrant feel from the staff teams.

“Our 10 year anniversary party took a lot of preparation to make the day special but it’s worth it! Seeing customers smiling and laughing is what it’s all about.”

To find out more about Whitfield House and the day services on offer for people living in Glossop call 01457 856 772.


National recognition for five-star kitchen manager

A local kitchen manager has been recognised for his excellent food safety standards at a national awards ceremony.

Glen Biggin, a Community Payback Officer at South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company was named Food Safety Champion at the annual Sodexo Service Excellence awards.

He was singled out for his continued excellence in ensuring all food safety requirements are met at the Turnaround Café at the Westmeads extra care scheme in Royston. The award also recognised the efforts Glen has made to reach a 5 star Food Standards Agency rating for the kitchen.

Run by South Yorkshire Housing Association, the Turnaround Café is run as part of a community payback scheme where offenders on community service prepare and cook hearty hot meals seven days a week for the 60 residents and day service customers at Westmeads.

Glen is now working with Sodexo to develop a qualification for offenders in food safety, which could help them find a job and change their lives for the better.

Glen said: “I’m shocked, I didn’t expect this at all. Working with South Yorkshire CRC has been a wonderful experience, the opportunity to give back to local communities and residents has always been an inspiring role for me.”

Dawn Lomasney, Project Lead at Westmeads said: “We’re so proud of Glen, the residents absolutely love his food – especially his corned beef hash which he is famous for!

“Having food of the highest standard prepared fresh on site really does make a huge difference to the wellbeing of our customers, especially the visitors to our day centre, who struggle to cook for themselves.”

Westmeads extra care scheme provides independent living for people aged 55 and over living in Barnsley, as well as providing day services at their LiveWell Centre.

If you’d like to find out more about places at Westmeads, or about spending the day at the LiveWell Centre, give the team a call on 01226 702030.

1940’s themed event raises money for defibrillator in Glossop

A 1940’s themed fundraising event has helped to raise more than £300 towards a defibrillator at our Whitfield House extra care scheme in Glossop.

The event was attended by people in fancy dress from across the local area who bought cakes, took part in a raffle and made generous donations throughout the day.

Staff and customers with the new defibrillator at Whitfield House

Staff and customers with the new defibrillator at Whitfield House

The defibrillator will provide the residents of Whitfield House and guests at the site’s LiveWell Centre, which provides day services for older people in Glossop, instant access to potentially life-saving equipment.

Staff and customers at the scheme all received basic training on how to use the defibrillator from Val Cochran, a Community Specialist Paramedic from North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Matthew Reather, Project Lead at Whitfield House said: “We’d like to thank everyone who came along to the event for their generosity and support.

“Should the worst happen having a defibrillator on site ready to use will make a huge difference – the chances of surviving cardiac arrest if a defibrillator is used raises survival chances from 5% to 74%

“We’d also like to say a big thank you to Zoe Shaw who runs our armchair exercise class for her extremely kind donation of £415.”

Val Cochrane, Community Specialist Paramedic, said: “It’s fantastic that local people have really got together to get equipped with a life-saving defibrillator.

“Once a patient goes into cardiac arrest there are just a few vital minutes to save their life which is why we really need the help of people in the community to start life-saving CPR as soon as possible even before we have chance to get there to give people the best possible chance of survival.”

To find out more about Whitfield House and the day services on offer for people living in Glossop call 01457 856 772 or visit the LiveWell section of our website.

Christmas comes early for Sheffield Thursday Project

Customers at our Sheffield Thursday Project are set to celebrate Christmas early this year thanks to a generous donation of items from furniture giant IKEA.

Maria Crosby and the team from IKEA hand over the furniture

Maria Crosby and the team from IKEA hand over the furniture

Ahead of the opening of their new Sheffield branch in Summer 2017, IKEA have donated more than £2,000 worth of household items, ranging from home starter packs to lamps, tables and soft furnishings.

The project works with people from across Sheffield who have a history of homelessness and have a variety of other needs, including mental health problems, anti-social behaviour, alcohol and substance misuse.

Working alongside customers the project gives them a safe place to call home, and aims to build up their confidence, teach them life skills and help them to find a permanent place to live. In the last five years over 95% of the people the project has worked with have been able to find and live independently in their own new home.

The news also coincides with our plans to mark the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s landmark homelessness film, ‘Cathy Come Home’. We are running a range of events in the New Year that aim to explore how the issue of homelessness has changed since 1966, and what we can all do to help combat homelessness across the region.

Andrew Laycock, Service Manager at the Sheffield Thursday Project, said: “Most customers don’t have any possessions or funds to purchase even the most basic of items. The furniture will make such a difference to the lives of our customers, and really help them to settle into their new home.

“We can’t thank IKEA enough for their kind donation and we hope to continue our relationship with them for years to come.”

To find out more about the support on offer from the Sheffield Thursday Project, and the other homeless services provided by South Yorkshire Housing Association visit the LiveWell section of our website.

If you’d like to find out more about the Homes for Cathy campaign visit or follow the campaign on Twitter at @HomesforCathySY.

World Refugee Day: Siamak’s story

Siamak was just 18 when he arrived in the UK back in 2014.

He made a two and a half thousand mile trip from Iran in the back of a lorry seeking asylum in the UK. He has no family and spoke no English. He was alone and had nowhere to go.


Siamak outside his flat at The Forge in Barnsley

Taking shelter in a warehouse in Dover Siamak was found and taken to London, sleeping overnight in a church before being picked up by the National Asylum Support Service and taken to Wakefield for an assessment.

Following the assessment Siamak was moved to our Forge project in Barnsley where he was greeted by his key worker Rob.

Siamak’s experience of being self-sufficient back in Iran meant he moved straight into the number 8 flat at The Forge, learning English quickly and adapting to life at The Forge with ease.

“I was very happy there. Everyone helped me, especially my key worker Rob. I felt respected. Before I came to The Forge I would sit all day worrying, crying, thinking what will happen tomorrow? Where will I sleep? They looked after me. I wasn’t alone anymore.”

Although support is offered to young people at The Forge to find employment, Siamak went out on his own to find a job. He found it difficult at first, especially asking for directions, but came back to The Forge one day with a job at a local fish and chip shop.

Siamak and key worker Ailsa

Siamak and key worker Ailsa

With employment secured staff at The Forge helped enlist Siamak onto courses at Barnsley College, enrolling onto English and plumbing courses. He soon moved into his own privately rented accommodation, and with help from his key workers furnished the flat with new carpets and a kitchen.

“Anything I need they help me. They arranged for me to go to College, helped me with my homework and helped me settle in my new flat.”

Despite moving out of the Forge Siamak still pops in regularly to catch up with his key workers and give them updates on his progress. Back in Iran, Siamak was a qualified plumber and could drive to jobs. Now he has to start again and learn his trade in a whole new language.

“I want to qualify as a plumber and learn how to drive. It’s not easy, especially driving on a different side of the road! Now I’m settled in my new life I’m going to start going to the gym and get some muscles!”

“Back in Iran I won medals for wrestling and I would love to wrestle and win medals for the UK. I would also like to keep learning English and maybe one day go to university – perhaps even Oxford! I already speak Kurdish, Farsi and Turkish so hopefully English can be my fourth language.”

You can find out more about the support offered at The Forge by taking a look at our handy project factsheet.

Living well in Sheffield

An Independent Commission looking into out-of-area mental health placements has concluded that the practice of sending mentally ill adults long distances for care is unacceptable and must end.

The report, chaired by former NHS Chief Executive Lord Crisp, recommended phasing out out-of-area treatment by October 2017, and identified flexible housing among its key recommendations.LivingWell

In Sheffield work is already underway to reduce out-of-area mental health placements.

LivingWell is an innovative partnership between South Yorkshire Housing Association and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and offers people with complex mental health needs a home back in Sheffield.

By integrating specialist local mental health and housing support LivingWell enables customers to start their recovery in familiar surroundings. The partnership has resulted in more than 20 mental health service users returning to Sheffield from out of city placements to live independently in their own homes, often for the first time in many years.

Natalie Newman, Sheffield Area Lead at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “By offering vulnerable people the safety and security of their own home we can help build their confidence to live independently. We’ve already been able to support customers to find education, employment or training which plays a vital role in their recovery.

“The LivingWell model isn’t just limited to working with people with mental health needs, it can help people living with learning disabilities, substance misuse and even those fleeing domestic abuse. Housing associations can play a huge role in reducing pressures on local NHS services – LivingWell is just one example of our partnership work.”

Richard Bulmer, Service Director at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our partnership with South Yorkshire Housing Association and the creation of our Community Enhanced Recovery Team (CERT) means that service users who previously would have been sent out of Sheffield for treatment and care, can live in their own homes and receive up to 24 hour care if required – providing a home alternative to hospital admission.

“Our focus is on recovery and the interventions offered by our CERT Team and the LivingWell model are wide ranging, not necessarily within the usual boundaries of health and social care. The feedback we have received from service users and their families has been extremely positive.”

You can find out more about LivingWell by visiting the LiveWell section of the website.

Laying down roots at Oak Close

An innovative new supported living scheme for people with learning disabilities in Wath on Dearne is set to be officially opened by John Healey MP on Friday 26th June.

Oak Close comprises of 16 self-contained apartments that are specifically designed to meet the mobility needs of customers with learning disabilities. On-site specialist support services allow customers to live as independently as possible. Under our LiveWell services the scheme has seen organisations from across Rotherham working together to secure an £880,000 grant to provide high quality accommodation for people with learning disabilities in the area.

Oak Close

The grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is part of a £160 million fund from the Department of Health that aims to support innovative supported housing schemes. The project has seen experts from Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group come together to ensure customers receive the highest quality of services in their new homes.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have also ensured that Oak Close will be protected by the gold standard in fire safety thanks to a £25,878 grant to install a state-of-the-art fire sprinkler system at the site.

A ceremony to officially open the scheme is being held from11am on Friday 26th June.  Jill Rhodes, Assistant Director at SYHA said, “All of our customers, their families, carers and our partners, have pulled out all the stops to make this happen and we can’t thank them enough for their support.

“The new accommodation will have a positive impact on our customers’ wellbeing and enable them to live fulfilling and independent lives.”

To find out more about Oak Close you can download the fact sheet or talk to one of our friendly team on 0114 2900 311. you can find more LiveWell services for various people and their needs on our LiveWell pages.

Tristan’s Story

Tristan is 26 years old and lives in Lowedges, Sheffield. He receives support from SYHA’s Options team and is an Over2You volunteer.

It’s fair to say that Tristan has not had the easiest of starts. For much of his childhood, Tristan cared for his mum who suffered with serious alcohol addiction; when Tristan was a teen, she passed away.

Due to a combination of his learning disability and his turbulent childhood, Tristan did not achieve what he would have liked to in school, rather than go to college, he started work in an Argos warehouse to support himself and his mum.

Having only worked for a few weeks, Tristan was let go.

“Imagine being at work every day and getting a call from your mum saying that she needs to go to the hospital again, so having to go home, pack her bags and take her, or getting home from work and the first thing you see is the ambulance, again”.

In the years after his mum’s death, Tristan started receiving support from SYHA’s Options team. The team supported Tristan to learn how to cook, manage his finances more efficiently, join a gym and enrol in college.

Last year, Tristan’s key workers told him about Over2You – a totally co-produced project aiming to empower customers to improve the quality of care. Tristan filled out an application form, completed references and attended an interview. Tristan’s application was successful!

In the first meeting Tristan was taught about work place behaviour, safeguarding and health and safety.

“I felt raised up, I felt like any other person at work, not like a patient – makes me feel the same as staff”.

Since his induction, Tristan has had robust training to enable him to complete person centred quality questionnaires with other people who access health and social care services. “I’m doing better at English in college, my forms help me with my English.”

As an Over2You researcher, Tristan has now attended quality assessments at seven health and social care services across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley.

“When I’m doing my forms I feel like a proper staff member – I feel like I am doing the same job as you, I like being called a researcher, I feel important. I have enjoyed meeting new people; this has definitely raised my confidence, talking to new people.”

In the coming months Tristan will be completing his Over2You course, which is accredited by the national open college network, and is looking forward to being involved in the co-evaluation of Over2You’s first year. We are thrilled with Tristan’s dedication and valuable contributions to the Over2You team!

What learning disability means to me

As Learning Disabilities week comes to an end we asked customers from Clusters what learning disabilities means to them.

Clusters and Sheffield Thursday Project are two of our LiveWell services. They offer supported accommodation for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. This week some of these customers enjoyed a bowling trip, where we asked them what they thought of their LiveWell service and what living with a learning disability means to them.


What do you enjoy about living at your service?  – “Freedom”

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “Sorting my letters and my bills”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “Reading and writing problems”


What do you enjoy about living at your service? – “having my own space” “helps me when I need it” “having a laugh with the support”

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “going on day trips” “helping me with repairs” “having a laugh”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “Normal”



What do you enjoy about living at your service? – “I like living on my own”

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “talking to her and fixing things”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “I can’t read letter and need some help”


What do you enjoy about living at your service? – “I like living on my own

Whats your favourite thing to do with your key worker? – “events like bowling and things”

What does Learning Disability mean to you? – “needing support to do daily tasks”

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You can find out more about Mencaps’ Learning Disabilities Week by following the hashtag #LDWeek15. The chance to raise awareness doesn’t stop here though, Sheffield City Council are hosting several events across the city region. You can find out what is happening where here.

Our LiveWell services cover a range of needs for all kinds of people. Discovery what other LiveWell services we offer by visiting the LiveWell page.