We planned a series of Enter and View visits to community-based mental health services including supported accommodation, employment and training and clinical treatment services. Penrose Options was chosen to be part of this project, as it is the primary forensic pathway for the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). Penrose Options is a social interest group and registered charity which has been running for 45 years. It aims to support people from various backgrounds into independent, fulfilled lives.
The aims of this visit were to:
- Listen to how service users experience the support and services they receive at Penrose Options’ high-support accommodation projects and to;
- understand the extent to which service users engage in other community based mental health projects across the borough and whether services are themselves operating collaboratively.
We met with service users and staff from both houses in the communal living room of Lynette Avenue. We spoke with three service users about: their satisfaction with the service, their engagement with projects and activities inside and outside of the house, their opinions on the support offered and their relationships with the staff. On the day of the visit we spoke to two staff members and asked what they thought of the services and activities offered to service users.
Location - both terraced houses on quiet residential roads. Both houses are well served by local bus routes and within five minutes walking distance of Clapham South Station and numerous shops and cafés.
Relationships with staff - One individual told us that he had gotten on very well with his first two keyworkers but that he had since been assigned a third who he did not feel understood him.
Activities and community engagement - One service user told us that although ‘we’re offered a lot; breakfast and lunch clubs, zoo trips, parks, fun days…. We need to be able to pick up the reins of our own lives.'
Penrose Housing support service users with complex and vastly differing needs and presentations. There was evidence of good practice discussed by service users and staff and a clear desire to help support service users to recovery. Our team felt that service users’ desire for independence and individuality was clear. It was felt that Penrose Housing could more widely utilise external support services and resources such as employment and training projects like Status or First Step Trust to support this. Overall, it was felt that Penrose Housing offered a supportive environment for those coming out of hospital and with other complex needs. To build on this, some clear steps could be taken to improve communication with the service users and more widely with other services in the area.