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Housing team win national award for groundbreaking support to London's vulnerable

London housing association, Riverside-ECHG, which specialises in working with homeless people and vulnerable older people has won a national care award for its unique approach to providing support which it ‘brokers’ for its clients.

Riverside’s Support Link Service (SLS) won at the Independent Specialist Care Awards, which are run by health and care agency LaingBuisson, for its pioneering work with vulnerable homeless and older people in London. Riverside’s team helps homeless people creatively tackle mental health problems and to get into employment, as well as offering vulnerable older people the support they need to find the right care options for them and break out of isolation.

Riverside’s team offers unique tailored support packages through what are referred to as ‘Support Brokers’.  The brokers are Riverside staff who are experienced at brokering the best possible support for each client from a range of agencies and options. The SLS team can even broker befrienders who can accompany clients on social outings, which is particularly beneficial if someone has mental health problems and facing severe isolation.

The innovative initiative is open to Riverside hostel and sheltered scheme residents across London. The team works on the basis that each client is the expert on their own needs and has established creative support options working in partnership with clients.

The SLS also promotes employment and skills training for courses including construction, catering, IT and languages. Counselling sessions are also arranged through the service. 

Karren Ebanks, Riverside’s Area Manager for the service that has worked with 95 clients across London, was delighted at the award win:  “Housing services are increasingly being streamlined by local authorities so it is essential that flexible and adaptable alternatives fill the gap for vulnerable people who still need support.  We have demonstrated that an experienced team who has the housing knowledge to identify people’s needs and find services to meet them can help fill those gaps.”

Riverside’s win was announced on Wednesday 12 March at the LaingBuisson Independent Specialist Care Awards by the awards host the Rt Hon Michael Portillo.