by Denise Benetello, Development Worker on the STEPS Programme
This is the first time that we have received funding to offer ‘A Step in the Right Direction’ Programme (STEPS) on a city wide basis. Previously it has been ward specific. This has proved to be much easier to recruit, and our referrals have come from mostly from different routes to previous programmes. The programme has an emphasis on encouraging participants to seek opportunities to ‘positively move on’ in some way in their lives. We work with participants to identify any barriers which may be holding them back, then work with them to explore ways of addressing them. The programme began in July 2016.
Participation in ‘Steps’ is voluntary on the part of the participant. Some self-referrals have come from people who have seen our information displayed by other organisations like The Shine Network, Women’s Refuge, and Children and Family Centres. Others have engaged with the programme after having met us at community events such as The Big Gig in the Arboretum, Family Fun Day in the Arboretum, and Carholme Gala at the Grandstand.
Other participants have been referred to us via other professions such as The Early Help Team.
The Process – Rickter
All participants in the programme first of all undertake a Rickter assessment. The Rickter Scale is a complete assessment and action planning process based around a hand-held interactive board, which is designed specifically to measure soft indicators and distance travelled. These are outcomes from training, support or guidance interventions such as increased confidence or better time management which, unlike hard outcomes such as qualifications and jobs, are likely to describe an individual’s journey rather than their destination. The tool provides the user with a point of focus and engages individuals very effectively, whilst encouraging them to take responsibility. With flexible one to one support, the individual can explore possibilities, make informed choices and set a realistic action plan. Ultimately the Rickter Scale demonstrates the genuine movement individuals make from a chaotic lifestyle to stability.
A Step in the Right Direction encourages people to take responsibility for themselves, make decisions and take action. It provides an opportunity for people to take control of their lives.
People are very keen to change, but for many, change means a different way of thinking and behaviour which requires sustained effort. For some the steps that they take are small and slow but in many cases represent a huge personal achievement. The amount of time spent on the programme varies from individual to individual. Some simply require information and advice while others need longer term support to address and manage far reaching personal and emotional issues.
The programme has only been running for three months, and we have engaged with a total of 12 participants so far. Some people have been with us since the beginning and some have only joined in the last few weeks so it is still very early days. One participant has already left the programme having moved into a volunteering opportunity, whilst another has successfully worked towards gaining a place on a photography course at Lincoln College and is doing really well. Time has been spent goal setting and exploring future options, taking “small steps” but nonetheless making significant achievements.
For more information about our STEPS programme, take a look at the STEPS page here: http://developmentplus.org.uk/our-projects/current-projects/a-step-in-the-right-direction-2016/