Cumbria Crack

Achievements of project to help vulnerable families in Barrow are highlighted by independent report

[A]n independent report commissioned by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) to evaluate the Love Barrow Families project has highlighted a number of significant improvements to local health and care outcomes.

Dr Sharon Vincent, Reader in Child Welfare at Northumbria University, produced the evaluation report entitled “The magic is in the co-production” , which found that of those getting help from the project, the number of people seeking treatment for physical and mental health problems had greatly reduced as well as the number of children on serious child protection plans.

Other areas that showed significant reductions and improvements include:

  • the number of children going into or returning to care
  • the amount of crime and anti-social behaviour
  • the number of professionals being involved with families
  • the amount of crisis situations in complex families
  • the number of domestic violence cases

Levels of compassion, trust, happiness and employability for families involved in the scheme has also greatly improved.

Dr Vincent said: “Myself and colleagues from Northumbria University were commissioned to evaluate the Love Barrow Families pilot, to see whether this way of working could be used more widely across Cumbria. It was able to demonstrate that giving more control to children, young people and families can lead to positive outcomes and reduced costs.”

She added: “I have undertaken previous evaluations of projects that have redesigned child services but this one was different as it genuinely embraced the principle of co-production and I believe this has been pivotal to its success. It was a privilege to get to know the families and the Love Barrow Families staff.”

Katrina Robson is the Project Lead for Love Barrow Families at CPFT and believes the key to the project’s success is the joined up approach to working between local health and care organisations.

Katrina said: “Love Barrow families is special because it is co-produced and designed with local families. The independent evaluation Dr Vincent led highlights the myriad of positive health and social care outcomes for families when they work in equal partnership with public services.

“Families themselves told Dr Vincent that the sense of belonging created by Love Barrow Families was fundamental to the changes they were able to make. The report is a testament to the families and Love Barrow Families team and shows how the learning from the scheme can be used to help other families and communities across Cumbria.”

Joanne Hiley, Associate Director of Nursing at CPFT adds: “We are extremely proud of the staff, families and partnerships that make up Love Barrow Families.

“Love Barrow Families works in such an innovative way to help individuals, families and communities to come together and achieve their goals. I welcome the evaluation report that demonstrates and evidences how we can work differently to improve our services, improve our outcomes and work creatively across agencies and with communities to coproduce very exciting models of care in the future.”

Love Barrow Families launched in 2013 as a partnership between CPFT and Cumbria County Council to improve how adult and child health and social care services work together  to meet the complex needs of some families in Barrow.

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