Amy’s story

Amy* was in a very destructive environment when she first came into contact with the Blackpool Fulfilling Lives team. She’d experienced street homelessness for several months, and frequently stayed at a local squat with other known drug users.

She resorted to sex work and shoplifting in order to fund her substance misuse, and was in extremely poor physical health. Amy also has long-standing mental health issues, having been diagnosed with a personality disorder.

Amy had been previously received drug treatment, but was unable to keep appointments, and had not engaged with any other services. She was referred to Fulfilling Lives in September 2014, by a police worker who was worried about Amy’s wellbeing and dwindling health.

Amy’s chaotic lifestyle presented some real challenges for Fulfilling Lives to meaningfully engage and carry out an assessment; the team was finally able to do so when she was admitted to hospital.

Blackpool Fulfilling Lives then empowered Amy through a very wide range of tailored support. Volunteers with lived experience inspired Amy by sharing their stories, navigators collaborated with soup kitchens to provide clothes and toiletries, and Amy was encouraged to attend local NA groups and the Women’s Centre.

Fulfilling Lives ensured a smooth transition to accommodation and facilitated re-engagement with drug services. Amy’s navigator accompanied her when collecting her methadone script, allowing her time to talk and share concerns, building confidence and self-esteem. BFL strongly advocated that Amy’s GP address her mental health.

When obstacles arose – such as Amy losing her accommodation at Vincent House and being made homeless – Fulfilling Lives collaborated with the Local Authority Housing to secure alternative supported accommodation, demonstrating the team’s perseverance and tenacity.

Thanks to Fulfilling Lives’ support, Amy’s overall intake of street heroin and cocaine has reduced, she attends most drug treatment appointments unsupported, has developed independent living skills, and is receiving a psychological assessment. Her overall health and wellbeing has significantly improved, and she is better equipped to manage her multiple complex needs.

As a direct result of supporting Amy, Blackpool Fulfilling Lives has been able to identify and evidence several systemic changes which need to take place in order for Blackpool services to better support clients with multiple complex needs.

These recommendations include delivery and pathways to address dual diagnosis; separate pathways to access emergency accommodation and short-team accommodation; quick pathways for drug and mental health provisions; and the need for all staff working with MCN clients to be experienced and fully qualified.

*Name has been changed