Includem is there to support young people in Fife, 24 hours a day

A charity which works with vulnerable young people in Fife has been awarded the Care Inspectorate’s top rating – for a third year.

Team work...Includems Fife team are delighted the Inspectorate report is shining a light on the work they do.
Team work...Includems Fife team are delighted the Inspectorate report is shining a light on the work they do.

Includem was founded in 2000 and launched its Glenrothes office just three years later.

Since then, it has helped hundreds of young people with complex support needs and their families in Fife.

And the secret to the charity’s success is that it allows the young people to lead the way.

Service manager Amanda Smith said: "We want to make sure that young people access the right service  its important to get that right."

Service managers Claire Barton and Amanda Smith are delighted that their team’s work has been recognised, not least because it shines a light on the work they are doing locally.

Claire said: “The staff here in Fife work very hard and their commitment is second to none.

“The report is recognition of that but also that we’re getting it right for the young people we help in Fife.”

In the last year, Includem has worked with around 100 young people in Fife aged from five to 25.

Service manager Claire Barton said: The staff here in Fife work very hard and their commitment is second to none. The report is recognition of that but also that were getting it right for the young people we help.

At any one time, its 12-strong team and sessional support workers help around 50 young people and their families.

Clients are referred by Fife Council’s social work team and will be allocated three workers – a mentor, assistant project worker and project worker.

Amanda explained: “Fife Council has key strategic partners and Includem is one of them.

“We want to make sure that young people access the right service – it’s important to get that right.

“And one of the things that works really well here in Fife is that referral service.

“We’re here to help young people navigate all of the different complexities of their lives – be that at home, in school or employment.

“We support young people make changes in their lives that are sustainable and that doesn’t happen in isolation – it’s also about the support network they have.

“So it’s important we build relationships with their families too.

“We provide an intensive service so we’re not just seeing someone once a week.

“We’re out four or five times a week so we get to know a lot about them.

“The evidence shows that having two to three workers helps build better relationships, which is why we allocate three members of staff to each client.

“If someone is off on annual leave, the young person still has two other people to work with, with whom they have a relationship and a level of trust.

“Our work depends on trust, honesty and transparency – from our sessional staff through to project leaders.”

And it’s this work that has been singled out by the Care Inspectorate, receiving an excellent grading for the third year running.

One of Includem’s most successful initiatives is the toolkit it uses, A Better Life.

It helps give young people the tools to tackle the complex issues in their lives – whether that be managing their emotions or changing their behaviours.

But another key element is that the youngsters control their own destiny.

Claire explained: “The young people we work with are fantastic. They all have their own skills and talents which, when their lives are challenging, can get missed.

“We give them the chance to identify their skills but they maintain control over their own plans and what they want to achieve.”

With that in mind, Includem has forged many partnerships locally.

Last month, youngsters attended an award ceremony for a course with Kingdom Off Road Motorcycle Club.

And others completed an attainment course at Lochgelly Fire Station.

Amanda added: “These courses help our clients gain a sense of achievement, develop self-confidence and feel more positive about life.

“In the future, we hope to build more partnerships locally to expand on the attainment work we do.”

Includem’s core hours of work are 8am to 10pm but it also has a 24-hour helpline which supports clients, 365 days of the year.

Chief executive Martin Dorchester said: “To gain such recognition from the Inspectorate is reinforcement for us that our intensive, trust-based one-to-one approach to supporting young people facing difficult challenges in their lives really does work.

“But it’s not only the Inspectorate who is telling us this, it is our young people themselves.”

Includem also has offices in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Stirling. It has worked with more than 5000 young people since 2000.

What Care Inspectorate said...

We consistently heard from young people and their families that Includem had made a significant difference in their lives. The service had an excellent system in place for identifying areas of need and monitoring the progress of outcomes. We found that these firmly embedded systems supported young people to identify their own milestones.

Furthermore, a huge effort was made to improve young people’s lives and this was completed with a great deal of creativity and passion.

Families benefit hugely from the helpline which runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This unique service offers round the clock support. We saw an abundance of evidence where the helpline had been used to alleviate crisis.

We were very impressed with the excellent response time to incidents and the commitment by staff to ensure the service ran smoothly. The management team were always on hand to support staff following calls and this therapeutic approach to supervision and leadership was evident throughout.

It is our view that Includem is an excellent service that works with young people who are on the edges of care.

They work in partnership with local authorities to provide invaluable support to social work teams that keeps young people living in their communities.

We were thoroughly impressed by the vision for the service and pioneering planning by managers to ensure it is constantly evolving and progressing.