Turning Point celebrates 60 years of transformational support for mental health, substance use, and learning disabilities

Close up of holding hands
Photo by Joey Yu on Unsplash

On Turning Point’s 60th year providing support for people with drug, alcohol or mental health issues and people with a learning disability, Chief Executive Julie Bass takes a look back at where it all started.

This year, Turning Point will celebrate its 60th year providing support for people with drug and alcohol or mental health issues and people with a learning disability.

Back in 1964, London philanthropist Barry Richards first established the ‘Helping Hand Organisation’, with its first service being the Camberwell Alcohol Project. This eventually took the name Turning Point in 1979 and has grown into the multi-sector service provider we know today, supporting over 171,000 people each year in over 280 sites across the country.

The past few years have seen the organisation go from strength to strength – with our turnover increasing steadily and enabling us to support nearly 40,000 more people each year.

We are proud to be delivering high quality care and support and this is reflected in our CQC rating which has increased from 91 per cent to 96 per cent in the past few years.

The health and social care landscape

Due to the uncertainty which defines the health and care landscape in which we operate, 60 years on, it is vital that Turning Point continues to achieve and deliver more high-quality support for people in need, preventing vulnerable groups from falling through the cracks in the system.

Many people’s situations are increasingly precarious as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, placing huge pressure on households and particularly groups we support, including people with a learning disability, those struggling with mental health and substance use, people experiencing homelessness and young care leavers.

High inflation has eaten into NHS and social care budgets and financial problems are compounded by record waiting lists, workforce pressures, and a lack of available beds. Issues surrounding workforce were brought to the fore last year with regular strike action, which became a significant feature of health and wider public services.

Local authorities in England continue to face a funding gap of £4 billion across this year and the recent settlement does not change the funding gap facing councils.

Improving and expanding our services

Despite the challenges we face as a sector, in its 60th year, Turning Point continues to extend out work in new areas, to develop innovative new approaches, and adapt and improve our services and the lives of those we support.

In Stafford, we are working in partnership with people with lived experience of homelessness to develop new high-level supported accommodation for people with multiple and complex needs at risk of rough sleeping.

In London, we are expanding our sexual health services. A new young people’s sexual health outreach service opened in Hounslow last year and we are about to launch a new service in Southwark.

In our learning disability services, the introduction of Nourish (a leading digital social care records platform) has enabled us to spend less time updating paper records, and spend more time with the people we support. Nourish is not just about making our records accessible electronically – it helps us to record information at the point of support, involving the person and facilitating truly personalised support planning.

To better support the experiences of those with mental health and substance use issues, Turning Point launched a new training resource last year to increase the awareness and understanding of substance use and mental health. The free online course has been designed by experienced specialists and is available for anyone to access for free, regardless of level of knowledge. It has information and guidance on how to recognise and support people who have a co-existing or a co-occurring condition.

Turning Point’s longevity speaks volumes about the level of support our services provide across the country. This milestone provides a great opportunity to look ahead to the next 60 years, building upon our experience delivering quality care, our partnerships within local communities, and utilising lived experience throughout to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and people struggling with substance use and mental health.

This blog was originally published by Turning Point. You can read the original post here.

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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

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