Manor Gardens Welfare Trust works with people to help them change their lives for the better. Our services promote mental and physical health and wellbeing and increase social inclusion.
Early intervention and prevention: we prevent the escalation and deepening complexity of difficulties experienced by people which impact upon their life opportunities, health, and wellbeing.
Community-driven approaches: we understand and work alongside people to develop our work and expertise in person-centred interventions for diverse communities from childhood to adulthood.
Learning and development for impactful response: we inform and develop our work and influence and effect wider system change and practice.
We continue to work with people of all ages and all communities, with a particular focus on those that experience identified barriers and difficulties in accessing support and services.
Throughout 2020/21 and into 2021/22 the need to respond and adapt our services to the Covid-19 pandemic continued, but with increasing focus on. We moved from emergency humanitarian response to the longer-term impacts of the pandemic and recognised increasing need and demand across our communities and consideration of required response to assist in longer-term recovery.
MGWT services continue to seek to both prevent and manage physical and mental health concerns and improve wellbeing. Whilst services at our own centre in North Islington were limited at times during the year due to the pandemic, we have successfully delivered both individual and group support and activities online and by phone, including welfare checks, workshops, peer support groups, and individual therapy. Between May and December, we held daily in-person outdoor activities to encourage people from their homes and meet others, vital to their mental health. We continued in our direct and frontline provision of early years education and childcare at both Hornsey Road Children’s Centre and Manor Gardens Nursery. These services have all delivered essential services to children, adults, and families throughout the past exceptional year.
Our work with partners, commissioners and funders across London Boroughs continues to consider how we can connect people to the support and services needed at the right time and in the right way, reducing barriers and duplication, and harnessing the strengths and innovation that grows from our local communities and partnerships. During the year, we realigned and reorganised our health and wellbeing services to deliver most effectively to our communities:
We have built on our outreach work which raised awareness of mental wellbeing to focus particularly on starting relevant conversations with Islington’s diverse communities through activities, information groups and individual therapy. This breaks down the stigma of mental health by talking about wellbeing in culturally appropriate ways and adapting messaging to suit different communities.
During the pandemic food poverty became evident and engagement with people through food as part of our emergency food distribution enabled us to reach people and provide additional support. We have developed this idea into a weekly food co-operative for local residents.
Finding help quickly and easily is vital to people’s wellbeing. Created quickly in the pandemic our Single Point of Access, with a central phone number and email address, is easy to use for referrers and residents and enables residents to be assessed and triaged effectively and get help quickly. This is being developed with partners across Islington to help professionals in health and social care connect people to the services and support they need efficiently.
During the pandemic we had a large pool of volunteers, many who were unable to work at this time, who assisted and were essential to our food distribution and roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, through the vaccination clinics and sites across Islington. We have now reassessed our volunteer roles and commenced recruiting again. New roles include helping at our in-person activities and a peer buddy scheme.
Building on from our work in maternity and early parenthood, we have developed our interactions with families to provide holistic wellbeing support following the birth of a new child, and onwards with children of all ages.
We support refugee and migrant families through our specialist bilingual staff who represent and understand our local communities and can support with navigating services and systems to enable people to integrate more fully into the community. A new initiative this year is working with Islington Public Health to understand the health inequalities experienced by the communities we serve and investigating ways of addressing them.
We support people to manage their own health and wellbeing so they can maximise their independence. We work with people with long-term health conditions which impact on their daily living and choices in their lives, as well as stroke survivors and people with complex health needs so that they can continue living independently for longer.
We offer early intervention and prevention, signposting and referrals to partners, in-depth casework and social prescribing.
During the pandemic, our befriending service was in great demand via the telephone, supporting people of all ages who felt isolated and lonely. Telephone befriending continues to connect housebound clients and our telephone support groups have proved very popular with people who have no digital access.
We directly support women who have experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and campaign widely to prevent this harmful practice. Our Dahlia Project continues to offer therapeutic groups and a safe space for women who are survivors of FGM, alongside one-to-one advocacy and empowerment groups. Our national awareness raising and preventative work is initiated from the experiences of the women we support.
Manor Gardens has chaired the Islington Food Partnership, a coalition of community and statutory partners interested in reducing food poverty and food waste, for three years. It has led the growth of food co-ops in the borough as well as setting the strategic direction of food stability and sustainability for Islington.
Our services at MGWT have always focused on children as well as adults. We believe that education and play can promote health and wellbeing at an early age and provides the best start in life, and has been critical to ensure developmental milestones, emotional wellbeing, and safeguarding of many children at this time.
Manor Gardens Nursery, provides early year’s education to children between the age of 2-5 years within Islington in accordance with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Hornsey Road Children’s Centre, from which we deliver early year’s education and childcare for children from the age of 9 months–5 years, brings together our early years statutory partners to give children the best start in life within the local Borough’s Bright Start offer.
Our services support people in different ways:
Advocacy and one-to-one support for service beneficiaries for help from a specific service. Following assessment from our frontline staff, a focused programme or plan of support inclusive of individual and/or group interventions is determined with the beneficiary. This ranges from help reading letters and filling in forms, to in-depth advocacy and casework on housing, benefits, immigration, and domestic violence. Others need help finding the right organisation to support them and we signpost and enable them to access these services.
Early years support for children from nine months to five years old is provided through contracted places in our two nurseries for education and childcare.
Community activities and events engage with service beneficiaries on a regular basis for social interaction and wellbeing support. This provides a safe space and facilitates trust and often enabling further help as needed.
Information workshops delivered to volunteers, professionals, carers, and community members to increase understanding and awareness of particular issues and generate community responses.
Throughout 2021-22, we supported 2,230 people directly through one-to-one casework and support. We had 2,658 new referrals during the year and put on 1,544 in-person and online activities which were attended by 2,485 people. We worked with 138 volunteers.