Good Practice Case Study – ‘Steps Project’

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What is it?

This partnership started in 2006 with provision of facilities at the Waterloo Housing Association’s sheltered schemes (STEPS) to enable Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) to provide support for older people with mental health distress. A range of therapies is provided at the schemes for older local residents and tenants e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy, anxiety and depression management, dementia specific interventions, art classes and other specialist support. In return for using the scheme facilities BSMHFT provides free training to the association’s staff as well as specialist support and advice in relation to challenging cases.

What were its aims?

To provide better support through a range of therapies in a more appropriate setting for older people who are experiencing mental health distress.

What were the outcomes?

This collaboration with health professionals has resulted in a range of support services for residents and other older people in Birmingham and Solihull. It has made best use of resources and improved access for people to the therapies they need in a more appropriate environment. It has increased opportunities for people with mental health distress to improve their general health and wellbeing and reduce loneliness by developing friendships which have continued beyond the life of the group. Some participants have also considered moving into sheltered housing as a result of engaging in activities and developing social networks. It has also resulted in better signposting of residents to a wider range of services to meet needs identified in the support planning process.

Why we like it

This is a great example of successful, sustainable partnership working which benefits older people with mental health issues both at sheltered schemes and in the wider community across Birmingham and Solihull. The schemes provide a less stigmatised environment and serve as hubs where local older people can access the therapies they need as well as improve their general health and well-being and develop friendships which help address isolation and loneliness.

Find out more


Chris R Jones, Supported Housing Manager

T: 0121 788 7570 / E:

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