What is IF Group Bristol?
The IF Group (Independent Futures Group) Bristol is an organisation that comprises some of Bristol’s Expert Citizens of experience.
We are a diverse group brought together to pool our front line experience with homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues and offending behaviour. Our aim to scrutinise support services and work with them to carve a new way to deliver better services across in the Bristol area.
We are the main advisory group working with The Golden Key project in Bristol. The IF Group has contributed at all stages of the business planning, recruitment and launch of this Big Lottery funded project.
Working with The Golden Key Project
Golden Key, a £10 million citywide partnership, aims to open doors to hundreds of people in Bristol who are locked into never-ending cycles of deprivation and dependency due to support services failing to meet their full needs. Big Lottery has granted 12 areas around the UK for this Fulfilling lives initiative – Bristol is one of those areas with our lead provider Second Step heading the partnership.
Over its eight years lifespan, Golden Key will work with 300 clients in Bristol, with 150 receiving support at any one time. We aim to improve the lives of some 1,500 other people, who will benefit indirectly from the programme’s work. Clients will be provided with the support of a lead co-ordinator to help them access the support services they need. They also receive the support of a peer mentor to provide guidance and hope. Clients of the Golden Key project will be empowered and given the chance to take control of their lives by deciding what key services they need, whether it be training to get a job or counselling to overcome a trauma.
Client Led Approach to Service Provision
We believe that the client needs to be at the heart of their own journey – taking charge of what feels like success and goals for them. We also believe in second chances – many of us have experienced the difficulty getting the long standing personal care that we need.
The launch for this innovative project is on 14th November 2014 – that day, the door will be open for the first client to be helped. One of the IF Group members talks about the anticipation of the launch and what it means for them:
“The launch of the Golden Key means hope to me. All I have known is being stuck in cycles of destruction, bouncing from one service to another, labels, locked wards, restrictions, contradictions, countless attempts and more failures. I had almost given up all hope not so long ago. I thought that I had crossed a line which I may never return from. I certainly never expected to now be part of a strong dynamic advisory group who are helping bring this project to life. The IF group’s vision is to continue to pool together all our years of front line experience, and in turn continue to grow in strength individually.”
We hope that our passion and drive will make long standing changes and create a level playing field for local services. For more information about the IF Group and how we can help your organisation or how you can get involved, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For interview requests or to discuss issues around mental health, substance misuse, offending behaviour and homelessness in Bristol, please visit our IF Group interview request page for media here.