| Helen Sharp
Case study: Keyring Housing Scheme
‘KeyRing’s vision is for vulnerable people to be at the heart of their community, sharing their skills and talents for everyone’s benefit.’
I’ve known about this housing scheme for a few years now and was particularly interested in how they could help connect families – similar to Family by Family – when I commissioned Early Years. This is a great example of how housing can be used as a mechanism to link people together and connect their skills, abilities and passions to their community.
KeyRing support is based around a supported living network which is typically made up on 10 ordinary homes. People who need support live in 9 of them. These people are KeyRing Members and they help each other out and meet up regularly. A Community Living Volunteer lives in the 10th home. The volunteer helps members with a range of issues including reading bills, forms and letters and most importantly they support Members to explore what’s going on in their neighbourhood and get involved. These volunteers differ from the traditional home visitor because they use an approach which helps the Member connect with and identify people within their local community who can help, rather than delivering that help themselves. If Members need more support, there are paid workers that they can call, particularly if the Member requires assistance which takes more time.
KeyRing supports people to go beyond having a presence in their community; they help to create connections between the member and their community so that the community and the individual are able to serve each other in a way that brings about mutual respect. They aim to support Members to build real and lasting relationships in the community, with the premise that good community connections help Members to become full citizens of their neighbourhood and less reliant on paid support.
When we think about trying to engineer a more place-based support network, housing needs to be an important partner around the table and KeyRing provides a unique example of how housing can go beyond simple accommodation needs.