Reflections on Reimagining Rent: 1 year on

Reflections on Reimagining Rent: 1 year on

One year on from starting the Reimagining Rent programme, Kineara’s director Maria Morgan talks about our progress since leaving their first cohort of participants, and how the programme has helped us develop our Rent Support Programme (RSP+), a new and upcoming venture aiming to reduce evictions for vulnerable tenants in the private rented sector using holistic support.

How did you find the Reimagining Rent programme?

The Young Foundation (YF) found me actually, which is amazing! Last year, Kineara held a workshop with Azuko and Poplar Harca, where we invited professionals and practitioners across the housing sector to discuss how we could improve the journey through temporary housing. It was during the workshop that I met Radhika Bynon from YF and she told me about Reimagining Rent and encouraged me to apply. I asked when the deadline was and she said, “today!” So I went home and started the application straightaway.

It’s the best thing we did because prior to that we were delivering the programme on a much smaller scale, and only really working with organisations who already knew about us, stayed with us and continued to renew their partnerships with us. It was a blessing that we made it onto the programme at such short notice, and it was exactly what we needed to elevate our work. The most exciting thing about Reimagining Rent is the common desire to make the private rented sector work better for vulnerable people, and that’s certainly what we’re all about at Kineara.

How have you been reimagining Kineara and the Rent Support Programme (RSP)?

The inspiration for our programmes comes from the FIP (Family Intervention Project) model: a dedicated keyworker approach with intensive, purposeful intervention. I took the ethos of the FIP model as the foundation to write Kineara’s first programme, the RSP, viewing rent arrears as a trigger issue and shortening the intervention. But we wrote RSP in 2011, before the housing crisis had become so entrenched and before the worst of the welfare reforms. So I had to ask myself: how can RSP continue to make a difference in the changing context of housing?

At the same time, I’d been thinking about how to scale up Kineara’s work and expand our reach but also take the programme into the private sector for vulnerable tenants. It took time for the idea to fully form and it finally came when I was sitting in a Reimagining Rent session listening to a speaker, I think it was Susan Aktemel actually. I was listening to her and then OMG! The penny dropped.

We’re now beginning to have conversations with Local Authorities about RSP+ and I don’t yet know the outcome of this work, but we’re motoring ahead and wishing for the best. I hope that RSP+ can be duplicated across councils. I’d like our original RSP to be resurrected within housing providers too, and working on scaling up all of Kineara’s work, which was one of the drivers for me joining Reimagining Rent.

As an organisation, we are reshuffling the way we do things to make it more efficient. I have an amazing team full of great people. We are all in it together and Kineara is not a one man band. I’ve been so blessed to have such amazing people to go join me on this journey.

It’s been exciting to see the development of the Rent Support Programme Plus (RSP+) pilot in the last few months. Can you explain more about the new model we are piloting?

First of all, it is about working with Local Authorities to connect, support and engage both landlords and private tenants in their boroughs. Many councils have now introduced Landlord Licensing Schemes and accreditation schemes to help improve standards, and most do offer some form of advice line for private tenant in insecure tenancies or who are threatened with homelessness.

Of course, our RSP is not a silver bullet for all housing issues. But I asked myself, how can we build on the kind of support we’ve delivered with our social housing tenants in the past and extend it to the most vulnerable tenants in the PRS? As far as I could see, there were no other services providing this offer. So the first part of this pilot is to offer RSP to council’s and work with them to strengthen their relationship with private landlords, offering alternative options to issuing Section 21’s, preventing additional costs to the council in the form of re-housing, temporary accommodation and the rest, as well as, of course, preventing homelessness for households.

If you live in a council property, there is a far greater obligation to work things out with the tenant when problems arise such as rent arrears. It made me reflect on why a private landlord want to pay for a service like RSP when they can issue a Section 21 and have a brand-new paying tenant come into their property. This is why our delivery model is much stronger working with Local Authorities and they can also save a lot of money by participating. The difference between RSP and RSP+ is that the original programme is delivered for social housing tenants where the housing association pays for the intervention, whereas in RSP+ the Council invests in the programme, offering landlords a route away from eviction via our service and enabling intensive support to be delivered to private sector tenants whose vulnerability often goes under Local Authorities’ radar until a households’ needs become urgent.

Finally, do you have any advice for this year’s cohort?

My advice to them is be open.

Sometimes we can defend what we know and we miss out on learning something new – it’s a trap I have fallen into. Just let go and be open to allow your mind to think, take in new ideas and think creatively. And use the room, use the space, use the people around you. If you immerse yourself in that experience you will get so much more from it. It was the best thing that we’ve done as Kineara. It has really elevated our thinking. And I would say to everybody, enjoy it and make the most of it!

The group are very varied which is amazing. They seem to be coming from different perspectives but have the same goal, which is working to make the private rented sector better for vulnerable people, including those on low incomes. It’s also a useful opportunity to reflect on where society is at. There are so many changes in the UK, and it’s important that we have a strong foundation and identity about what we are doing, but have the flexibility to meet changing needs.

I would like to also say thanks to The Young Foundation for delivering such an impactful programme. Looking at the cohort that I was part of as well as the new cohort of participants, the ideas people are developing are pretty incredible and being introduced to investors who are willing and keen to support projects with a social purpose is awesome.

All the best to the new cohorts!

You can read the blog in full on the Young Foundation’s website.

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Looking back at 2018: A Year of Transformation

Looking back at 2018: A Year of Transformation

Here at Kineara we’ve had an extremely busy, exciting and breakthrough year, which we wanted to share with all our friends who have helped us get to December 2018 with so many more things to look forward to in2019.

We started off with the publication of our new look website and our first Impact Report back in January, which collected all the outcomes of Kineara’s work in housing, education and employment since we started back in 2013.

Soon after, Maria took Kineara to the Young Foundation’s excellent Reimagining Rent programme, a support programme for social business with big ideas on tackling vulnerability in the private rental sector. Needless to say, the programme brought us more than new knowledge – we’ve built friendships with innovators across the sector whose projects are really making a difference in tackling insecurity vulnerability and marginalisation in the housing sector, just when it is needed the most.

In May, we launched a new housing support programme called Reframe with Southern Housing Group, to deliver mid-length intensive interventions with SHG residents whose tenancies have become insecure and require specialist key worker support. This project has kept us busy across London working with families with all kinds of complex mental health and support needs, and runs alongside our tailored employment support programme, also in SHG, which offers specialised employment support for those with complex needs.

Soon after that, we welcomed two new members of the Kineara family to serve as our Board of Advisors, Radhika Bynon and Chuks Aguocha. We are lucky to have advisors with such vast experience, knowledge and commitment to social change for the most under-served communities. At the same time, we also rounded up our year-long Resident Voice project with Poplar Harca and Azuko, where we delivered research and insight on how best housing and rent teams could support their most vulnerable residents.

In June, we moved into our wonderful new office in Bethnal Green, which has become our team hub and a place to gather, work and share –our team is made up of tenacious and independent workers whose work means they are often in many places across London in the week, so our office has become important to us being able to build for the future. It is a space we share with community groups and other employment support services, so we feel very at home.

In the meantime, we’ve continued to deliver Motivate to Educate programmes in primary schools, and added ‘Our Space’ drop in sessions for teachers and staff to our school wraparound service. This concept came after our M2E practitioners, who had been running open, free drop in sessions for parents, noticed that members of the school staff were also in desperate need of spaces to share, get guidance, and find additional support. What our practitioners have been seeing in the schools they work in has been borne out in recent studies that have shown teacher wellbeing decreasing in recent years, as they struggle with stretched resources, low pay, and high housing costs.

By the time July came around, we were ready to hire new staff to support our growing organisation; we’ve been lucky enough to find brilliant new practitioners, Sandra and Rujia, and fantastic new Communications support from Tamanna, who has been busy showcasing our work to the online world.

Finally, in late September and after much grit and graft from our Director, we successfully secured an investment from Sumerian Partners to enable us to build our infrastructure, scale-up, take on new partnerships, and grow further. We are extremely thankful for the investment and offer of support from our new partners. Since then, we’ve also been putting foundations in place to take our flagship support, the Rent Support Programme (RSP), to the private sector. RSP Plus is an idea we had been incubating for some time and we’re looking forward to piloting the work in the New Year. We have been working hard on the planning of this project – watch this space!

As we move into the new year, we want to thank everyone of our partners who have worked diligently with us to provide the best support; the families and children who have been brave enough to let us in and open their lives to us; and to all our supporters and friends who have helped us over the course of the year with advice, knowledge, and collaboration – you know who you are and we thank you!

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We are hiring!

We are hiring!

We are excited to be recruiting for 3 new practitioners to join our growing team to take on varied, intensive support work in our educational and housing support programmes.

The purpose of the role is to provide a mixture of individual and group interventions with individuals and families with additional and complex needs, up to the threshold for social care involvement, to support the delivery of Kineara main programmes. The objectives of these programmes are to avoid evictions, improve tenancy security, increase employment opportunities, improve wellbeing and increase educational outcomes. You will be working in partnership with other stakeholders such as schools and housing associations to improve family health, build relationships and engage families and individuals and their networks of support.

We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated and hands-on practitioner with excellent interpersonal skills who is able to work sensitively with vulnerable people from all backgrounds.

Find out more on our vacancy page.

Posted by kineara in Education, Housing, Latest, 0 comments
Growing evidence that teachers are increasingly in need of wellbeing support

Growing evidence that teachers are increasingly in need of wellbeing support

Study finds that 67% of teachers are stressed at work – while 74% find it difficult to switch off at home. This is something we’ve seen in the schools we’ve worked in and is the reason behind our new offer of wraparound support, which includes teacher wellbeing and provides care for everyone at school.

The findings of this year’s Teacher Wellbeing Index highlights a ‘stress epidemic’ and rising mental health issues across the entire UK education workforce.

An alarming 67% of teachers are stressed at work, 74% find it difficult to switch off at home and 56% believe their personal relationships have suffered as a result of psychological, physical or behavioural problems at work – fleshing out the detail behind teacher health and wellbeing pressures.

“We recognise that teachers give a lot – their work doesn’t just stop at school, it’s at home, and it’s not just teaching children – they’re social workers, doctors, parents, they’re everything!” says Maria Morgan, Director of Kineara.

The Education Support Partnership who published the study of 1,187 educational professionals in the UK, highlights the importance of increasing knowledge and awareness of the issues, and signposting staff to external support services. The study explains some of the reasons for this ‘stress epidemic’, including an increased workload, behavioural problems of pupils, a lack of mental health support at work, and other external pressures.

As pressures in education continue to rise, it has become more important than ever to support teacher wellbeing and provide a whole-school approach that looks after everyone in school. Kineara has offered specialist, holistic support for some years and have found recently that it is just as important for teachers to have space and time to focus on their own wellbeing as the pupils and parents. Our wraparound service for schools includes our Motivate to Educate (M2E) programme for a number of pupils across a year, and further support to parents, teachers and staff. This includes delivering ‘Our Space’ for teachers – giving them a space to talk about any problems at school, or personal challenges at home, including housing, parenting or relationship issues.

“With a school, that wraparound care means we’re here for the child, we’re here for the parent, we’re here for the teacher, we’re here to care for all aspects of the school, for them to feel healthy and safe and have somewhere to go. We had a number of teachers with low morale, but when they started using our service, their morale increased. So this support really does help to create a healthier, more engaged staff” says Maria.

Read more about our holistic educational support services.

Posted by kineara in Education, 0 comments
How Kineara’s holistic, strength-based support helps to transform lives

How Kineara’s holistic, strength-based support helps to transform lives

Whether it’s working to prevent homelessness and housing insecurity, supporting people into work, or inspiring confidence in the next generation – Kineara’s holistic, strength-based support offers a proven foundation in facilitating positive and sustainable change.

Having delivered our specialist programmes over the years, including our Motivate to Educate (M2E) and Rent Support Programme (RSP), we’ve seen how a holistic approach can help people overcome challenges in housing, education and  employment.

And it’s not just the individuals and families we work with who have benefited. Our partners in housing, education and community reap the benefits that a stronger relationship with the people they support can bring.

So, what exactly does holistic support mean? More specifically, how is it used to transform a person’s situation and foster real, sustainable change? To explore this further, we ask our very own Maria Morgan, Director of Kineara, and the team to share their insights and experience by drawing on a range of Kineara’s programmes.

Bespoke support tailored to you

Kineara’s holistic support, is wide-ranging, inclusive and tailored to needs of the individual and family. It is, Maria says: “an approach that works to understand the needs of the person, family, and community. Who are they? What is it that they need?” As such, we look at the bigger picture, addressing other challenges they may be facing in life, including issues with rent or housing insecurity, emotional wellbeing, household needs and relationships, while often taking social factors into consideration. This ensures that we provide the right support for you.

“The people we work with have multi-entrenched needs, so our support has to be intentional, therapeutic, adaptable.”

Our M2E practitioner, Roz, has supported a number of pupils and their families with different needs, including strengthening communication at home and at school, introducing play and art therapy, game and peer sessions, and family sessions. Cases are often varied and complex and Roz works holistically to tailor support and achieve positive outcomes.

“The people we work with have multi-entrenched needs, so our support has to be intentional, therapeutic, adaptable,” says Maria, “When you’re talking to someone, it helps to see that person as a system – in that system is a person, their needs, background, parentage, education, culture, faith etc. You’re not seeing a situation or a person as one-dimensional, but seeing them in a holistic frame.”

Exploring the root cause

What’s more, exploring the root cause allows us to address other challenges that can help to resolve the situation. “All of Kineara’s programmes are inspired by the ethos of the Family Intervention Project (FIP),” explains Maria, “our support is intensive and purpose-built, and often this means getting to the root cause of an issue.”

With our RSP programme, for example, we’ve worked with individuals and families, who had been referred to us by their housing provider, for lack of engagement and a build-up of rent arrears. By exploring the root cause and trigger factors, we did not only clear rent-arrears and resolve housing benefit errors, but managed to provide other vital support, including mental health, practical and parenting support.

Building on strengths to sustain change

As an employment support referral, Nigel was keen to find a more flexible job that suited his health needs. Liz (our practitioner) provided a wide range of support from job hunting and interview practice to seeking therapeutic support. Nigel was eventually offered a job but decided to take a different route. “One of the main benefits of the support was the self-confidence it gave him to raise his aspirations, highlight his strengths and pursue his passion for art” says Liz. “He is now studying at the university of his choice and hopes to continue pursuing his true passion.”

M2E practitioner Gail McNelly, also echoes the benefits of a strength-based approach: “It’s about exploring new solutions alongside families, giving every member a chance to express themselves and feel listened to, giving them encouragement, hope and a new direction, for helping them to understand that without their time and input into this intervention none of this would be possible.”

Improving emotional wellbeing

Supporting with mental health and well-being also forms part of our holistic approach. With one in six people in England experiencing a mental health issue each week, it’s no surprise that we are working with a number of individuals and families in this position.

“It’s about exploring new solutions alongside families, giving every member a chance to express themselves and feel listened to, giving them encouragement, hope and a new direction.”

“We know that homelessness can affect someone’s mental health, we know that breakdown in relationships can affect someone’s mental health, we understand that. So, it is important to recognise it, because it can be a barrier for someone moving on, finding a job, it can be barrier in so many ways. And I think there’s nothing stronger than recognising and kind of accepting where you are to move forward. If you don’t recognise where you are, you can’t reform.” says Maria.

Many of the clients Kineara has worked with have mental health issues or concerns. “We have therapists and counsellors that have a knowledge of mental health, and we use different tools to assess somebody’s mental health and wellbeing and so we have got a fairly good understanding of identifying when somebody needs that support” says Maria.

Creating sustainable change 

So, can holistic working be applied to other forms of support? Drawing on her transition from social worker to FIP, and now Director of Kineara, Maria highlights the importance of understanding holistic support through practice. “As an organisation, you have to know what your call is. Not everyone does holistic support, neither does everyone have to. If your focus is rent, for example, you can provide that rent support but also think holistically. Recognise that there are other organisations that can support with intervention (on a holistic level). It’s about partnership.” says Maria.

Although holistic working is a specialism, it helps to recognise this approach, be aware of those other issues, and bring in specialist support as needed. “With Kineara, we’re the one that becomes that listening ear, that connector, that relationship-builder” says Maria. “We want the family and individual to tap into local resources and to sustain those changes that were made whilst they were in our service. So, when we step out, it helps the relationship between our partner (the referrer) and the client – and so a buy-in from everyone is important.”

Read more about Kineara’s programmes.

Posted by kineara in Impact, Latest, 0 comments
Our first parenting workshop at Redlands Primary School

Our first parenting workshop at Redlands Primary School

Yesterday, we ran our first parenting workshop for parents of children at Redlands Primary School, with 22 people taking part in the joint session.

Gail, who leads our M2E programme at the school, along with school colleagues facilitated a variety of activities focused on understanding child development, starting with a lively group discussion about what parenting means to them. So many different themes emerged, such as care, responsibility, togetherness and spending time, teaching and family. 

The workshop then explored national guidelines on stages of child development and the various stages of learning that children go through. The groups were encouraged to think about when they felt these stages would take place, and, as something to prepare for the next time, begin observing and taking note of the different development stages they witness in their own child, to support their parenting techniques.

 

Posted by kineara in Education
Young Foundation meets Maria to talk #ReimaginingRent

Young Foundation meets Maria to talk #ReimaginingRent

Kineara’s director Maria Morgan recently sat down to talk to the Young Foundation about Reimagining Rent, the organisation’s new and unique programme designed to support the development of new ideas and solutions to the challenges facing tenants in the private rented sector.

The programme has been an opportunity to rethink how Kineara’s Rent Support Programme could work with and for tenants in private rented homes, many of whom are vulnerable and where evictions, insecurity and rising costs are impacting the wellbeing of so many.

Tell me a bit about Kineara, what do you do and what makes you unique?

Well, the name Kineara is a combination of two words that encompasses where we come from and the ethos we work within: Kin, denoting family and putting family first, and Eara, a Gaelic term meaning from the East, which refers to our beginnings in the east of London.

Kineara logo

What we do is intensive but purposeful. We work with families and individuals, providing holistic support and helping to mobilise services around them. We aim to establish meaningful connections between them and the services they need, whether they be related to housing, education or employment so that once Kineara has left we can ensure that the change is sustainable.

Since setting up in 2012, we’ve supported nearly one hundred households to stay in their homes and avoid eviction with our Rent Support Programme.

And what were you doing before you started Kineara? What inspired you to set it up?

I’m a social worker by trade. I left social work to work on a Family Intervention Project programme, 12-14 month intensive whole intervention programme, with Tower Hamlets Council. I was attracted to the programme because it reminded me of what social work is supposed to be about; being hands-on and out there and facilitating real change in behaviour.

It’s that project which inspired Kineara. It came from a chat with my manager at the time, Nikki Bradley and Andrea Baker (Poplar Harca), about creating a shorter intervention looking specifically at rent arrears, I went away from that conversation and created the RSP (Rent Support Programme).

We trialled the programme in 2011 and it seemed to work. Most people had paid back some if not all of their rent arrears. Due to the success of RSP, we decided to roll it out into a social enterprise, adapting the project to create a shorter term, 10-week form of family intervention to try to avoid housing tenants getting into rent arrears.

Although at the time I didn’t have any experience in business, in 2012 I become the Director of Kineara and it became its own entity in 2012 and was made into a viable social enterprise. The Bromley by Bow Centre’s Beyond Business Programme, supported us to develop the idea, write a business plan and pitch the idea to investors. Of the hundreds that apply to the programme every year, Kineara was shortlisted and given £10,000 to get the project off the ground.

What have been some of the biggest challenges for you personally, and for the organisation, so far?

I really value and appreciate grant funding. It is important that social enterprises and charities have access to financial support to work with society most complex challenges. Organisations like Kineara, that help support and empower people, who in turn help strengthen their own communities is how you sustain growth in every capacity.

However, I didn’t want Kineara to be solely dependent on grants, and developing a social enterprise that isn’t, can be challenging. But if you want something to last you need to think of ways to become more self-reliant. This is an on-going journey for Kineara.

So is your ambition to scale Kineara?

We’re still working in Tower Hamlets and in Hackney with our education programme. But we’re now also working with Southern Housing Group who have houses all over London. We’re branching out year by year.

We ultimately want the Rent Support Programme to run across the country. We want it to be in minds of housing associations and private landlords that evictions are costly and that this intervention can be both cost-saving as well as helping to tackle the homelessness crisis.

 

 

You can read the blog in full on the Young Foundation’s website.

 

 

Posted by kineara in Housing

Kineara’s 2017 Impact Report now available

For a growing social business like ours, tracking our progress and monitoring our impact has been one of our biggest challenges. So last year, we embarked on an evaluation process of all our programmes, and put together this Impact Report which collates all of the best of our work from the last few years. It was powerful for us to take stock of just how far we’ve come and we’re incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the residents we’ve worked with, as well as our partnerships which have been growing in strength.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of Kineara’s journey. We wouldn’t be here without you, and we continue to work with you to make the lives of the people we work with more supported, more stable, and more resilient.

Kineara Impact Report 2017

 

Download Kineara Impact Report 2017

 

Posted by kineara in Impact, Latest

We are hiring!

[Please note this has now closed. Please check in future for new vacancies.]

We are happy to announce that we are hiring!

Once again, we are growing our team and looking for another excellent experienced family support worker to help us grow our programmes and support more people to make change in their lives.

The purpose of the role is to provide a mixture of individual and group interventions with individuals, families, parents, children and young people with additional needs up to the thresholds for social care involvement to improve outcomes for families, individuals and children in vulnerable situations.

Are you passionate about delivering programmes improve wellbeing, tenancy security, employment outcomes, and educational achievement? Are you passionate about collaboration and partnership working? If so, we want to hear from you! You will find more information about the role here as well as details of how to apply.

The deadline for applications is Friday 20th October. We look forward to receiving your application!

 

Posted by kineara in Latest

Congratulations to Maria, SEUK’s Women’s Champion!

seuk-awards-2016-winnerWe are absolutely delighted to announce that last week, our director Maria Morgan was awarded the prize of Women’s Champion at Social Enterprise UK’s annual awards ceremony.

 

We can’t imagine a more deserving winner than Maria, who founded Kineara social enterprise in 2012 and has dedicated an incredible amount of energy, determination and love in creating what Kineara has become today.

 

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