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.

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