Isabella’s Homes is a Mental Health Supported Accommodation Service for men and women living with long-term severe mental illness. People who use the service will be over the age of 18 to 65. They will be planning to return to independent living in the community following rehabilitation in hospital or residential care. The service will be staffed 24 hours per day and provide the onsite support to enable people who use the service to develop their community living skills. The service culture will focus on rehabilitation and recovery and the service will encourage people to live as independently as possible, with the goal of eventually acquiring their own tenancy.
Isabella’s Homes is to open its first mental health care home in October 2018. The business owner, Natasha, is new to the Black Country and needed help gaining the right contacts and making connections in areas such as recruitment, in order to find individuals with specific skills and qualifications. The organisation also wanted general growth support and advice, as well as wanting to gain connections within the local authority, to help them understand the local procurement process for the care sector.
BCGH signposted a number of relevant support programmes, as well as providing some key contacts related to her business needs. Jayne Shields, Business Support Manager at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, helped steer Natasha throughout the complete business side of her operation, allowing her to turn her vision into a reality.
Jayne said, “As the Chamber is a key delivery partner for the Black Country Growth Hub’s ERDF Funded AIM programme, Natasha was able to take advantage of 12 hours of funded support, including workshops and 1 to 1 advice”.
It was during a holiday in August 2017 I had the idea and vision for Isabella’s Homes, so I decided, along with my partner, who is a pharmacist, to move to the area and set up the business using my experience of ‘home treatment’ in the mental health care system
Natasha Spence, Owner, Isabella’s Homes
BCGH and Black Country Chamber of Commerce worked with Isabella’s Homes to help the business access several recruitment agencies, as a result the organisation has now appointed a registered manager, as well as an apprentice.
Natasha found the one to one mentoring particularly helpful, this allowed her to make a wider connection within the local community and she has improved her confidence while networking as a result.
With the help of the BCGH and its partners, Isabella’s Homes now has a strong team and Natasha is excited and hopeful that her home in Wolverhampton will be the first of many across the region.
She concluded, “The commissioning team in Walsall are already looking at the possibility of a similar home in their authority and I am working with a number of council authorities and mental health experts across the Black Country to take my business model into their areas.”
“The support I have received from the Growth hub has been first class, I have met so many interesting people which has allowed me to grow my business.”