Better Pathways for adults and young people with mental health problems
Better Pathways is a not-for-profit organisation which engages with adults and young people experiencing mental health problems on their pathway to recovery. We provide employment, education, training and volunteering services to support clients in our local communities of Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley and Coventry. We use a person-centred approach, which means that our clients are equal partners in planning and developing the services that we put in place to support them.
We think that local organisations like ours play such an important role within their local communities and Better Pathways has been providing employment and training services for people with mental health problems in the Birmingham area for more than 50 years. You may have heard of us as BITA Pathways; we changed our name in 2017 to better reflect the positive role we play in supporting people on their pathway to recovery.
We support more than a thousand people a year within our wide range of employment, education, training and volunteering services. We know how important the right type of work is to our clients and so we run a number of social enterprises ourselves. These are businesses which have a social purpose, which is to provide a safe and supportive environment to both employ and train our clients. And all surplus revenue from our social enterprises is invested back into the Better Pathways charity.
As a registered charity you can be confident that if you are spending money with us by commissioning services, buying our products or donating money, then we will invest it to provide the best service we can for our clients.
Thank you to the Lloyds Bank volunteers for helping us get our allotment ready for the summer.
This is the second year in a row they have helped out and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support. They worked hard and we thanked them with curry!
Alistair Mackie, Senior Manager for Private Banking Lending Managers at Lloyds Bank Group said “today was a great day for two reasons. One is the team-building element, and the other is doing work for the community. We were literally digging deep to help them! The most important aspect is working together and making a difference to the community.”
Mental health charities awarded contract to support Birmingham people with their recovery and into employment
Three of the region’s leading mental health charities have come together in a unique partnership which is set to support thousands of local people with their recovery and a move into meaningful employment; Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and Creative Support will work together to deliver the three-year NHS contract.
The newly-designed mental health recovery and employment services contract was awarded to the charities by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Birmingham, following a public consultation and procurement process last year. Starting in April 2018, these specialist services will be available to more than 2,500 local people with serious mental illness.
Lead provider, Better Pathways, has been providing employment and training services to people with mental ill-health in the West Midlands for more than 50 years.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this new contract on behalf of the Birmingham Joint Commissioning Team,” said Liz Armstrong, Better Pathways Chief Executive.
“This contract gives us an exciting platform to integrate the services offered by Better Pathways, Birmingham Mind and Creative Support, leveraging the expertise of three charities with a proven track record of supporting those with the most complex needs in our communities.
“We look forward to working closely together with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Forward Thinking Birmingham in supporting people on their journey of recovery.”
The new contract will see mental health recovery and employment services integrated and delivered under one banner, providing a seamless service for users.
Birmingham Mind and Creative Support will deliver the recovery elements of the programme, with Better Pathways delivering employment services through the individual placement and support model.
This new service will strongly recognise that recovery from a mental health issue is different for everyone. Some individuals will be keen to get into employment, whilst others will benefit from socialising with peers, developing new interests and taking a roll in actually running the centres; one size does not fit all when it comes to recovery.
Local GP and NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG’s lead for mental health, Dr Aqil Chaudary, added: “The specialist support provided by this service will offer a range of practical assistance to individuals with serious mental illness and will be invaluable in helping local people, who have struggled with mental ill health, back into employment.”
Better Pathways is delighted to welcome Dr Martin Commander to our Board of Directors. Martin is a Consultant Psychiatrist and has significant experience of supporting people with mental health problems within our local community.
You can read more about him on our ‘Board of Directors’ page by clicking here
Better Pathways is looking for some sponsorship that will allow us purchase a new minibus for our members. So we decided to sit a few of them down to ask them where they like to go, and what it would mean for them…
Better Pathways towards employment
At Better Pathways, we know the value of good employment to mental well-being. And we make sure that our clients have access to all the education, training and volunteering opportunities they need in order to prepare themselves for the world of work.
Over 50 years ago the Birmingham Industrial Therapy Association (BITA) was founded to provide what used to be called “industrial Therapy” for people with mental health problems. Today the focus has changed a little; Better Pathways still provides a great range of employment opportunities within our social enterprises but we also know that this isn’t the right answer for everyone.
Most people want a job that is local to them, where they are valued and where they can use their skills and knowledge. To provide this type of opportunity for all our clients we need to work with a wide range of employers, make sure that our clients have the right skills and qualifications in place and have opportunities to test and develop those skills in an unpressured environment..
“work has an important role in promoting mental wellbeing. It is an important determinant of self-esteem and identity. It can provide a sense of fulfilment and opportunities for social interaction.”
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence ‘Mental Wellbeing at Work’ 2009.
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