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In 2017 Lifeways SIL won the contract to deliver mental health supported Living at Wigan Council’s new 26 flat scheme at Hardy Butts in Wigan. Opening in 2017 SIL provides specialist recovery-focused support to people with enduring mental health needs in partnership with Wigan council and Inclusion housing CiC

Community involvement – getting out and about, meeting local people and building relationships – is a key part of the recovery journey with SIL, and everyone supported by SIL is encouraged to develop meaningful ties to their local environment and community. Prior to lockdown, the residents at Hardybutts had little contact with their neighbours apart from the occasional hello. But lockdown created an opportunity for them to come together, start talking and help each other out.

Service Manager Kathryn Marshall said, “Everyone was really keen to show their appreciation for the NHS, and their key workers, so we all started going outside on a Thursday for the Clap for Carers. That’s how it started really. We’d see the same neighbours each week, stay for a chat after the clapping, start finding out things about their lives. It became a really nice weekly catch up – and a much needed bit of social interaction each week.

Tenants held a party on VE Day (making sure they were social distancing), and made a cake that was shared with neighbours. We even started having a singalong each week with a karaoke machine outside the building! It was great fun. As lockdown continued, we all pulled together to make sure everyone was ok and had everything they needed. One neighbour is a huge fan of liquorice allsorts but couldn’t get hold of them anywhere. We managed to track some down – she was delighted! We’re on first name terms now with most of our neighbours and it has been a pleasure getting to know them.”

Jo Cunniff, quality Performance Office at Wigan Council, said, “It’s brilliant to see how everyone has come together and supported each other. It’s a really lovely service, and to see such a great community spirit is really wonderful.”

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