Over the past few years we have managed to overcome some major issues, one of which was the much needed refurbishment of our current workplace. During the previous financial year we were pleased to confirm that Clwyd Alyn Housing Association Ltd. continued to maintain and upgrade the project here at Norfolk House.
The main construction work was completed and Touchstones12 have been successfully managing the newly refurbished property for more than twelve months. Importantly, Touchstones12 has been operating successfully throughout this financial year in the newly refurbished building. In general we believe that the project has taken on a new life and provided a good centre of diversity to the local area providing residential rehabilitation, conference facilities, meeting rooms and I.T. facilities. Frequently in excess of fifty people a day will pass through Norfolk House.
As predicted, once again this year the association with Clwyd Alyn Housing Ltd. has been positive. Foremost, financially we have seen the alleviation of statutory health and safety responsibilities and ongoing maintenance costs. In order to protect the interests of the Board, the organisation and the general public from any unnecessary liabilities we have continued to employ the services of an independent Health & Safety executive. . This year there is now a little more clarity with regard to projective budgets and strategic requirements which will be included in our updated three year business plan. In the new business plan we will be including some recent and new initiatives like the introduction of the transitional move-on option for residents and furthermore the introduction of a possible respite package for people who want a short term stay of abstinence. Both of these options will maximise occupancy levels and importantly create more flexible options for service users. This year, in line with the recommendations from a number of major National reports, Touchstones12 will continue the current initiative for creating a more flexibly working project for service users.
Again this year we have managed to engage local authority interest and successfully secured funding for a number of clients on a trial basis. In the year ahead there is again a need to assess the practice of accepting clients from outside Wales on a funded basis to ensure that the practice is logistically viable with regard to reinstating clients back to their own areas. It is important to engage with other services and ensure that exit strategies and pathways are more clearly defined to help reintegrate people back to more familiar areas; which, in practice, we are aware is not an easy or quick process.
On the home front, we are still working towards becoming a registered centre here at Norfolk House. However, again this year we find the accreditation process is still being redeveloped which means that we are unable to proceed with our application for the time being. We are confident that we will achieve registration as soon as the new procedure has been finalized by the Welsh Government.
Again, as noted in previous years, Touchstones12 do have the potential to provide single or block bed-space to a major service provider. Block bed-space booking will be more realistically viable when Touchstones12ís registration status is verified in the near future. Further, Touchstones12 has the facility to provide cost effective services for prospective funders.
Looking to the future
In line with previous years, Touchstones12ís future plans will be shaped by changes in the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) funding stream. Other considerations lie ahead in the form of thespending strategy changes and subsequent spending cuts. It is important that we remain realistic and focused on the fact that changes in government strategy will play a major role in shaping the future practice of this organisation. In the wider sense it is possible that Touchstones12 will experience the effects of even more cuts and strategic changes from other agencies in the shape of changing referrals patterns. Touchstones12, like other agencies, is always sensitive to what is happening in more front- line services. At this point we remain optimistic about the future.
Again, the support team has worked hard this year to provide both continuity and stability. Touchstones12 is fortunate to have a very committed team. This year again the Board of Management has been instrumental in providing support and advice. The year-end accounts continue to show an improving picture which demonstrates the organisationís ability to manage the budgets. To date Touchstones12 is building a formidable track record of excellence.
Occupancy records for the year were generally very good. As always our clients tend to select themselves on the basis of being detoxified and ready to engage. Since 2006 the project has engaged and worked with in excess of four hundred people in North Wales and surrounding areas. Much of our client group is built on a word of mouth basis from what we could term as our wider extended family. It is evident that many individuals who attend the project will not be far removed from someone who has previously attended the project. To demonstrate this connection our client group has included members of the same family, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives. Often it becomes clear that referrals have evolved from contact with former residents.
Again this year we have built on the relationship with our new managing partner and spent quality time with many of the other agencies in our field of work. It is clear that Touchstones12 has carved a productive niche in the regional support network across North Wales. To demonstrate this position Touchstones12 receives referrals from the NHS, Probation, DIP, CDAS, Social Services, NACRO, Local GP and self referral.
In the year ahead we plan to build an evidence based work profile from our client group to demonstrate how cost effective it is to engage a client at the project, comparative to the individual being serviced in the community. Effectively Touchstones12 is saving local communities considerable amounts of money by providing cost effective services. Many of our service users have been engaged with multiple services in the community in excess of ten years. In one example, a service user accessed detoxification services thirteen times which effectively amounts to a considerable sum of money. One main objective this year will be to try to encourage convergent funding from regional local authorities.