One of the main purposes of social innovation is to improve the lives of people in vulnerable situations using social means. This Award honours innovative approaches in the delivery of social services to provide better quality services that meet the needs of people who require care and support.
A new multiagency hub developed in Glasgow bringing together a wide range of services under one roof supporting people experiencing homelessness, radically changing the experience and outcomes for people often excluded from services. From the outset prospective users of the facility were involved in its design and delivery, ensuring that a real sense of care, compassion, personal value was present in every aspect of the service’s outcomes. Several agencies were brought together to work collaboratively with the team to become part of the culture, approach and delivery of personalised services. Simon Community worked for over two years with people in need of their services and partners to design the services and space. The Access Hub plays a key part in reducing rough sleeping in Glasgow, accessing safe and rapid access accommodation for people vulnerable to rough sleeping. Since lockdown the Simon Community Rough Sleepers and Vulnerable People Team, which centres around the Access Hub, has been instrumental in reducing and maintaining rough sleeping to single figures in the city.
As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, Fostering First Ireland (FFI) had to review and change its in-person practices to recruit foster carers, to ensure ongoing availability of fostering families for vulnerable children throughout the pandemic. Within one month, FFI completely revamped its service delivery to operate all stages of the process fully online. Innovative training means were introduced with fostering applicants including online group training, the use of virtual reality training -in partnership with Antser, an agency dedicated to creating human centred connections- and incorporating ‘virtual children’ into assessment learning. Support and supervision were offered to social workers adapting to changes in practice. These innovations were evaluated, feedback was sought from service users and staff at all stages of the process, and the changes integrated into FFI’s recruitment and assessment team practices. The changes resulted in FFI increasing the number of carers by 15%.
The ratio of adults aged 25–64 who participate in lifelong learning is very low in Hungary. This project aimed to incentivize adults with low qualifications, without any competence or professional qualification required, to participate in education and training to provide an opportunity for them to acquire qualifications, knowledge, skills and competences relevant for the labour market. Due to the severe social, mental and/or health-related problems to be experienced in the target audience and to enhance the efficiency of training, personalized mentoring services are available for participants in all 18 counties. 108,363 individuals have been involved in the project until 31st December 2021 of which 96,357 have completed it successfully. The lessons learnt have provided the basis for a new project which will encompass further human services, the development of which is under way.
LGNetEA was put in place to support legally resident migrants and their families in Bolzano (Italy), housed in temporary or night shelters or leaving structured reception paths. This is a multi-disciplinary project team, involving both public and private social workers, aiming to find inclusive housing quickly to prevent the social marginalisation and prevent individual precariousness of the beneficiaries. To promote access to the private property market and move away from informal accommodation, the project foresaw the need for tailored education, providing support paths and personal tutoring and mentoring; and implementing measures to support rental and housing autonomy. The project includes a thematic awareness-raising campaign and the realization of brochures and video interviews about housing integration to build mutual understanding and cohesion between the local community and the beneficiaries of the project.
The Family Card was developed to support social services beneficiaries to use it at any shop to buy food and hygiene products. Managed by local social services, the family receives monthly a card which allows them to purchase the goods they need based on their own choices. This innovative project was developed as a response to the social crisis generated by Covid-19 and had the political agreement of the entire city council. It takes a human rights approach and aims to eliminate stigmatisation linked to people queuing for food at food banks and provide autonomy and dignity. The initiative is integrated within the wider city’s strategic social services actions and involves various government departments to simplify procedures and enable continuous monitoring.
When dealing with accidents suffered by older people or people with dependency needs, the most common question that relatives and social workers ask themselves is: what if we had arrived earlier? Fuenlabrada’s social services developed a programme to help them assess the routines of people in their homes thanks to the use of sensors and artificial intelligence. Once the routines have been analysed, anomalies can be detected in real time and the reasons behind them assessed. Every time an anomaly is detected, a message is sent to the individual’s relative so that they can analyse the situation and take early action accordingly, anticipate possible risk situations, and thus preventing the further deterioration and dependence of older people or people with disabilities. This initiative is implemented in the framework of actions to support people who wish to live at home.