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Before joining Look Ahead

We have worked with both our staff and our customers to give you some guidance about what you can expect when you join our services.
Kevin, a customer with his Support Worker Alfred

We understand you might feel a bit unsure or apprehensive about joining one of our services, especially if you haven’t received support before.

We provide over 100 services; they are all different and each and every person we work with is unique. This means everyone’s time and experience with Look Ahead will be different, so in this section, we will try to provide you with general guidance about what you might expect. We will also let you know where you can find out more specific information.

People are put in touch with our services by different organisations – this is known as the referral process. You will often be referred to us by your local council or health trust. When you have been referred, we will try to meet you, usually at the service.

Meeting with you before you join us will give you a chance to talk to our staff about your needs and what you want to achieve while you are with us. It also gives us the chance to make sure that our service is the right place to offer you the support you need. This is known as an assessment.

As part of the assessment, you will have the chance to meet with Look Ahead staff, as well as other people that may already be involved in your support – for example, your Care Coordinator, Social Worker or someone from your Leaving Care or Outreach Team.  Sometimes these meetings can also include other people that are important to you – for example, a family member if you are happy for them to be involved.

Visiting your service

If you are moving into a service, you may have the chance to spend time there beforehand, possibly even spending a night there, especially if you are coming to us after a long time in hospital or a care home for example. This is a chance to get an idea of what it may be like to live there.

Sometimes we are not always able to meet every person before they come to our services. Don’t worry, we’ll talk to you about this if this is the case for you. When you do join the service we will spend time with you, getting to know you and talking about how we are going to work together to provide the support you need.

Our support is about helping people to be as independent as possible. To do this, we support people around the different needs they might have.

We might support you to manage a mental health need or live independently with a learning disability. You might have a drug or alcohol problem you need support with or need help to manage your money, develop essential life skills or manage a home.

If you have never received support before, we will spend time with you to help you understand how it works and to help you feel comfortable.

Length of time with us

How long each person spends at our services depends on their needs and also what the service can provide. For most people, it will be up to two years – for many it will be far shorter but for some, for example, people with learning disabilities or very high needs, this might well be longer.

In most cases, our services are not permanent, and we won’t support you forever. They are a stepping stone, where you can get the help and support you need, to move on to the next more independent stage of your life.

Making the most of your support

We are here to support you in whatever way we can and we are committed to helping you succeed. However, we can’t do this for you, so we need you to be open to the support on offer, come to support sessions and work with us, so we can help you to get the most out of your time with us.