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in Nacro housing

Nacro appoints new Housing Director

Joanne Drew
Joanne Drew joined Nacro in September 2013 as its new Director of Housing. A highly accomplished strategic leader and experienced senior housing executive, Joanne has previously worked across a wide range of not-for-profit and public organisations, including local authorities, housing associations and charities.

Housing is an essential part of Nacro’s business and Joanne joins at an exciting time in the organisation’s history as it seeks to further grow, diversify and innovate its housing offer across England and Wales. Joanne will be driving Nacro’s plans for housing growth, talking to commissioners across the country and developing and maintaining effective partnerships.

If you would like to find out more about Nacro housing or how we could help your business meet its requirements, please contact Joanne on 020 7840 7226 or at

Much more than just a roof

Nacro’s housing services work with many people with complex needs – transforming their lives and transforming outcomes for communities. Many people will arrive at Nacro with more than one need, for example, they might be dependent on alcohol or have a mental health problem as well as having nowhere to live, and unless these issues are tackled effectively, they can prevent people from achieving permanent change in their lives. So at Nacro we do much more than just house: we provide support, we teach, we advise and we challenge behaviour.

Our housing services help people to develop independent living skills, enabling them to foster the know-how and stability they need to bring about lasting change in their lives. Our staff also work closely with statutory agencies, treatment services and welfare agencies to tackle any other needs a person might have and to ensure positive links are developed with the local community.

We believe that accommodation and support is much more than a place to live and a support plan: it is about equipping each individual with the skills, attitude and self-belief they need to go on to live a sustainable, independent and positive life in their community. Our Move In, Move On ethos encourages those using our services to think and act for themselves, and we offer a range of positive activities and training designed to develop an individual’s skills and self-confidence.

There are also many opportunities to get involved within Nacro, including the chance to train as a peer mentor to others in Nacro, become a member of Nacro’s Service User Council, act as a tenant representative or run a service user led work programme. We are also developing housing products designed to give our residents a stake in a long-term stable home. This helps to support and promote aspiration and build security for the future.

But most importantly, we encourage people to engage with their own community and to get involved in activities in their neighbourhood, so that they not only build confidence in themselves but also in the environment in which they will live, and ultimately contribute to, in the future. This is part of our commitment to social inclusion.

Our housing work in action

Longden House is a Nacro supported housing scheme located in a leafy suburb of South Manchester. Comprising 10 self-contained flats and with round-the-clock staffing, the scheme offers safe and secure short-term accommodation and intensive support services for vulnerable women who are at risk of homelessness or offending.

Women who come to Longden House often crave stability. Many have chaotic lives and a range of deep-rooted problems, whether to do with drink or drugs, domestic abuse, mental health, sexual health, offending behaviour or loss of contact with their children or family.

With our accommodation offering that much needed stability, our staff are then able to successfully provide interventions on a wide range of issues such as money management, managing a tenancy, personal safety, mental health, anger management and conflict resolution – giving women the confidence and skills they need to address the issues that are affecting their lives and ultimately to embark on a journey of change to achieve independent living in the community.

Nacro support, which includes service user led group work, is tailored to each woman’s needs, with the underlying aim of reducing the likelihood of offending and helping those accessing the service to integrate successfully into the community.

At Longden, we deliver successful outcomes which help women to turn their lives around. Despite working with very chaotic and vulnerable women, 90% of the women did not reoffend once living at the project and out of the 10% who did, half of these women were able to turn things around whilst still living at the project.

And the success story looks likely to continue. Of our current residents at Longden, 75% are already engaged in meaningful daytime activity, 20% will move to their own local authority accommodation in the next month and of the remaining residents, 60% are actively bidding for housing and all others are addressing previous problems with housing which have been identified as a barrier to them moving on.

So if you know someone or work with someone whom you think you would benefit from our service, please get in touch. We accept referrals from prisons, probation, drug, alcohol and health services. Women are also able to refer themselves in some circumstances. For more information contact Carol Flynn, Team Manager at

Some of our success stories

Nacro provides housing services in many different types of communities across England and Wales. Our services also work with many different types of people: single people, vulnerable women, young people, offenders and those at risk of offending, to name but a few. Because we know no two people are the same, we also work in lots of different ways with people, and this is why we get such great results. Here’s a snapshot of our work in action.

Chrystal’s story

Chrystal came to Nacro’s housing project in Nottingham in April 2012 after being excluded from her parental home due to ongoing arguments and tension between Chrystal and her mother. The resettlement support scheme helps young people in the city until they are ready to be rehoused and provides them with the support they need to become independent. When Chrystal moved into Nacro’s housing, she was very upset about the poor relationship she had with her mother and found it hard to deal with.

During Chrystal’s time with Nacro she has made great progress. When asked about how Nacro has helped her, Chrystal says, ‘I’ve learnt to be independent, how to look after myself and live in the real world. I can now manage my own money … and have learnt more about myself. My relationship with my mum has improved a lot. My support sessions helped with this – talking to the support workers about it put it all into reality. It made me realise that even though we’d fallen out and weren’t speaking, she was still my Mum. I now feel a lot happier and more positive.’

Chrystal has also learnt a lot through the work she’s got involved in within Nacro – becoming a young person’s representative, sitting in on service user advisory panel meetings in Nottingham and representing Nottingham on the Service User Council at Nacro’s head office in London. She says, ‘It’s good to see how things are done … and I can give feedback to Nacro from other service users. I would like to follow this up with becoming a Nacro young person’s mentor by being part of the buddy scheme for other young people when they move into Nacro.’

When asked about her goals and ambitions for the future, she said: ‘I will be turning 18 very soon, I will be eligible for re-housing via the local council and will be moving onto my first independent tenancy. I am excited and happy about this, although it is a bit scary, but I know I’ll be ok because Nacro has helped me to become independent so I can live on my own. I would like to settle into my own flat, finish my A levels and then focus on continuing my education at university to study fashion photography.’

Chrystal successfully completed the Nacro programme of support and moved on to her own independent tenancy with the local authority earlier this year.

Lee’s story

Lee was sleeping on his father’s sofa in a sheltered scheme after leaving prison with nowhere to go when his probation officer referred him to one of Nacro’s supported housing projects in Manchester. Lee’s aim was to return to work, but after being in custody he lacked confidence in himself. Lee identified this issue in his support plans and, working with his support worker and Nacro’s specialised service user involvement worker, created a range of opportunities, both national and local, to help him rediscover his talents.

To date, Lee has gained a certificate through doing an Eco building course with a local training organisation, spoken externally to a group of healthcare professionals about his experiences in prison and played an active part in Nacro’s service user involvement work, including attending local service user involvement groups, being voted house representative and sitting on the national Nacro Service User Council.

Lee says that the work Nacro has done with him has been all about enabling him to rebuild his confidence by offering new opportunities to him – both in and out of Nacro. Lee is now ready and eager to move into a new home to begin the next phase of his life. He now knows what he wants out of his future and has the confidence to follow it through. He has an appointment with a careers adviser to help him plan how to realise his new ambition of working in social care, and he is also training to become a peer mentor.

Championing service user involvement

Making the right decisions and working in partnership is key to Nacro’s success and this is as true whether it’s local partnerships, working to influence the national agenda, or involving service users in decision-making processes.

At Nacro we know that our service users have a lot to offer the organisation. So when Nacro decided to appoint a new Housing Director, we made sure that service users played an instrumental part in choosing who that should be.

To appoint the right person, we needed the right interview team: people with clear ideas and a deep insight into what an outstanding service looks like – and where better to find this team than the very people using Nacro’s services.

A panel of five service users spent the day interviewing prospective candidates using a list of questions they had compiled based on what they would like to see in Nacro’s Director of Housing. Afterwards service users joined members of staff who had also interviewed the candidates for the post to share their views.

As always, the last word goes to our team of five service users who became headhunters for the day: “It felt great to be part of the interview process…we really felt we had a part to play.”

Nacro Housing merges with Nacro

The Homes and Communities Agency has granted Nacro authority to proceed with the merging of Nacro’s housing entity, Nacro Commercial Enterprises (NCE) into Nacro. This means that going forward Nacro and NCE will be a single legal entity and that Nacro will be a registered provider.

Strategically we have always been clear that the consolidation of the two charities into a single streamlined entity is an important step in supporting our growth and in enabling us to deliver the best possible outcomes for our commissioners and service users. Operationally, there will be no change at all.

At Nacro we have written to all commissioners asking them to agree to novate all contracts held in the name of ‘Nacro Community Enterprises’ to ‘Nacro’ and we would request that if you have not yet completed this process that it be done as soon as possible.

Get in touch

Nacro’s housing services have a strong footprint across the country and we work at the heart of communities to ensure we meet local needs. If you or any of your team would like to find out more about what’s on offer in your area, we would be delighted to speak to you.

Paul Phillips
Head of Operations (Housing)
Tel: 07807 237156

Pamela Dodoo
Area Manager, North West
Tel: 0161 860 7444

Sara Jones
Area Manager, Midlands
Tel: 01522 525 383

Anne Newhall
Area Manager, Wales
Tel: 01248 679060

Dave Ormson
Operations Manager, London
Tel: 020 7840 6426