Councillors have approved plans for proposals for Nottinghamshire’s first KeyRing network to be developed.
KeyRing networks typically consist of nine people with learning disabilities or mental health issues living within walking distance of one another.
They are joined by a “community living volunteer”, who also lives nearby and can help out with reading letters, bills and similar challenges. Their rent is often subsidised by KeyRing.
There are more than 100 KeyRing networks nationwide across more than 50 local authority areas.
A Nottinghamshire County Council report states if the authority were to establish a network, they could save £70,000 over three years.
The report adds, ‘the network would give “greater independence for individuals and higher self-esteem, associated with peer support”. Some of the risks outlined in the report include the availability of “appropriately located, reasonable quality and affordable housing” and finding volunteers.’
A council spokesman said the authority is “looking at all the options” with regards to subsidising rent for volunteers, who the council say may or may not be paid.
The spokesman added: “The benefits of the scheme is that it gives more independent living opportunities to people with low level needs so effectively places people in the right setting for their needs while providing the council with a saving as this option will be cheaper than more intensive supported living schemes and will free up places in these schemes for people with more complex needs currently in residential homes.”
KeyRing’s support is based on people living in their own homes but sharing their skills and talents with each other and with their communities.
There is a volunteer in each Network. The volunteer sees Members regularly and helps the group work together. The volunteer is like a good neighbour who will help out if difficulties arise. Because the volunteer lives in the community, they know what’s going on and are able to help Members make links.
There are also Community Support Workers and Supported Living Managers who make sure that Members get the support they need.
KeyRing believes that Community Connections are very important. They encourage people to make good links in their neighbourhood. Members have saved lives, campaigned for street lights and run neighbourhood improvement campaigns.