Blackpool homes scheme is a one stop help shop

Official open day for Jobs Friends and Houses.  Apprentice Sam Lowry shows around PCC Clive Grunshaw.

Official open day for Jobs Friends and Houses. Apprentice Sam Lowry shows around PCC Clive Grunshaw.

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A new lettings agency with a social conscience is aiming to be a one stop shop for some of the most vulnerable people in Blackpool.

JFH Lettings has been launched by award-winning social enterprise Jobs, Friends and Houses run by police sergeant Steve Hodgkins.

And nurses, police officers, and financial advisors are all on hand to help the tenants.

JFH Lettings has teamed up with Lancashire Constabulary, the Citizens Advice Blackpool, the Delphi Medical, the Wellness Service, and Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Credit Union.

It has its own full-time police officer working from its Church Street offices – in a national first for a police force or lettings agency.

A second serving police officer has now been seconded from Lancashire Police to work with the organisation. PC Steve Jones will work as lettings support manager for the new scheme.

He said: “This is a move away from ‘traditional’ police work of catching and convicting criminals. Instead, by working with marginalised or vulnerable tenants we can actively prevent problems and support people to live positive, meaningful lives.

“This in turn protects landlords and neighbours as our properties will be respected, cared for and occupied by happy, productive people. Prevention of problems is always better than cure.”

Delphi Medical will have staff providing nursing support one day a week from the Church Street office’s custom built medical room.

Also supporting improved wellbeing will be health trainers from the Blackpool Wellness Service, providing outreach services from JFH Lettings base every Tuesday.

Mike Barry, of Credit Union, said: “We commend JFH in its wish to deliver not only a stable home, but a full support package including helping its tenants into financial inclusion, better money management, responsible savings and affordable credit.”

Karon Brown, head of clinical and nursing services for Delphi Medical, explained why they were getting involved.

She said: “Growing evidence indicates that people living in unsatisfactory housing in Blackpool tend to experience the most marginalisation or isolation, compounding poor health expected outcomes.

“Jobs, Friends and Houses has developed a unique lettings agency with an outreach tenancy support offer and wrap-around support for people living in privately rented properties who are generally claimants of benefits.

“We will proactively work with these people to improve health.”