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PHU Overview and provider comments


Who is the programme for?
What units are there?

Some feedback from our providers

“The introduction of the PHU has given the service extra focus …… the units fit well into meaningful occupation. We do not allow the service users to just do nothing and so the units fulfil that role of engagement.”

“For new service users they have helped to break down the barriers and have been a useful tool in getting to know the client and understanding where they are at in terms of development”

Church Housing Action Team, Tiverton

 “The structure of the units and the associated framework fits naturally into the provision and there should be a seamless union. We use the units as part of the structure of our interventions; for example, when there are problems with rent arrears we introduce the budgeting unit as a response… “
Exeter Foyer.

“The units are a good tool to focus the service user on issues that are pertinent to their development. When things arise that need to be tackled, we can use the units as the vehicle for engagement in the issues.”
Devon and Cornwall Housing Association

“I enjoy delivering the units and working with the service users towards achievement. I can see the benefits for the clients… Using the units makes it easier to deliver certain parts of the service as it provides a framework, a structure and a focus for engagement.”
Community Projects North Devon

“The programme has had an impact on the work we do in the hostel, it has fleshed out the role of worker and expanded engagement. The engagement is more meaningful. Relationships between worker and service user have been built more quickly and are subtly different than before.”

 “The PHU programme is the only programme that has actually worked… We are moving towards putting the units directly into the fabric of the service we provide”

“Clients are looking for staff, sticking to appointments and being on time. They are showing a pride in their achievement. They love receiving the certificates, we laminate them and they are displaying them in their rooms.”

Shilhay, Exeter

“The development is most noticeable in those SU who would not readily engage. Those who would normally not ask questions. In this instance there is a social development in the fact that they actively engage with the support workers asking questions etc… because they are doing it themselves there is a feeling of empowerment.”

 “It has also led to greater service user contact, because the service users who are doing the units will seek out their support worker at times not set for support or review and engage with issues around the units…. We have taken the step of writing the units into the house rules.”

MAGNA Housing Association, Exeter

"Dorset Probation Area recognise the value of PHUs in providing offenders with the skills to sustain a tenancy and contribute to reducing their likelihood of reoffending."
Dorset Probation

"I am really keen to see a wide take up of the PHU's, as they serve as an excellent objective guideline for determining not only if someone is ready for move on, but what move on is most appropriate"
Housing Needs Manager, ECC

An Overview
The PHU's are a fully accredited and tested training option for application in the housing/accommodation/resettlement sector that cover the areas of supported accommodation and healthy lifestyle.  The units were originally conceived out of a frustration in not finding a suitable training package for hard to reach and often reluctant learners, who by the very nature of their situation were not going to access, or react well to mainstream options but whose needs could be met by a programme designed to accredit and build on existing skills, and provide a framework for their development as tenants.

As an integration of proven educational ideas and process, delivered in the arena of social care and development, the programme tackles many barriers to education and provides an opportunity for staff to hone and develop their skills and knowledge base, whilst, also providing a management tool and quality indicator. 

At the core of the programme are ten units that focus on the basic skills, knowledge and understanding that underpin the ability to sustain a tenancy and develop a health lifestyle in a supported environment and aid the process of move on to independence.

Written with the needs of clients, staff and agencies in mind the units are straightforward and applicable to a wide range of ability, situations and locations and can be delivered to groups, or to individuals in one to one sessions. Designed to be user friendly, delivered and assessed by front-line workers who have a relationship of trust and understanding.  

The programme is unit accredited so a "student" will receive a certificate for each unit they achieve as they achieve them. This allows the student and worker to choose the most applicable unit or units to work on from the "menu" and encourages a rapid accredited recognition of achievement. 

Amber provides a complete package of staff training and programme supervision, student learning materials/resources, and registration, verification and certification of the achieved units. As well as access to further training opportunities and units. 

The content of the units are real to life and cover aspects essential to the "student", they feel relevant and normal and in the process of their achievement reading, writing and   language skills are naturally improved.

The flexibility of the programme in terms delivery, student output and assessment methods ensures that both delivery staff and the student are encouraged to take a creative approach based on equality and dialogue.  The structure of the programme also promotes peer education and community involvement.

PHU’s are currently being used by a range organisations, including housing providers and associated support networks, probation and prisons.

Who is the programme for?

The Client

•    The programme is designed to be delivered to clients in a wide range of situations and locations.
•    Typically these clients are in housing with support, hostels or institutions.
•    Underpinning the structure of the programme is the premise that some people through no lack of their own have missed out on the period of their lives where the common skills, knowledge and understanding many of us share was not picked up. This lack, in the arena of housing leaves them vulnerable and often their tenancies when acquired are quickly at risk or unsustainable.
•    The programme can be applied to all age ranges and situations, being delivered to match need.
•    Client development and progress is recognised and rewarded through the achievement of accreditation and certification.

The worker

•    Provides a structured approach to engaging the client in their core needs in reference to sustainable move on.
•    Enhances and develops their skills and knowledge base.
•    Recognises and accredits the work achieved through their interaction.
•    Provides common currency between providers and networking opportunities.

The agency

•    Provides management information.
•    Further quality indicator.
•    Process safety net.
•    Enhanced service.
•    Innovative approach.

What units are there?

There are ten core units and each unit is “unit accredited”.
Resettlement Issues                                
This unit aims to explore the issues that face a service user when considering the process of resettlement and or settlement. From this exploration a development plan is formed and the appropriate units to address their needs are identified.

Budgeting and Debt Management.                        
This unit develops the skills of budgeting and requires the service user to plan and keep to budget for a negotiated period of time.

Finding Accommodation                            
This unit explores the process of finding suitable accommodation and develops the skills, knowledge and understanding required to secure the placement.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet                            
This unit focuses on cooking, storing and preparing food as well as the minimum components of a healthy diet.

Developing Community Knowledge                        
This unit is designed to enable service users to identify what services are available within the community to meet their needs.

Planning for Education, Training and Employment.            
This unit requires the service user to design and follow an action plan to engage with agencies and services that support education, training and employment.

Maintaining a Tenancy/with Support                       
This unit explores the nature of maintaining a tenancy, rights and responsibilities and in the community the service user will maintain the landlord requirements and standards over a monitored period.

Managing Utility Accounts                            
In this unit the service user explores how to set up and manage accounts. The service user is also required to budget for the payments.

Managing the receipt of Social Benefits                    
This unit is about process, procedure, rights and responsibilities.

Safety and Risk management in the home                    
For this unit the service user must assess, plan and maintain safety for a monitored period. They will also explore aspects that focus on their own behaviour.

A client can achieve one or all ten units and will receive a certificate for each one.


Amber Foundation, Intercity Trading Estate, Shurnhold, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 8DE, Charity Number: 1051388
Company Number 03004111     Email:     Tel: 01225 792619

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