Brokerage & Information
This service assists people who are vulnerable - perhaps because of a learning or physical disability, a mental health problem or old age - and who are eligible for funding from social services.
Our Brokerage & Information team helps clients to make the most of this funding by working with clients to draw up a support plan that identifies the help they need and how to access it.
The help could include hiring a personal assistant, for instance, or getting help from other charities or organisations. The aim of the Brokerage service is to promote maximum independence for people.
The service works in the same way that any other brokerage service does (for example, an insurance or holiday broker) in that it will help match clients’ needs and preferences against the available options. However, it is an entirely free and independent service and is run for people living in South Gloucestershire.
One client it helped recently was a woman who has cystic fibrosis and chronic lung disease. With the service’s help, she hired a personal assistant for eight hours a week to assist her with daily chores which allows her to leave the house to socialise. This gave her partner a break from looking after her.
People receiving personal budgets from social services, or social workers who help them, are welcome to contact the Brokerage service on 0117 967 5254. The Brokerage service is commissioned by South Gloucestershire Council, which funds it.
See our video section for two videos about the service and its work.
One person helped by our Brokerage and Information Service is Georghie, who uses a wheelchair and is partially sighted; she also has learning difficulties.
Georghie is an active person who would like to work or socialise every day. But when DHI began supporting her in July 2010 Georghie was spending several days a week at home with little to do, having had to give up her college course after her funding ran out.
DHI’s keyworker, Francesca, worked with Georghie to draw up a support plan so that she could become more involved in activities.
Francesca put her in touch with the organisers of Fired Up, a series of pottery workshops in Pucklechurch run by the Brandon Trust charity for people with learning difficulties. She has also started attending Smile, a friendship club, and Young and Free, a group of people with disabilities who meet regularly.
“Things are heading in the right direction,” said Georghie. “I wouldn’t have found out about things like Smile without DHI’s help. I’m much more active than I was a year ago - I really hate not being able to go out, so that’s brilliant.” DHI has also helped to arrange transport for her.
Georghie also keeps in touch with friends using her laptop, which Brokerage helped her to buy using her direct payment from her local council. This helps her to keep in touch with her friends so she doesn’t feel isolated. Our photo shows Georghie and Francesca discussing progress.
Outside of her support plan Georghie makes the most of her free time by working in a cafe at Grimsbury Farm in Kingswood and going to rugby matches with her father. Her biggest thrill was being taken on to the stage to sing along with Ronan Keating at a concert in Colston Hall.