Positive Support for You

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Positive Support for You is a CIC which operates throughout the North East of England. It supports people with a learning disability; autism and/ or challenging behaviour to live a meaningful and quality life in the community. Some people have spent up to 10 years in Assessment and Treatment unit beds in hospitals – who didn’t need to be there, unable to live a full life in this institutional setting. Prior to PSFY being established in 2010 there was a commissioning gap in the area for person-centred support providers. There was a revolving door into hospitals as placements in the community were failing. People were frequently moved around and had no control.

PSFY generates positive outcomes for people across a wide range of areas, through its person-centred support:

  • housing: maintaining a tenancy and living successfully in home
  • mental health and well-being: reduction in frequency and intensity of challenging behaviour. Increased choice and control over lives. Building stronger relationships with families
  • Citizenship: active participation in the community
  • Employment: people undertaking training and work based activity
  • Value for money: reducing number of hours of support needed through building people’s confidence and spending much needed time on their own.

Growth Fund

PSFY couldn’t get funding from banks. “We wouldn’t be here without Big Issues Invest”.

The GF investment was used for cash flow and in order to make prompt payments – as there is a gap in delivering the commissioned, contracted work and getting paid for it.

They are now a “better organised business and more financially sustainable”. BII were also “a good, critical friend”. Going through the process itself was very beneficial for PSFY and helped them to explore and answer questions they wanted to be able to answer. “we are an ethically driven organisation not run by a business person”. The relationship was a strong aspect of success.

Reach Fund

RF grant was utilised for reorganising financial management and accountancy support. They were practically able to set up Sage Accounts Software which was something they’d never been able to do previously. “the back office was able to catch up with the front”. This was really important for helping with long-term sustainability.


PSFY are currently working with NHS England to build the case and encourage local authorities to commission smaller providers to undertake transforming care. There is a wider role for Social Investment in developing these businesses & people will need support in the business sense. There is a gap in the market.

Dave Barras, Positive Support for You Chief Executive said

“In 2018 we needed funding for our cash flow – to cover the gap that many organisations face in delivering commissioned contracts and receiving payment for them. We explored high street banks and other options but this type of funding simply wasn’t available. Then we thought about social investment and through closely working with Big Issue Invest were able to secure an investment from them of £25,000. This investment has enabled us to make prompt payments and continue our work in the North East supporting people with a learning disability to live a meaningful and quality life in the community” 

Big Issue Invest are supported by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, through the Growth Fund programme with funding provided by The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital