Support networks

Support networks

Lives built around people not services.

This is KeyRing’s original approach. Some 30 years on, it is still cited as innovative.

KeyRing network offers support through a trained team of staff and volunteers. It builds peer and community support options.

Each network has nine or more network Members (people we support) who live close by.

A network place offers:

Housing related support – Some people are stepping down from other services or are homeless. Others already have a home but are struggling with the responsibility.  We can support people to get housing in the network area or support them in their current property.

The property will always be in their name. It is not tied to their support.

Independent living skills - Skills to build or maintain independence. This could be budgeting, support with wellbeing or any number of things that move people further towards independence. 

Skills and talents sharing - Everyone has skills and talents. We ensure that each network Member recognises theirs and explores what they want to achieve. We connect people with other network Members and encourage them to share these skills.  This is called mutual support.

Community connection - We also connect people with their local community. People become good neighbours and explore the resources in their local community. Life is so much more than services.

Trained teams – Teams are trained to start with what people can do and explore how they can increase independence. We use outcomes star support planning tools to help us with this. Further support comes from local volunteers and hubs. Access to a 24/7 support line is also provided.

We also offer intensive support options and one to one hours.

Flexibility – the range of support options within the network model encourages network Members to think further than their support worker. They may call a friend if they are worried about something or visit their local café if they feel lonely. As their independence increases, they can step down their support. Or, if something comes up, life is like that, we can also flex up the support. 

The more connected people are the less their lives are focused on services and the more independent they become.


Support network circle


Annabelle had a new baby and needed more support.

Blonde haired lady

Annabelle has been supported by KeyRing for nine years. Annabelle has support with both her physical and mental health. By flexing her support we have been able to quickly increase or decrease her support as her situation changes. When Annabelle fell pregnant, she did not have a formal KeyRing support package but was linking in with our community support options. Linked in support is offered as a free additional benefit within many KeyRing networks.

Following the birth of her child, Annabelle’s relationship with the father ended. Annabelle spoke with us about the need for more emotional and physical support. We increased her support package in response to this.

We ensured that Annabelle knew that she could call us when she needed emotional support and reminded her that she could access our out of hours support any time day or night. We also arranged more face-to-face meet ups with her.

Annabelle was also concerned about her inability to keep up with the housework and look after her baby. She was keen to point out that her priority was, of course, her baby but that she was becoming anxious about the house. We reassured Annabelle that this was a common concern amongst new parents. We investigated whether Annabelle could access further funding support and she is awaiting a review. Annabelle has also been supported to ask for help from her family.


Sarah has a learning and physical disability. She moved from a group home to her own flat.

Smiling woman with long dark hair

Sarah was referred to KeyRing who worked with Occupational Therapy services to implement aids and adaptations to her home and implement a skills teaching programme.

KeyRing supported her to secure Local Welfare Provision and approach a local furniture project to obtain basic items for her new home.

We supported her to develop a routine, understand correspondence, a detailed budgeting plan, report repairs and communicate effectively with neighbours. Sarah became very active within the network offering peer support and volunteer involvement.

In two years, she was managing her own money and had drastically improved her flat and living conditions.

We supported her with life events that impacted on her wellbeing and confidence. The death of her mother, several relationship difficulties, helping to build her long term resilience to emotional incidents.

Sarah is passionate about drama so we supported her to pursue this interest. As her confidence increased she was successful in obtaining a job.

Three years after she joined Sarah was supported to move on from the KeyRing network. She lives fully independently and retains her close links with the local community and the people that she met as part of the network.

“KeyRing really thought outside the box regarding meeting P’s needs which has made a refreshing change.

Social Worker


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