Focus on: Katy Tutcher

A customer opening her front door to a female Grand Union colleague

At Grand Union we have a Wellbeing & Support team, dedicated to supporting customers with a range of needs, including mental and physical health, social wellbeing, hoarding and more.

The team is a five-strong group of Wellbeing Coordinators, who help customers with complex needs, and Advisors, helping those with low-level needs.

Katy Tutcher is one of two Wellbeing Coordinators at Grand Union. She said: “One of the most rewarding parts of the role is seeing the journey someone takes. You often meet people at their lowest point or in a crisis and spend months visiting them regularly, helping to resolve multiple issues. You become invested in helping them turn their lives around.

“When customers reach a point where they don’t need support anymore and I’m closing the case, it gives me a chance to reflect on all of the outcomes achieved for them. Sometimes we have big wins that are easy to shout about, but mostly our work is about targeted changes in lots of different areas of their lives to contribute to a bigger picture of their wellbeing.”

A tailored approach to care

When someone is referred to the service, the team identifies specific needs and any gaps in support by developing an Assessment & Support Plan.

Katy said: “Following assessment, customers are placed into tiers depending on their support needs – from low-level needs, such as helping with general advice, to complex needs often involving safeguarding and mental health issues.

“We work with customers to set agreed goals, to achieve between six weeks to six months, depending on their tier level. This ensures customers remain independent, without becoming overly dependent on the service and to promote choice and empowerment. It also encourages people to become more independent.

“A small number of customers, such as those struggling with hoarding, will require ongoing support, lasting longer than six months.”

Collaborating to helping customers in need

The team adopt a holistic, personalised approach and set SMART objectives with customers, which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. They work alongside teams within Grand Union and in partnership with healthcare services in the community, including GPs, NHS Community Mental Health teams and charities.

Katy said: “By collaborating with others we deliver excellent service and achieve great outcomes for customers. We are currently working on exciting initiatives to increase our mental health support.

“It’s a really exciting time to be in the team, with new projects set to make a huge difference to people’s lives. For example, we’re working with the charity Mind to provide a hoarding programme delivered by a clinically qualified counsellor. We’re also working with Bedford Recovery College and East London Foundation NHS Trust (ELFT) to produce a bespoke package of bitesize, virtual mental health courses.”

“It turned his life around”

The Wellbeing team has helped customers from all walks of life, with a range of different needs, regain their independence. Katy added: “I’ll always remember helping a customer with Parkinson’s. As he was struggling with mobility and speech, it was having such an impact on his life that his house was falling into disrepair.

“We worked alongside social services to organise a deep clean of the property and worked with Occupational Therapists and internal departments to get a wet room installed within a couple of months. It really helped to turn his life around and it meant he could continue living in his home.

“Many of those I work with are struggling with hoarding and though this is a very complex issue, by collaborating with care teams, we can help them to live safely and happily again.”