Example of Practice – Penumbra

Papermill Gardens: Making an Impact


This practice example is one in a series illustrating how initiatives and ways of working in housing, housing support and homelessness services have significant positive impact on the health and wellbeing of those people being supported and, in so doing, contribute towards the nine national health and wellbeing outcomesfor Integration.


Penumbra is a leading Scottish voluntary organisation working in the field of mental health. We provide an extensive range of person-centred support services for adults and young people.

What was the issue you were addressing or working on? 

It was our intention to close existing shared, supported accommodation and transform our services in Aberdeen into something that was more flexible, personalised and offered greater opportunity for ordinary living with each person having their own flat. It was our view that this service model would promote recovery.

 What you did?

We, as the support provider, worked in partnership with Aberdeen City Council (Commissioning Agency) and Langstane Housing Association (Housing Provider) in order to identify suitable alternative housing. All three organisations worked together through the planning and development stages of the project and to support people through the change process. The new service rests in a quiet and picturesque residential area of Aberdeen. The service consists of 11 flats and one staff flat – with staff available 24/7. In order to measure the impact of the service transformation Penumbra used I.ROC. I.ROC is a validated Outcome Measurement tool created by Penumbra in order to track the recovery journey of people who use our services.

iROC Wheel


How it works:

There are 12 indicators in I.ROC. Each indicator is related to Penumbra’s HOPE approach to recovery. For each of the 12 indicators there is a single I.ROC question and we ask for a score from 1-6. We can then look at the scores and know which ones are the areas that are important to focus on when we plan support and work towards recovery.

We repeat I.ROC every three months so that we know if we are making progress.

What were the outcomes?

People who made the move to the new service enjoyed the benefits of greater privacy, independence and responsibilities, but still within an environment that offered a high level of support.

Following the move to the service, each tenant had a review completed after six weeks. This review had looked at how they had settled in and if there had been any issues.

 Comments included:

 “It was an easy move coming here, staff were very helpful”
“I enjoy it here, we got a lot of help coming here”
“The move was very easy, we got loads of help”

 The graph below uses I.ROC to measure the recovery journey of one person who made the move to Papermill Gardens. The blue line indicates the baseline score and the red line indicates the results of a subsequent I.ROC.

iROC Distance Travelled

The bigger picture

I.ROC data is also used to aggregate individual results in order to measure the impact of the service on everyone who lives at Papermill Gardens:

The graph below shows the difference between baseline and current I.ROC scores:

iROC Baseline and Current

The same data provides evidence that people have made a positive difference against every indicator of wellbeing and recovery:

iROC Making and Impact

At subsequent reviews Tenants were asked to provide their views as to how the move had gone for them and if there had been any issues. There was also follow-up, to gather the views of the tenants as they had settled into the service.

 Comments included:

 “I like choosing my meals and activities”.
“Everything is my own, I don’t have to share”.
“I can watch what programmes I like”.
“It’s my flat, I feel I have complete control, it’s great”.
“I’m more independent”.

(Comments to Care Inspectorate Aug 2014)

Awarding Papermill Gardens three 6’s at its first inspection the Care Inspectorate stated:

“The service provides a highly personalised, flexible service, to a group of service users with mental health problems in Aberdeen”. (Aug 2014)

Overall the transition to Papermill Gardens has been a success with people who live there enjoying the increased privacy, independence and autonomy.

The correlation between the impact of housing support on people who live at Papermill Gardens and all the national outcomes for health and wellbeing can be seen in the table below:

Penumbra Chart

Contacts – To find out more

For more information about Penumbra services and I.ROC

Penumbra, Norton Park, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY

T 0131 475 2380 | F 0131 475 2391



Penumbra is a charity (SC 010387) and a company limited by guarantee (SC 091542) registered in Scotland