York buildings

Case Study: York Pathways

A partnership programme to tackle serious mental distress

York Pathways is a partnership originally led by Lankelly Chase to tackle the causes of serious mental distress in the city, which was taking up a large amount of police time. ‘Pathway workers’ are allocated to people at risk, working intensely to offer holistic, emotional and practical support.

The project has been shown to be effective in improving outcomes for the individuals involved, and reducing strain on police time, but it has taken longer to scale the approach than initially was hoped due to the difficulty getting partners who were comfortable signing on to such a flexible style of working.


Things can only happen from a place of trust. If you are in a trusting space, the pace you are going to be able to do things is going to be quicker and faster than if the relationships are more fraught.

Habiba Nabatu, Lankelly Chase

Programme structure

York Pathways was initiated by the police who approached other partners including Together for Mental Wellbeing, the local council and the NHS trust. Lankelly Chase were the largest funder and were hands-on initially, but have subsequently scaled back their role, which has been taken over by the police.

The other funders involved were Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the police and City of York Council. Together for Mental Wellbeing are responsible for the day to day delivery of the programme. The project has five full-time members of staff and four caseworkers based within the Community Safety Hub at York Council



  1. Recognise connections: Partners were aware that mental distress had knock-on effects all over York. By working intensely with a few people across select touchpoints (taking a whole-person approach) the key partners significantly reduced callouts associated with these people.
  2. Partner with others: Lankelly did not lead with grants. Long term success meant building strong relationships with the communities and ensuring people with lived experience could lead on how and where energy and funds were spent. Immersion in the area and involving communities in co-producing programmes was key.
  3. Understand context: Lankelly spent the majority of time and resources in the first year building relationships and understanding local dynamics.

There were challenges getting long term partner buy-in.


For more information contact: york-pathways@together-uk.org


This case study is part of our framework for place-based funding.

For more on Place