We’re really pleased at Lankelly Chase to be working with a new group of long-term partners, starting in 2016. These partners, joining the existing pioneering Promoting Change Network members, are working in different geographies and communities around the UK, are working with us to help us all understand how can effective support reach those most marginalised, experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage. Our partners are addressing this question in a range of ways, highlighting how much there still is to understand about what effective support looks like, who it reaches, and how systems can change in light of it.
Unlimited Potential has been working closely with a group of fathers in Greater Manchester. Drawing on Positive Deviance, they have found dads in the community who are doing well, often against the odds. Understanding why they are successful, they share this with other dads. Changes are introduced and owned by dads themselves and they have created a group for fathers (Salford Dadz) to improve their wellbeing and social connectedness, and through that improve the lives of their children. Now Unlimited Potential, supported by these dads, will be taking the principles of this approach to new localities in the North West to see how it might work in other settings.
Also testing an approach is the team at Camerados, who following careers in support services with adults experiencing homelessness, came to the conclusion that the only things that make a difference in life are having friends and purpose. This is true for everyone, but is especially the case when a person is facing crisis. The team have designed programmes of work to test firstly whether this theory is true. If so, can support be reshaped with this in mind, to help all people to build relationships and a sense of purpose, knowing that other elements of wellbeing will flow from this.
Underpinning this innovative practice, we are continuing to understand the people at the heart of this work, examining and challenging set visions of who a person experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage might be. We are working with the LGBT Foundation to understand the experiences of LGBT people at the margins of society and to develop more effective approaches to this unseen element of severe and multiple disadvantage.
Beyond changing practice, we work to change systems through different means. The Centre for Criminal Appeals are working with us to address a problem often identified but not yet solved: the inappropriate imprisonment of women. The Women’s Sentencing Project will use strategic litigation to challenge the over-use of custodial sentencing of women for minor, non-violent crimes.
As well as these new partnerships, we are renewing several key strategic relationships with change makers across the UK. After an initial trial, The Love Barrow Families approach is on the cusp of triggering wider systems change in Cumbria, reforming the way services interact with some of the most vulnerable families in our society. This point of wider systemic change is also the case for Mayday Trust, who having learned from their Mayday Inspire model of coaching for people experiencing homelessness in Oxford, are now looking to focus on this asset-based approach, challenging the traditional model of housing support. We’re proud to be standing with these two organisations as they continue to learn and to share this learning to create wider change.
We’re are also renewing partnerships with both Revolving Doors Agency, a national organisation working to change systems and improve the lives of people experiencing multiple harms, as well as Transforming Choice, a residential rehabilitation home in Liverpool working with people battling chronic addiction to alcohol. These organisations use different means to make their change, with Revolving Doors working on the policy agenda and Transforming Choice shaping practice on the ground. But their ends are the same: individual lives valued and understood, and people facing a combination of complex social harms able to break persistent cycles of addiction, unstable and unsafe housing, mental and physical ill health, violence and abuse.