2 09, 2021

Turning the tide in Blackpool

By |2021-09-02T12:45:05+00:00September 2nd, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |

Ian Treasure is the Programme Lead at Blackpool Fulfilling Lives. In this blog he reflects on the work of the programme over the last 7 years and how the system has, and still is, changing.

Blackpool is famous for illusions. Similar to the visual and kinaesthetic feast of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, System Change relies on redesigning those first few seconds, the moment of truth, when a customer comes into contact with a service. ‘System Change’ is the latest Baader-Meinhof frequency illusion, seldom heard but now thankfully ubiquitous. In order for system change to occur, it’s a back office job. That customer shouldn’t be troubled by how it is a good experience, just be happy that they are being treated well, regardless of […]

22 07, 2021

Learnings from Help through Crisis: Crisis support during COVID-19

By |2021-07-22T14:12:17+00:00July 22nd, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

The Help through Crisis (HtC) Learning, Support and Evaluation (LSE) team have produced a series of reports exploring the HtC response to Covid-19. In this blog, the LSE team share key learning from their work.

HtC is a £33 million, five-year programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. Across England, 69 local partnerships have been supported by HtC. Each partnership helps people who are experiencing or at risk of crisis to overcome difficulties and plan for the future.  While the HtC and Fulfilling Lives programmes each have a distinct focus (HtC partnerships support people facing crisis for different reasons, whereas Fulfilling Lives focuses on those experiencing multiple disadvantage), some HtC beneficiaries do experience multiple disadvantage and supporting people to overcome difficulties is at […]

8 07, 2021

‘Planting a seed of hope’: Prison release webinar reflections

By |2021-07-08T12:58:35+00:00July 8th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Dr Jo Welford, Research Manager at CFE Research, presented last month at our Improving service transitions for people experiencing multiple disadvantage: Prison release webinar. In this blog, she reflects on key messages from the session.

A large virtual audience from as far away as Australia tuned in to our recent national evaluation webinar on the experience of prison release for people affected by multiple disadvantage. The national evaluation team were joined by Fulfilling Lives partnership staff, including three with lived experience of multiple disadvantage, as well as the Ministry of Justice. Over 200 people attended on the day, with many from statutory and charity organisations who work with this client group, which made it our best attended webinar so far.

I opened the session with an overview […]

30 06, 2021

An open letter to researchers: A reminder of our accountability

By |2021-06-30T16:14:07+00:00June 30th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

Beth Collinson is the Learning and Impact Associate for the Fulfilling Lives programme. In this blog, she reflects on an open letter to researchers she recently read, reminding us of our accountability.

Alongside my work with Fulfilling Lives, since 2019 I have coordinated the Sheffield Addiction Recovery Research Panel (ShARRP). ShARRP is a public and patient involvement panel whose aim is to empower those with first-hand experience of substance use to shape how research in the field is undertaken. The panel is made up of those with personal experience of drug and alcohol use; carers, partners and family members of those affected by drug and alcohol use; as well as advocates for addiction recovery and harm reduction. Whilst the panel is situated in Sheffield, […]

21 04, 2021

Evaluating the Evaluation: Reflections on the Importance of Evaluation in Fulfilling Lives

By |2021-04-21T14:35:58+00:00April 21st, 2021|Categories: Blog|

Mark Crowe, Research and Evaluation Coordinator at WY-FI has worked for the Fulfilling Lives programme for the last 8 years. In this blog, he reflects on the importance of evaluation within the programme.

I have been involved with Fulfilling Lives since the beginning, working with three different partnerships and lead organisations in West Yorkshire. There was so much that attracted me to the role – the focus on supporting the most disadvantaged and excluded people; a commitment from the funder to person-centred approaches and co-production; and an explicit link between practice and policy development.

I have spent a lot of my working life (which is roughly as long as the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) has been giving grants to good causes) writing reports that must be […]

15 03, 2021

Using my experience to promote system change

By |2021-03-15T16:58:53+00:00March 15th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

Mandy Winstanley, Involvement Champion with Every Step of the Way (Birmingham Changing Futures Together) and member of the National Expert Citizen Group reflects on how she has used her own experience to promote system change.

My story

I was raised in the care system during the 70s and 80s having being born to a 15 year old mother who was using substances. The impact of this led to many childhood traumas and I started using substances myself at 9 years old, using periodically until I got clean at the age of 47. My life as a drug user was hard work and I used to adopt various ideas of family life. As a mum to six children, I would become the Walton’s for years, sometimes Mary […]

15 02, 2021

COVID-19 has given us all permission to think differently

By |2021-02-15T14:19:22+00:00February 15th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |

Diane Elizabeth Smith MBE is the Head of Programme at Fulfilling Lives Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. In this blog Diane reflects on how COVID-19 has given us all permission to think differently.

Adjusting our processes to operate during a pandemic has been a challenge, but it has also presented us with a unique opportunity to apply Systems Thinking to make a better society for all.

As an organisation, we acknowledge that our current system doesn’t work for everyone – particularly people who experience greater levels of disadvantage – and our ambition is to make services easier to access by working alongside people who need, deliver, evaluate, commission and govern these services.

So, while we have a responsibility to respond and react to the pandemic and the pressures […]

22 12, 2020

Reflections on 2020

By |2021-07-08T11:32:51+00:00December 22nd, 2020|Categories: Blog|

In our final blog of 2020, the Fulfilling Lives national evaluation team offer our collective highlights and reflections on what has been a most extraordinary year.

  • The Fulfilling Lives programme provides much-needed support for people facing multiple disadvantage. This year the programme passed the 4,000 mark for numbers of direct beneficiaries.
  • There is great energy across the local partnerships to drive work to change the system of support for people facing multiple disadvantage, both at local and national level. Read about the partnerships’ systems change priorities here.
  • One of the priorities shared across partnerships is improving access to services, in particular mental health support. At the start of the year we published a report exploring the barriers to accessing mental health support […]
26 10, 2020

The co-production cake: Want a slice?

By |2020-10-26T10:52:51+00:00October 26th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

Last month the National Lottery Community Fund hosted a virtual breakfast to discuss all things co-production. Hosted by Laura Furness, Head of Funding at the National Lottery Community Fund, the panel consisted of Winston Allamby (Community Partner, Fulfilling Lives Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham), Helen Phoenix (Head of Customer Collaboration, South Yorkshire Housing Association) and myself (Learning and Impact Associate, Fulfilling Lives). This blog is intended to shed light on some of the key messages and discusses co-production using the analogy of baking a cake: a theme which came up during the session.

So what do we mean by co-production? In A Meeting of Minds, a report published by The National Lottery Community Fund last year, co-production is defined as “creating, delivering, […]

27 07, 2020

A test and learn approach to Critical Time Intervention

By |2021-07-08T11:33:52+00:00July 27th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |

Iain Donnelly, Programme Lead, has recently joined Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead (FLNG). In this blog Iain reflects on their Critical Time Intervention pilot.

Between June 2018 and March 2020 we piloted a Critical Time Intervention (CTI) model as an alternative to the more traditional navigation approach that we had previously used in our work supporting people experiencing multiple disadvantage.

Developed in the US, CTI is an evidence-based practice of working with a person during a transition, such as leaving prison or moving into accommodation, for a maximum period of nine-months, focusing on person-centred goals and building support networks in preparation for the end of the time-limited period.  As a model, it’s relatively new in the UK and ours was one of the first full-scale pilots to […]

27 05, 2020

From crisis to opportunity: Reflecting on how we influence change

By |2020-09-15T09:57:17+00:00May 27th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |

Lewis Edwards, Learning and Impact Manager, has recently joined the Fulfilling Lives South East (FLSE) programme. In this blog Lewis reflects on how those previously experiencing homelessness have been temporarily housed during COVID-19 and how the current pandemic can be used to encourage systemic change.

In response to COVID-19, the UK government allocated an additional £3.2m to local authorities in March to temporarily house rough sleepers during the crisis. Reports suggest that as many as 5400 rough sleepers have been given temporary accommodation in hotels. As the discussion has turned to what will happen after the ‘lockdown’, the fate of those who have been housed during the pandemic remains uncertain. The government has just announced that it is bringing forward funding to provide 3300 long-term […]

20 05, 2020

A recipe for good health: Kindness and connection

By |2020-05-20T09:33:56+00:00May 20th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness week is currently underway. The theme this year is kindness. When browsing the website, I read the following two statements:

“We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity”.

“Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference.  We know from the research that kindness and our mental health are deeply connected. The research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging”.

The statements made me reflect on the work of Fulfilling Lives. Over the last 12 months I have had the absolute privilege […]

30 04, 2020

The transition into full time employment – Part 2

By |2020-04-30T12:10:43+00:00April 30th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

Bev Hardman, Lead Engagement Worker for the Inreach/Outreach workstream with Birmingham Changing Futures Together reflects on the financial anxiety around moving from benefits to full-time employment following her own recovery journey. This is a follow-up piece to Bev’s blog published last year about how she gained experience as a volunteer as a step to the full-time role.

After recovering from the initial shock of successfully being appointed a role with Birmingham Changing Futures Together, my anxiety surfaced again as I began worrying about the transition into work. There were numerous things to consider, including contacting the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and signing off my benefits. This was a scary time for me as I had been in receipt of benefits for a […]

30 03, 2020

Have we forgotten about treatment for alcohol problems?

By |2020-03-30T12:31:41+00:00March 30th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

Peter Keeling is campaigns officer at Collective Voice, the national alliance of drug and alcohol treatment and recovery charities.

Last month saw two important developments for the substance misuse treatment sector. Firstly, Dame Carol Black’s landmark review of drugs in the UK underlined what many in the sector have been saying for years – that significant cuts to funding for treatment have taken their toll on services’ ability to meet the needs of people using drugs harmfully and have coincided with the inexorable rise in drug-related deaths.

Secondly, summits in Glasgow convened by the Scottish and UK governments saw the current crisis around disinvestment and increasing deaths highlighted at a national level. We welcome the raising of many of these issues and look forward to working […]

9 03, 2020

International Women’s Day: Gender-specific work within the Fulfilling Lives programme

By |2020-03-09T09:39:07+00:00March 9th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

In the past, statistics have suggested that multiple disadvantage is a predominantly male phenomenon. Following on from the Hard Edges report in 2015, Lankelly Chase began work to explore how multiple disadvantage may manifest differently in the lives of women. Their latest report, Gender Matters, redefines severe and multiple disadvantage to include homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill health and violence and abuse – a  different definition of multiple disadvantage to that used within the Fulfilling Lives programme (where violence and abuse is not included but offending is). The report starkly highlights that out of the 17,000 people who experience all four of these domains of severe and multiple disadvantage at any one time (violence and abuse […]

3 02, 2020

Creatures of habit: Workplace culture wars and memetic workforce development

By |2020-02-03T17:34:10+00:00February 3rd, 2020|Categories: Blog|

Organisations are simply collections of people who are working, to a lesser or greater extent, toward a common set of goals.  While organisational policies often clearly define the actions to take in common situations, sometimes the context is exceptional requiring staff and managers to apply their judgement.  The aim is to achieve something consistent with the spirit of the policies leading to defensible decision that achieves the outcomes understood to be consistent with the aims of the organisation.

We are, however, also creatures of habit.

Using precedent is a way we navigate though complexity to manage the personal and professional risks associated with using judgement.  These socially circumscribed understandings then often become unwritten additions to the system for exceptions handling. Part of the culture. A part of […]

19 12, 2019

The transition into full time employment: Reflections from an Expert by Experience.

By |2019-12-19T12:47:16+00:00December 19th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

Bev Hardman, Lead Engagement Worker for the Inreach/ Outreach workstream with Birmingham Changing Futures Together reflects on her own recovery journey and the transition into full time employment.

I never thought that I would be able to gain and sustain full time employment. After many failed attempts including disastrous, traumatic and unsuccessful job interviews, my mind was firmly made up that this was the beginning of the end. Managing my anxiety was the barrier to me getting off benefits and into work. During this time, my anxiety was crippling and debilitating, virtually rendering me speechless.  I knew I had to put a positive spin on things and thought “what advice I would give to someone else in my position?”.

I began volunteering with Birmingham Changing Futures […]

29 11, 2019

What have we learned about delivery and transition?

By |2019-11-29T12:29:25+00:00November 29th, 2019|Categories: Blog|

Gary Morris, programme manager of Waves of Hope reflects on what they have learned about delivery and transition as the programme comes to an end this December. 

It was a cold winter morning when the email from National Lottery Community Fund came through agreeing a six month continuation period for the Liverpool Fulfilling lives programme “Waves of Hope”. The agreement meant two things, firstly more time to plan for the transition of over 100 service users out of the programme and secondly to give more time to the Core Strategy Group to prepare to deliver the learning and legacy outcomes to the wider multiple disadvantage sector. During that time a lot has been achieved: the almost 100 per cent delivery of the transition plan which enables […]

23 09, 2019

Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) – Our early learning points

By |2019-09-23T13:06:48+00:00September 23rd, 2019|Categories: Blog|

Dr Ray Middleton is the Workforce Development Lead for the National Lottery Community Fund’s Fulfilling Lives programme in Newcastle and Gateshead (FLNG). With a special interest in trauma-informed care, Ray is piloting a programme to develop Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) in frontline services combining an innovative ‘Open Dialogue’ approach to mental health with PIE using the ‘Ladder4Life’ framework he developed.

A Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) is a space which considers ‘the psychological make up – the thinking, emotions, personalities and past experience – of its participants in the way that it operates’ (Johnson et al., 2012).

As described in my last blog at FLNG we have long been enthusiastic promoters of PIE and have used our experience to develop and deliver a PIE training programme that supports other local […]

16 09, 2019

Our Fulfilling Lives journey into the land of PIE…

By |2019-09-18T10:36:33+00:00September 16th, 2019|Categories: Blog|

Dr Ray Middleton is the Workforce Development Lead for the National Lottery Community Fund’s Fulfilling Lives programme in Newcastle and Gateshead (FLNG). With a special interest in trauma-informed care, Ray is piloting a programme to develop Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) in frontline services combining an innovative ‘Open Dialogue’ approach to mental health with PIE using the ‘Ladder4Life’ framework he developed.

A Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) is a space which considers ‘the psychological make up – the thinking, emotions, personalities and past experience – of its participants in the way that it operates’ (Johnson et al., 2012).

FLNG have been enthusiastic promoters of PIE since our programme began in 2014.  Evidence from our initial PIE pilots in 2016 (described in this report) highlighted the need for good […]

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