25 08, 2022

Reflections on the final Fulfilling Lives conference

By |2022-08-25T10:45:40+00:00August 25th, 2022|Categories: Blog|

Miranda joined the Fulfilling Lives evaluation team in January 2022 to support the final months of the learning programme, including organisation of the final conference.

My mission, should I choose to accept it: sum up an eight-year programme of work spanning 12 regions across the country, that has supported nearly 4,000 people facing multiple disadvantage, in a six-hour event to share learning, inspire and challenge attendees to think differently about current support systems, and celebrate the programme’s achievements.

Sure, I said.  I love a conference and I’ve worked with a huge number of fantastic people across my time working in the Fulfilling Lives programme.  What a great chance to get everyone together!

But also… what a difficult task! It quickly became clear that we were never going […]

6 05, 2022

Learning from the process of co-production: Reflections, hints and tips

By |2022-05-06T14:00:31+00:00May 6th, 2022|Categories: Blog|

Emma Adams is a NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria (NENC) Mental Health Fellow and previous NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) Pre-Doctoral Fellow. She has been working with Experts by Experience from Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead & #HealthNow Newcastle on a NIHR SPHR funded study Exploring and understanding access to community-based mental health and addiction services in Newcastle and Gateshead.

What is co-production? This is a question I often find myself grappling with as a public health researcher working within homelessness and mental health. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) recognises that the definition is not always clear and there is “no one size fits all approach”. Their guidance on co-producing research suggests that we […]

7 04, 2022

Exempt Accommodation – how have we worked to improve standards for those facing multiple disadvantage?

By |2022-08-02T10:33:35+00:00April 7th, 2022|Categories: Blog|

The rapid growth in exempt accommodation is highlighted as a particular concern in our recent report “More than a Roof”. In this blog Alana Raybould outlines the work of one Fulfilling Lives partnership to address the issue. Alana is the Network and Quality Manager at BVSC, the lead organisation for Birmingham Changing Futures Together (BCFT). As part of her role she manages the No Wrong Door Network and Quality Standards.

As the lead organisation for BCFT, BVSC work to tackle social challenges that cannot be addressed by a single organisation. Where we encounter an issue that relates to one of the areas of multiple disadvantage, we engage in an in-depth piece of work to explore and improve the situation for service users. One […]

24 02, 2022

Finding my voice as an Expert by Experience – a blog fresh from the Toon

By |2022-02-24T16:44:17+00:00February 24th, 2022|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |

Desmond is an Expert by Experience (EBE) with Fulfilling Lives Newcastle and Gateshead. In this blog, he shares his story of how he came to find the EBE network and his involvement with the group.

  

After attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, a guy in the fellowship asked me if I’d heard of the EBE network – which I hadn’t. He told me that EBE stood for Experts by Experience: a network of people who met each week to discuss topics around mental health, substance misuse, homelessness and […]

8 02, 2022

More opportunity than ever – a chance for change

By |2022-02-10T09:24:37+00:00February 8th, 2022|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

Miranda Keast has joined the Fulfilling Lives evaluation team to oversee the final months of our learning programme. In this blog she reflects on what can be achieved as the programme draws to a close.

I’ve recently joined the national evaluation team at CFE Research for the last six months of the Fulfilling Lives programme. Whilst this could be seen as a time for winding down, wrapping up, and closing things off, in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Grassroots communities have long seen, and sought to meet the needs arising from, gaps in systems; working in more established organisations, too, there can be frustration at rigid processes that leave people stuck, feeling stigmatised, and without anywhere to turn.

The introduction of Making Every Adult Matter […]

9 12, 2021

Every day’s a learning day – honest reflections on personal development

By |2021-12-09T10:51:41+00:00December 9th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

In her third blog for us, Bev Hardman reflects on how far she has come since working on the Birmingham Changing Futures Together Programme. This is a follow on from her first and second blogs.

Recipe to aid achievement: three scoops of self-belief, two large handfuls of confidence and a generous helping of determination – no pinches, drizzles or dashes here, just good old-fashioned dollops of all the above! (More scoops can be added if desired).

Following on from my two previous blogs, I thought I’d talk about where I am today in terms of my development.

Looking back at my journey whilst working on the Birmingham Changing Futures Together Programme and the Inreach Outreach work stream, it’s sometimes hard for me to […]

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 […]

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