27 07, 2020

A test and learn approach to Critical Time Intervention

By |2020-07-27T08:50:55+00:00July 27th, 2020|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |

Iain Donnelly, Programme Manager, 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 |2020-05-27T15:06:15+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 […]

4 07, 2019

Multiple Disadvantage Day, Take One

By |2019-07-04T09:15:28+00:00July 4th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Chris Milner joined the Fulfilling Lives national evaluation team in February 2019. In his first blog he explores the role of art and emotion in recovery and raising awareness. 

The first Multiple Disadvantage Day took place on July 3rd 2019. The day marked an important stepping stone towards tackling the stigma associated with complex experiences of homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental ill-health. These disadvantages are so often co-existing that it is essential that they are addressed together, and that we #seethefullpicture. By raising awareness of the reasons behind people’s circumstances, Multiple Disadvantage day aimed to encourage people to think before making a judgement.

[…]

20 06, 2019

Homelessness: We Know the Issues, but What About the Solutions?

By |2019-06-24T15:36:33+00:00June 20th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Homelessness is in the news and has caught the public’s concern. But what I find frustrating is that relatively little is discussed about the solutions. Partnerships delivering the Fulfilling Lives programme have helped to make significant progress in reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. Among Fulfilling Lives beneficiaries we see a reduction in rough sleeping from 25 per cent to 17 per cent during their first year on the programme. I feel that partnership efforts deserve to play a central role in the discussion.

Our report, Promising Practice, explored how Fulfilling Lives partnerships have used Housing First approaches. Overall, the evidence suggests a high level of tenancy sustainment amongst Housing First beneficiaries.

Housing First is a client-centred model that supports individuals into independent […]

29 03, 2019

Contagion of Hope

By |2019-05-14T08:34:48+00:00March 29th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Beth Collinson will be joining the Fulfilling Lives national evaluation team from April 2019 leading on our learning programme. In this, her first blog, she talks about the inspiration gained from attending a recent event held by one of the Fulfilling Lives partnerships.

Throughout my PhD, the social contagion of recovery (from substance misuse), became a predominant element of my work. In one of my first presentations, I explained that just as human emotions like happiness can be contagious, recovery is too. A colleague of mine (Professor David Best) explains in his work that the social contagion of recovery has the potential for “transmitting hope and the belief that recovery is possible even to those who are not yet ready to commit to abstinence“.

28 01, 2019

Frontline workforce – it’s a question of pragmatism

By |2019-05-14T08:45:23+00:00January 28th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Having purpose, an eye for detail and a sense of curiosity are the Fulfilling Lives workforce attributes I have flagged as desirable in previous blogs. Time is often at a premium for staff. Smaller caseloads and flexibility are ways of extending the time available to beneficiaries. Which brings me round to another attribute for the practitioner which, is pragmatism.

As I said in the item on curiosity, practitioners engaged with the evaluation of theory not only contribute to better practice but ensure theory is grounded in pragmatism. Thereby theory becomes better as well. People become less inclined to say: ‘that is alright in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice’. A pragmatic practitioner doesn’t just know the theory, but they act on it because it works.

[…]

27 06, 2018

The need for change: Reflections from the newest member of the national evaluation team

By |2019-05-14T10:23:56+00:00June 27th, 2018|Categories: Blog, News|Tags: , , , , , , , |

It’s now six months since I joined the Fulfilling Lives national evaluation team. My background is in community and criminal justice research, so I have a degree of familiarity with the target group. I have evaluated initiatives to help re-engagement on release from prison, to provide pathways to education and ultimately employment, and to help with accommodation and independent living. Offenders often have chaotic lifestyles and multiple needs including experience of homelessness, alcohol and/or drug dependency, and/or mental health issues. You can often find childhood trauma, special educational needs or attachment issues as well. What struck me time and time again when listening to offenders and their workers tell me their stories was the lack of coherent support available to people who are in desperate […]

19 03, 2018

How to Write a Good Survey

By |2019-05-14T09:41:52+00:00March 19th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

A key feature of Fulfilling Lives is that it is a learning programme; it aims to gather and share learning about what works, what doesn’t and what needs to change. A frequently used method to collect views and experiences from which to develop learning is the survey. In this blog, Kerry Dowding (Research and Evaluation Officer, Fulfilling Lives South East) shares her tricks and tips on how to get the most out of your survey design. Kerry has been creating surveys for the voluntary sector for the last eight years, and received a Masters of Research in 2016.

It’s 4.50pm, and you remember that you promised to send out a few survey questions by the end of the day. You scribble out some questions that roughly […]

1 02, 2018

Frontline Workforce – it’s a question of curiosity

By |2019-05-14T08:36:25+00:00February 1st, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

At the centre of the Fulfilling Lives (Multiple Needs) programme is evaluation and here the workforce is on the frontline. For it is they who source, collate and complete the two key measures –  the Homelessness Outcomes Star and the NDT Assessment – with the service beneficiaries. Frontline workers say something they enjoy about the programme is the move away from a purely target driven approach. To make the most of this we need to make sure that the essential evaluation is not a chore. Not tasks that are completed as an add-on to a day’s work but ones that are integral to the way of working alongside beneficiaries and peer workers.

[…]

15 09, 2017

Frontline workforce -it’s a question of detail

By |2019-05-14T09:12:44+00:00September 15th, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

I have blogged previously about purpose and it’s time to move on to the detail – where the devil lies (alongside salvation) . The question is how do we recruit, train, support and retain an effective workforce? A workforce with the knowledge, skills and experience to change lives and systems alongside people with complex needs including homelessness, offending, substance misuse and mental ill-health. One that supports people to overcome barriers to services and engagement. A workforce that is genuine and honest about the collaborative involvement of individuals with lived experience.

It is a big ask to come up with an exhaustive list of what the workforce does and how it goes about its tasks. Anyone that has spent time drawing up job descriptions knows the […]

31 05, 2017

Exactly what is it the frontline staff do that makes a difference?

By |2019-05-14T09:18:30+00:00May 31st, 2017|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

Helen Gavaghan, Senior Engagement Worker at Inspiring Change Manchester (ICM), gives an inkling of some of the things workers do to support people to think about change. She says some ‘traditional’ approaches need challenging and staff freed up to be open about working with both their own and their client’s lived experience. She concludes by suggesting learning about what it is that staff are doing is collected and brought together as a tool-kit for other practitioners.

In the Fulfilling Lives (Multiple Needs) projects, when considering the learning that is being fed back overall, I feel there could be more detailed examination of what the frontline project workers do that makes a difference to people’s lives. I believe that there is some valuable learning that could be collected and shared […]

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