Our latest publication, Closing down beneficiary support projects, draws together the experiences and perspectives of staff in various roles at four Fulfilling Lives partnerships whose direct work supporting beneficiaries has come to an end. Fulfilling Lives was always a time-limited programme, providing funding to test new approaches with the aim of informing lasting systems change. The report offers practical tips and recommendations from partnerships to aid the smooth closure of similar time-limited support. .
The report highlights that starting planning and preparation for closing projects early is key. A joint strategy involving all partners helps ensure everyone is clear about their role in the process. Ongoing flexibility and adaptation is required, and close monitoring of caseloads is important to balance demand with available resource.
External preparation and systems change considerations are also hugely important to help ensure beneficiaries who still require support continue to get it. Frequent communication with local organisations is required to ensure they understand the implications of service closure. Positive relationships formed across sectors are crucial to ensuring a lasting legacy from a project.
Supporting beneficiaries throughout this process of service closure is absolutely critical. Partnerships reported that communicating early and clearly with beneficiaries was seen to help them mentally prepare for life after partnership support and adjust to changes. Beneficiaries should also be involved in their own transition and progression planning as the individuals themselves are best placed to know what they will need once project support stops.
The full report can be read here and will be of interest to Fulfilling Lives partnerships as well as other organisations receiving time-limited funding to support those experiencing multiple disadvantage.