What’s next for Better Futures?Posted on 30th June 2016 by Matt Day
We recently received the extremely disappointing news that we had not been successful in gaining continuation funding for our BIG Lottery funded service, Better Futures. The service worked with people with disabilities who needed help to get into volunteering. Sometimes that help was figuring out what they wanted to do, sometimes it was finding a role that they were interested in, or understanding the application process. We helped people to start, and we helped them after they did, as they were accompanied by our staff into their new placement and given 8 weeks of support to learn the requirements of the role and do things like consider reasonable adjustments they needed and gain confidence in travelling to and from their placement. We’re hugely proud that once people completed their 8 weeks of direct support 9 out of 10 wanted to continue without that support, newly confident in something they didn’t feel able to engage with alone just a few months earlier. You can read stories from some of our clients here but these are just a handful of nearly 150 that were supported across the project.
This is a service that was greatly needed in the city, planned in partnership with the council’s Supported Employment Team, whose service is also in great demand, there was always a waiting list for Better Futures’ support. So, whilst our current funding has not been renewed, we want to continue to look at ways we can support this area in the city and seek new funding to extend the learning from the project and meet this still urgent need in Brighton & Hove. In the short term, we are continuing to work in partnership with Community Works’ Volunteer Centre and Possability People on building a Supported and Accessible Volunteering network, sharing knowledge and building links between organisations working in this area. At our most recent meeting, we were joined by No Holds Barred and BHT’s Fullfilling Lives and we welcome interest from others. If you’d like to attend please contact Sue Shaw email@example.com, who coordinates the network.
We would also really love to speak to anyone that would be interested in developing this work, bidding in partnership, or who can help us speak to clients who would benefit from a service like this. We have an opportunity to take a fresh look at the needs in the city and create a new ‘Even Better Futures’ whilst the service is paused. Our first iteration was a huge success, and that was hugely helped by those that fed into its original plan, so we know we need to hear from you now to guide our next steps. If you’d like to talk about partnership or connecting us with your clients please contact Natalie Brook firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling.
I’d also like to thank everyone who contributed to the last 3 years of the service. We’ve worked with dozens of organisations across the city, and even a few beyond, who were happy to open their opportunities to supported volunteering and work to make them even more accessible. All our efforts would have been for nothing if they didn’t believe that our clients – people with learning disabilities, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, mental health diagnoses, and more – were able to positively contribute to their organisations. I think we can all say that we were right in that belief. If you’d like to join them in ensuring your volunteering opportunities are accessible please consider signing up to the Volunteer Charter. It’s straightforward, and you may even find you don’t have to change a thing to be able to make the pledge. Impetus is proud to have made this pledge, and to have worked with so many across the city who have too. There’s still more to do in this field, I hope you can join us!