I Have Never Looked Back!

This week marks the first birthday of All in for Change! 

All in for Change wouldn’t be what it is today without the passion of the Change Team. It is their unique skills and personalities which drive the programme and influence change.

Alison Kennedy reflects on here experience of being part of this collaborative team:

In December 2019, I was successful in becoming a Change Lead for All in For Change after my manager suggested I would be a good addition to the team. My key skills include my ability to collaborate across housing, health and social care, addictions services, justice and the third sector. I am highly skilled at working outside and across traditional boundaries and always try to develop joined up approaches. I am naturally good at this as I am a positive, outgoing person with a down-to-earth nature that enables me to form effective relationships with a range of stakeholders. I am glad to say my skill set has been complimentary to the aims and vision of All in For Change and I am thankful I applied, and I have never looked back! I am passionate about working in homelessness services and about promoting a culture that embeds kindness, dignity and compassion. Since working in social services, I have developed better awareness of the shame, stigma and isolation that people who experience homelessness can feel and understand how important it is for us as a nation to be well-informed and well-trained in responding to trauma, addictions and mental ill-health. It is really exciting to be part of a group of people who are on the same page and be involved in something where I can work with others who share my passion to effect real change.

Being a Change Leadhas been such a fantastic opportunity to begin to build relationships with people  who have lived experience of homelessness and who work in homelessness and to join forces to influence policy and strategy and make strides in turning that into real change on the ground. It has been great working with people who share the same knowledge and understanding of the root causes and drivers of homelessness, and the importance of social connections in a persons’ life as well as an understanding as to how these relationships act as a mechanism to tackle and end the cycle of homelessness. It feels like we are in something together that has the potential to be worthwhile and bring about change.

One of the highlights of being a Change Lead has been the monthly retreats where we get together for the day to hash out of plan of action. Both the ones we managed to have in person in Falkirk and the subsequent ones online as a result of Covid have been excellent. I have been able to get to know people who have lived experience which has been profound and humbling. Now, I am continuing to build on the connections I have made and am excited to join forces with my fellow Change Leads. For example, William Wright from Shelter and I are collaborating to further improve our respective services and really show what joined up working is all about. I have also worked in partnership with Viki Fox from Cyrenians and the thought of how much more we can do together is refreshing and a real opportunity we can’t miss. Together, we have been able to break down so many of the usual barriers to effective joint working and work towards our shared goals which the Change Team has solidified.

I have had countless opportunities being a Change Lead, one of the biggest for me so far was being invited to speak alongside other professionals about the importance of relationships at the ‘Safe As Houses’ Scotland’s Annual Homelessness Conference in November which I absolutely loved and would recommend to anyone to get involved if the chance arises. There really is no better opportunity to be able to speak to others about what you are passionate about and what you bring to the table. For me, this is where I feel I have the biggest influence as people get the chance to hear what I have to say and can decide to get on board with me for real partnership working and collaboration.