After just over a year off on maternity leave raising a very special little girl (I am biased I know!) I am so pleased to be back at work, juggling a new set of responsibilities and challenges. Before returning in April I felt anxious about what the reality of work would be now, especially since I had left the office at the start of lockdown and hadn’t returned. I was thrilled to be back in, around my colleagues and even more excited to be back for the first “in person” Change Team Retreat since 2020.
That the Change Team has continued to function since lockdown, when they were only in their infancy as a team, is a credit to the determination and commitment of the members themselves. When we all had Zoom fatigue, they continued to come together and work tirelessly on ensuring the changes outlined in the Ending Homelessness Together plan were reaching those who are most affected by homelessness – the people who are experiencing it and the frontline workers who support them. The Change Team have made huge contributions to policy and practice throughout lockdown, including contributing to the Everyone Home Collective, holding a National Conversation consultation exercise and feeding into many external consultations. On top of this, they have been working on their own priorities for change and taking platforms at conferences and webinars to share their message.
On the 20th of April in Arnotdale House we were finally able to bring the Team together in person again. For some, it was a welcome return to a serene venue and for newer members it was their first visit and first time meeting their fellow Change Leads in real life. I know I was a bit nervous and I’ve done this plenty of times before so I can only imagine how our new Change Leads felt on their journey.
From the moment the first Change Lead arrived there was a buzz in the air. The atmosphere was amazing, and enthusiasm was palpable. The day was filled with introductions, ice breakers and activities to allow us all to get to know each other better and feel as comfortable as possible, creating the ideal Team dynamic for what we know will be a really successful and productive year for the All in for Change programme.
To set us up for success, the Team have voted on the priorities to focus on over the coming year at our monthly Retreats, where we will invite experts in each field to share knowledge and answer questions. Growing our own knowledge and sharing our own expertise will stand the Team in good stead for another busy year of influencing change.
Our areas for focus for the year’s retreats are:
- Flexible and person-centred support
- Youth homelessness
- Ending stigma connected to drug use
- Support for people in tenancies
- Holding tenancies for people serving short term sentences
- Health and wellbeing
- Raise awareness of social justice issues
Each of the priorities fit under one of our 4 New Directions, People First, At Home, No Wrong Door and Good Vibes.
If your organisation has expert knowledge or specialist experience in any of the issues listed and would be interested in sharing your expertise with the Change Team, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you involved.
Watch this space, as I think this could be our most impactful year yet!