#AllIn for CoPro: ‘To see our concept drafted into legislation was special’

Since 2019 the All In For Change team has been using its wide-ranging expertise to help achieve objectives set out in the Scottish Government-COSLA Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.

The team works with decision makers in local and national government to develop policy, and one of its biggest successes to date has been developing prevention duties proposed for public bodies, intended to be written into law in the forthcoming Housing Bill.

Key aims of the programme, facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland, Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre, are bringing about co-ordinated working between different services and ensuring support services take a person-centred approach. The team also facilitates roadshows to take the temperature of how things are working around the country.

To mark Scottish Co-Production Network’s #CoProWeekScot, Change Leads have been sharing their experiences of working as part of #AllInForChange. Below we hear from David Pentland, on the team since the very start, and new Change Lead Lisa.

Members of the Change Team with Housing Minister Paul McLennan

David Pentland, Change Lead since 2019

When I joined the Change Team – an eclectic mix of lived experience, frontline workers and senior council staff – it was my first visit to the policy arena and the workings of Scottish Government.  

One of the first pieces of work after I joined in December 2019 was the Prevention Commission, a subgroup of the Change Team that fed directly into the Prevention Review Group facilitated by Claire and David from Homeless Network Scotland.  

They really broke down the ask of the Prevention Review Group well and supported us over many months to formulate a piece of ideal legislation that was reflective of what we thought needed to change in homelessness.  

Although I couldn’t make every meeting as I was working, I did however always feel completely up to date and ready to participate with the updates provided.  

To then watch our concept of prevention duties, placing a legal duty on statutory/public bodies to “Ask and Act” regarding people’s housing stability being drafted into legislation, was special. 

In the main Change Team, we did a lot of work with Beth from Heriot-Watt University’s I-SPHERE institute, looking at research models and a lot of the work the institute had been commissioned to do historically. I really enjoyed drinking in the information, and I became really interested in policy and legislation. 

The Change Team has evolved since launch and was inhibited during the lockdown restrictions. It was however exciting to come out of lockdown and start work on the roadshows.  

We planned and carried out roadshows in five areas of Scotland – it was exciting to see what the reality was on the ground and how central government initiatives had improved the lives of people experiencing homelessness. 

Being part of the Change Team has been a worthwhile endeavour and I would like to think it has brought policy and legislation closer to the people experiencing homelessness. 

‘It is liberating experiencing co-production’

Lisa, new Change Lead

To be part of All In For Change inspires me as it consists of a full circle of members, from those with professional status to people who have used services. Experiencing both sides brings passion to support evolving positive change.

It is liberating experiencing co-production as power in numbers creates a wider strength for our cause. Different personal experiences and outlooks on what is needed, once brainstormed and navigated, creates a need and ideas for change.

The value of co-production being brought to homelessness policy making is togetherness, a cohesive community, creating a positive support bubble – ‘ALL IN FOR CHANGE’.

The Change team’s successes and future priorities are set out in this evaluation of the programme’s first 3 years

#AllIn for CoPro: ‘We can make better policy with people’

All In For Change provides a platform for people with experience of homelessness and frontline staff to connect with decision makers and contribute to the development and implementation of homelessness policy.

To mark Scottish Co-Production Week, Louise Thompson from the Scottish Government’s Homelessness Unit shares her experiences of working with the Change Team in areas including the new prevention duties – driven by a sense of purpose, collaboration and plenty of laughter.

The Change Team contribute to the development and implementation of policy by ensuring our policies are informed by the lived experience of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

There are many examples where the Change Team have contributed to Scottish Government policy on homelessness.

One which is current and ongoing is their contribution to the development of new prevention duties which are intended to be introduced in the Housing Bill.

Change Leads co-designed the questions on lived experience with colleagues from the Homelessness Unit for the prevention duties consultation.

Change Leads will be an important partner in ensuring the Scottish Government get this legislation right, including through their involvement in developing guidance to reflect the needs of people experiencing homelessness in a practical and meaningful way.

As civil servants, myself and colleagues in the Homelessness Unit work hard to make changes and develop policies to help people, but we can make better policy with people. This is why the Change Team, and the experience they bring, is so important and why I consider myself lucky that I get to work with them.

Louise Thompson, Scottish Government Homelessness Unit

Recently the Change Team has been further strengthened by the addition of new paid Homeless Network Scotland Associates. The new recruits are already bringing their experiences to our work around the prevention duties and sharing their insights into what is working and what could be better in services, from adopting more person-centred and joined-up approaches to reducing stigma.

Looking ahead, I am excited about there being another ‘taking the temperature’ tour where the Change Team travel across Scotland to hear the views of people with experience of homelessness and who work in homelessness.

Offering opportunities for people to participate from different parts of the country, including rural and island communities as well as under-represented groups, is important in gathering evidence.

As civil servants, myself and colleagues in the Homelessness Unit work hard to make changes and develop policies to help people, but we can make better policy with people. This is why the Change Team, and the experience they bring, is so important and why I consider myself lucky that I get to work with them.

The All In For Change team’s successes and future priorities are set out in this evaluation of the programme’s first three years

#AllIn for CoPro: ‘We can shift the power balance’

Co-production Week is the perfect opportunity to talk about the impact of All in For Change, the collective set up to challenge the systems around homelessness and give a platform to people with personal and professional experience of homelessness.

People with experience of homelessness, policy experts, decision makers and frontline workers are united in the Change Team. Their knowledge of systems, services and on-the-ground reality – and their connection via the team – are key to making people’s lives better and building momentum to end homelessness.

To celebrate Scottish Co-Production Network’s #CoProWeekScot, Change Leads have shared their experiences of being a part of #AllInForChange. Today we hear from Homeless Network Scotland Associate Mark Cairney, recently recruited as a Change Lead.

This brilliant opportunity to be a Change Lead with lived experience has enabled me to develop my understanding and application of co-production in a solution-focused team.

As a new Change Lead, I can challenge directly the problem of homelessness via co-production at a national, local and programme level.

I joined All In For Change to connect with different stakeholders across the homeless landscape, researching their views and experiences to discover what impact current policy has on them.

This means scrutinising policy through evidence of what is happening in people’s lives, workplaces and communities – their own places and spaces. I see this connection as a renewal of homeless policy and planning, and creating a new evidence infrastructure of how we measure progress and impact.

I am particularly interested in embracing the lived experience of minoritised ethnic people, as our evidence base becomes more diverse and our connections become more human.

A significant success of the Change Team is using co-production to connect people, develop new partnerships and relationships. I am excited to be part of a team that will re-evaluate how we measure impact and generate new knowledge through our roadshows.

I want to be part of how we adapt our Change programmes, produce more transparent learning outcomes and promote bolder preventative Best Practice. Co-production can bridge the gap between policy and practice and help find person-centred solutions driven by lived experience.

I want to fully participate and enjoy being in a Change Team that continues to bring authentic, valued voices of lived experience and frontline work to policy making. We can shift the balance of power through collective ways of knowing and doing to end homelessness.

The All In For Change team’s successes and future priorities are set out in this evaluation of the programme’s first three years.

Why we’re #AllIn for CoPro: ‘I’m very proud to be part of this’

Co-production Week is all about showcasing examples of CoPro, so let’s talk about All In For Change — a collective created four years ago to challenge the systems built up around homelessness.

The Change Team is made up of people with experience of homelessness, policymakers and frontline workers. If one definition of co-production is “combining everyone’s strengths to achieve positive change”, All In For Change is a great example of putting that principle into real action.

Since 2019 the team has been using its wide-ranging expertise to help achieve objectives set out in the Scottish Government-COSLA Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.

Change Leads work with decision makers in local and national government to develop policy — one of its biggest successes has been developing prevention duties proposed for public bodies, intended to be written into law in the forthcoming Housing Bill.

Key aims of the programme, facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland, Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre, are bringing about co-ordinated working between different services and ensuring support services take a person-centred approach.

To mark Scottish Co-Production Network’s #CoProWeekScot, Change Leads have shared their experiences of working as part of #AllInForChange — starting with Amanda Rutherford, an Engagement and Assessment worker at Crisis.

I became involved with the Change Team in Autumn 2021. I was intrigued by the concept that, as a frontline worker, I could be part of something that could make a difference to homelessness in Scotland.  Change Leads bring different experiences and knowledge to the table from across the country.

The way the Change Team was created results in an equal and level playing field so that everyone, regardless of their background, has a voice and their opinion is respected. 

Mutual respect and being open to learning leads to a positive environment which enables co-production and lively debate. This has led to ideas, such as ‘Ask and Act’, being introduced to the Scottish Parliament as part of the upcoming Housing Bill — a direct result of collaboration within the Change Team.

Co-production brings real benefits to ending homelessness in that those who see the reality of homelessness in Scotland on a day-to-day basis can influence government policy. The Change Team are an incredible team who work well together, and I am very proud to be part of this.

The All In For Change team’s successes and future priorities are set out in this evaluation of the programme’s first three years.

Christmas comes early for Gorbals & Pollok communities with £200,000 Lottery ‘win’

Grassroots community organisations in the Gorbals and Pollok areas of Glasgow have received £200,000 from Homeless Network Scotland thanks to a National Lottery Community Fund project which is designed to prevent homelessness in communities in Glasgow. The decision about what organisations received the funding was made by a panel of local people in each community.

The ‘Staying In’ project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, with Homeless Network Scotland and partners Unity and SCDC, joining local people and organisations on a panel to allocate funding based on innovative ideas and solutions to prevent homelessness where it starts – in communities – using a ‘place based’ model.

A place-based approach goes local, recognising that within a community there are existing resources, skills and a willingness to solve the issues experienced by people who live there.

Diaspora African Women Support Network (DAWSUN) received £34,800 to support vulnerable families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless. The drop in at the Adelphi Centre in Gorbals will be open twice a week for service users and will be a community-based early intervention program to help individuals who are at-risk of becoming homeless.

Dr Chioma Nwafur, Executive Director, Diaspora African Women Support Network (DAWSUN), said: “The ‘Staying In’ Gorbals funding has allowed us to provide wrap-around support for Ethnic minority families at risk of homelessness before they present as homeless. Our homelessness intervention hub is open on Thursdays and Fridays. The majority of families are asylum seekers, refugees and ethnic minorities who speak very little English, struggling with the challenges of overcrowding, squatting, low income and troubles with neighbours. The funding meant that DAWSUN could assign them individual caseworkers and teach English.”

SWAMP in Pollok is a Community Development Trust and charity, using training, outreach, film, music, digital technologies, gardening and the creative arts to bring about change. They received £45,000 from the fund.

Andy Peline from SWAMP said: “As a community-led development trust we understand our community and are well placed to address many of the issues within it. However, the hardest part is securing the resources to tackle local priorities. Thanks to the support of the National Lottery Community Fund, we will be in a better position to create local employment opportunities and directly address the causes of homelessness within our community. We plan to test a wraparound service that will not only remove the threat of eviction but will also support people to manage their tenancies in the future.”

Preventing homelessness is made easier by circumstances such as access to adequate income or some savings, positive relationships, social networks and support or advice, advocacy and information about available services. The ‘Staying In’ programme is about helping people to stay in their area if they are at risk of homelessness.

John Edmiston, Area Housing Manager with New Gorbals Housing Association, which received £40,000 funding, said: “This fund is to target and support people who might be at risk of homelessness or who have come from homelessness. For people who have that experience one of the biggest problems in a new flat is the lack of essential items and utilities everybody needs to set up and maintain a comfortable home.

“We’ll provide essential home items such as flooring, seating, beds, bedding, microwaves and window blinds as well as support with the first month’s food shop and initial gas and electricity payment. Thanks to this Lottery funding we have been able to develop our idea to help new tenants at risk of, or who have experienced, homelessness to remain in the local Gorbals community or settle in here.”

The National Lottery Community Fund’s Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said: “When we announced this package of funding back in June 2019, we hoped that it would support a wider change across the sector and support organisations to work more collaboratively to address the issue of homelessness in Glasgow.  I am delighted that, some two and a half years later, the first awards are being announced from the Community Trailblazers programme and that National Lottery funding will have such a lasting and positive impact.”

David Ramsay, Change Lead at Homeless Network Scotland, helped to facilitate the scheme and also grew up in Pollok. David said: “The best way to end homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place. This was close to my heart because of my ties to the area, I have seen so many situations where people had to move away from family networks and friends because of homelessness. We must help people stay in their communities where the right support is available.”