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with you: what next?

As the COVID pandemic arrived this year, it quickly became clear that the most vulnerable - including many of the people we support - were at the greatest risk. It is also clear that the ongoing impact of the pandemic is changing behaviours across the UK, with rising anxiety and mental health needs, alongside changing trends around how people use alcohol and drugs. Trends are also changing on how people want to access any kind of service - from their grocery shopping, to their GP, to support like ours. We want to meet those needs and expectations to fit in with the new reality of people’s lives.

Our strong digital foundations meant that we could shift quickly into remote working — moving groups and 1-2-1s online, scaling support through webchat and online advice, helping people stay connected and part of communities from home — and we worked hard to ensure people could get clean equipment and essential medication with social distancing guidance in place.

We had already begun to collectively identify the themes of transformation which would help us improve the way we design and deliver our services, and the crisis has acted to accelerate and sharpen that discussion. Some core principles of how we redesign recovery are emerging, and they will have a major bearing on this role. So we thought it would be useful to outline them here.

  • Embracing diversity and flexibility: Coronavirus has forced us to work with people in different ways: professionals adapting programmes, individuals changing how they work with us, staff needing more flexibility to manage caring and shielding. How can we structure the way we work to be better for everyone?
  • Beyond buildings: Legacy models of private and public travel, service delivery and team management have been largely upended. What sort of infrastructure will we need in future? How will individual clients access services, and how will our teams deliver them in the most effective (and safe) way possible?
  • Parity with peers and recovery communities: The resourcefulness and commitment of volunteer groups, local networks and communities was a powerful force both during and after the lockdown. What would it mean to amplify and invest more in these communities? How could this change our role?

home-burst-yellow.original.pngWe need to be ready and rise to meet the challenge of the decade ahead, so that we continue to be there for anyone who needs our services. And we want to support and seed positive change, leading our sector by example.