1 of 9 Listening to the grassroots

“The further decision making is from people, the less likely it is that organisations can identify the right problem and find the right solutions.”

The grassroots-led nature of the PTS aims to level the power balance within organisations and presents an opportunity to listen to the experiences and nuances of person-led practice. This is done through the Wisdoms methodology which is a ‘psychology informed’ way of listening to people’s experiences without othering or steering the agenda. This deep listening and reflection ensures that the systemic barriers identified inform organisational thinking and the right problem definition.

Carrying out specific local Wisdoms enquiries with people before starting the PTS Response would bring the voices of people into the heart of the organisational understanding and instil the grassroots learning culture.

Experience has shown that we need to be strategically led by the collective voice of people and not by the latest sector backed innovation. Only through listening at a grassroots level and reflecting on the current system can we find solutions for those trapped/damaged within the social care, homelessness, mental health and criminal justice systems. We can only radically change the system when we see and feel what the problems are.

Coaches, where they are encouraged to be politicised, have the freedom to be social activists so that people we work with are less likely to blame themselves and internalise symptoms as pathology when they understand the wider context of their situations and therefore can heal from their trauma.

A Bold Move from Westminster

Former Lead Commissioner for Supported Housing and Rough Sleeper Services, Robert White, has made a bold move from Westminster City Council to join Mayday Trust, an organisation which has found that people are being institutionalised and trapped in social care systems. Robert joins Mayday as Director of Change to drive a paradigm shift throughout London and the South East, focusing on changing the systems people encounter when seeking help through tough times, such as homelessness. This new work is being funded by Oak Foundation and the Lankelly Chase Foundation, both renowned for investing in forward-thinking and radical new ideas.

Robert has spent the last six years at Westminster City Council, championing its brave and open-minded response to tackling homelessness. This includes commissioning London’s first Personal Transitions Service (PTS) team, which offers people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to work alongside a PTS Coach to recognise and build on strengths, similar to how top athletes are trained, while creating friends and connections in the local community away from homeless services.

As part of his work, Robert will continue to work with willing Local Authority Commissioner’s in London and the South East to launch the UK’s first Transitions Pilot, developing a new commissioning response for homelessness services. This new way of working will aim to eradicate the many systemic barriers people face when trying to move on from a tough time.

Robert White, Director of Change at Mayday Trust said: “Change is always daunting but seeing such progressive and confident investment from the likes of Oak Foundation and Lankelly Chase is a reassuring reminder that we are moving in the right direction. Now is the time for change, this funding further cements a joint commitment to reconstructing a system that works for the individual and I’m excited to be a part of that alongside Local Authority colleagues.”

Joe Doran, Lankelly Chase said: “This is an exciting step towards reimagining how social commissioning architecture could work for everyone. Mayday’s approach and values have disrupted how service providers work with people and we are curious to see whether using a similar methodology and the same values could have an equal effect on how those services are designed in the first place.”

Read Robert’s latest blog on his move from Westminster, or for more on Mayday’s work in London and the South East, please get in touch

Mayday is Changing!

In 2011 Mayday did something that we hadn’t done before – we deeply listened to the people working and living with us. We didn’t ask the usual questions about people’s needs or what services they thought they needed, instead, we started each conversation with a single question, what do you think of the services you receive? And then we listened. The fascinating results have been widely circulated in the form of a publication called ‘Wisdom from the Street’.

Mayday has spent the last nine years changing every aspect of what we do as a result of what we heard, learned and experienced. We have evolved a wholly new approach to tackling homelessness called the Personal Transitions Service (PTS), and we have transformed from a medium-size supported housing charity to a national influencer for strategic change.

As part of our ongoing adaptation to respond to what we learn and experience from working in a person-led way, we will be transferring our current work at Bruce House and associated properties in Westminster to Changing Lives, one of our first PTS Innovation Partners in 2017, who have adopted the PTS approach across their work and have been modelling person-led change in the North East of England. We will be continuing to work closely with Changing Lives, making the transition as seamless as possible for people currently working and living with us.

Mayday will be continuing to work in the area, as alongside Westminster City Council, has received investment to evolve a new commissioning approach. This will be built around the person and their transition through a tough time, as opposed to a system divided into silos focusing on problems. This is a very exciting next phase for the work and we will be further developing our work in London and the South East.  This change will take place on the 1st October 2020.

The reason for the change is that Mayday’s focus will now be on System Change. With a huge level of support and backed by a number of investors, we will be soon launching our new work and partnerships from across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland with individuals and organisations who share our passion in creating a new person-led system for those going through tough times, such as homelessness. So watch this space!

For information on the PTS services now offered by Changing Lives in Westminster please contact Amy.middleton@changing-lives.org.uk

Please contact marsha.rule@changing-lives.org.uk for housing referrals which are accepted via The Clearing House.

New Chair and Vice Chair for Mayday’s Board of Trustees

Mayday Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of Julie McEver as the new Chair of its Board of Trustees and Vincent Bowen as Vice Chair.

Julie McEver is Deputy Corporate Director (Programmes and Projects) at Local Partnerships with responsibility for a wide-ranging set of programmes and projects. Local Partnerships is a joint venture between the Local Government Association, HM Treasury and the Welsh Government. They occupy a unique position in the public sector, facilitating change by working impartially and collaboratively across all parts of central, local and regional government, and the devolved administrations. Julie has been with Local Partnerships since its inception and has been a Mayday Trustee for the past four years, and was voted into her new position by fellow trustees.

Mayday’s outgoing Chair, Andrew Meehan, has been instrumental in getting Mayday to where it is today. Andrew joined the Board in 2015, and, together with his fellow Trustees, led Mayday through the successful development of Personal Transitions Service and has bravely supported the mission when many would have faltered.

Vincent Bowen, a director of CMC Consulting Ltd, will take over from Stephen Brown as Vice-Chair. Stephen has kindly agreed to remain on the Board and work alongside his fellow Trustees as Mayday enters a new chapter.

Pat McArdle, Mayday CEO said: “I am delighted that Julie and Vincent will lead the next stage in Maydays development and sincerely thank Andy and Stephen for making a real difference over the last number of years.”

Mayday would like to thank all of its trustees, both present and past, for their continued support, expertise and guidance.

A Message from Pat McArdle, CEO Mayday Trust

This week the murder of George Floyd has reminded us of the institutional racism that exists not only in the US but in this Country. The oppression that is experienced by black people all over the world. Many are speaking out but the question raised within Mayday is what follows the pain and outrage

Can we create something now that survives beyond the hashtag?

I have felt distraught, ashamed that I haven’t done enough but I am determined to do more.

I am inspired by the advice of Dr. Muna Abdi:

  • Own your privilege
  • Talk about the uncomfortable
  • Be strategic in your activism
  • Figure out where and how you can do the most good
  • Start where you are
  • Ask yourself what do I want the future to look like
  • Do your research
  • Resist the white savior complex
  • Start with your own circle
  • Be brave

Reference can be found here

Mayday Trust believes that #BlackLivesMatter

System Reflect

There’s a lot of talk within the sector around strength based practice and asset based work, but what does it mean to really work in a genuinely person-led way?

Based on years of experience developing a whole systems approach to strength based work, we are delighted to present System Reflect, a one day session that shares the learning (and sometimes the pain) of developing and delivering the Personal Transitions Service, a highly personalised, grassroots approach that places power and control in the hands of the people, not the system.

This session is experiential and allows for reflection on the current deficit based system, debunks some of the myths around people going through tough times. It aims to challenge mind-sets and behaviours around ‘fixing’ and power dynamics, explores how strength based approaches work in practice and how internal culture and external systems need to change to create the environment for people to genuinely take the lead.

Course Content

  • Reflection on the current deficit/ needs based system
  • Overview, background and development of the Personal Transitions Service
  • Reflection on the effects of the current system for the people we work with
  • Fixing and segregation
  • Strength based, person-led approach in practice
  • Internal culture
  • Contributing to wider systemic change

Session Outcomes

  • Gain an improved understanding of the current deficit system
  • Reflection on the impact of traditional services on people going through tough times, such as homelessness
  • Gain greater insight of how the current system feels for those going through it
  • Gain knowledge of how PTS was developed and the benefits for people going through tough times
  • Learn the basics of the PTS and practice how to apply them when working with people going through tough times

Who’s it for?

  • Individuals working with people going through tough life transitions
  • Volunteers
  • Managers
  • Senior Managers
  • Marketing and Fundraising Teams
  • Housing Teams
  • Anyone who has a passion for systems change!
Want to know more or book you place in the next course? Get in touch innovate@maydaytrust.org.uk