As part of our ongoing commitment to reflection learning and development, our team met at the offices of Rock , Kitchen, and Harris, on Tuesday 20th June, for an away day where we reflected on the learning arising from implementing our #PowerToChange Model.
Those present , felt it was a creative and empowering model, that took young people, community, business, and public sector on a journey, where all participants could learn and where the possibilities for systemic and individual change were discovered. When discussing what made the approach different to other methods of youth and community support, the following was shared:
• It seeks to embrace and understand structures, systems, and complexity, that lead to issues…cause and effect.
• Does not want to fix/mend people but empower them to bring about change for themselves and others .
• Looks at collective as well as individual.
• Is creative, agile and can adapt(quickly) not caught up in red tape and predetermined agendas.
• Strong emphasis on Partnership and that includes business.
Others seek to put out fires we seek to light the fire of inspiration and self belief in young people
As we discussed further, we felt many agencies very focussed on the “power within “ circle of our model, that fits in with wellbeing and trauma informed practice. We recognise this is important, but we also must ask “why”, and seek to work with young people and communities to identify the causes that lead to issues arising. An example shared was:
If care system puts a young person aged 17 in unsuitable accommodation, and social workers fail to keep in touch and this happens as a matter of routine, it is the system that is causing the issues, that “might” lead to YP, getting caught up in county lines, becoming depressed, getting into unsafe relationships
Broken systems break people, so as well as supporting young people to develop and move on , we also need to identify and fix broken systems
We noted even within our team it can be “easy” to get caught up on just the “power within” circle and young people might be reluctant to think about wider issues. However, when we have enabled this to happen it has been really empowering and beneficial for the young people, but this does require staff who are willing to think about “bigger picture” and guide young people to develop an understanding of this. We also shared the importance of ongoing reflection and learning, as we listen to and respond to young people and community groups.
We then shared what Key skills and knowledge we felt we needed to be effective #PowerToChange workers:
• Good understanding of sector/neighbourhood, you are working in and knowledge of how decisions are made that affect it, who has power and how they can be influenced.
• Effective communicator, who is at ease speaking with a variety of audiences and who can actively listen, empathise, and respond.
• Ability for youth staff to connect with YP, some of whom might be challenging or apathetic and unwilling to “take action”.
• Creative and agile problem solver, who can think and act quickly as situations demands, ”join dots” and make things happen.
• Positive, can do attitude, able to see through issues and apathy , and inspire people by enabling them to discover positive possibilities and pathways.
• Able to reflect , learn, share, and adapt , so performance and practice remains relevant to needs of YP and communities and is improving.
• Leads by example “walks the talk” of #PowerToChange in their practice and interactions with all stakeholders.
As we closed the session we reflected on our key learning and take aways from our discussions:
• Life is complicated but by working together we can give each other hope and bring about change.
• People are different no fits all size solutions.
• Partnership and connection are key.
• Partnering with local groups and Cllrs strengthens our work.
• Importance of reflection and ongoing learn, so you are better able to bring about change.
• To light the fire, I need to have fire within
• Need to focus on big picture.
• Do not follow easy fix them paths.
• Need to see beyond individuals to bigger picture.
• Everyone can help some one and can all make a difference.
• Listen, be flexible, adapt, be resilient, learn and do not panic.
• Get up and carry on.
All present, felt that our #PowerToChange approach was a very relevant and powerful tool to use when working with young people and communities. Our emphasis on understanding complexity , the need for creative and agile partnerships, and tackling systemic cause as well as individual effects and our ongoing commitment to reflection and learning made us different and “successful”.
For more information on our #PowerToChange approach https://www.leicestershirecares.co.uk/about-charity/our-approach/power-to-change/