Hearing from our partners Since 2019, we have been working on a four-year initiative called Connecting for Change. It is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and aims to achieve three outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Islington Outcome 1: reduced barriers to wellbeing Outcome 2: increased personal confidence and capacity Outcome 3: improved support networks and happier, stronger communities. Our Connecting for Change programme is being evaluated by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR). In January and February 2021, IVAR contacted some of the key partner organisations we have worked with during the Pandemic to support Islington residents. What was it like, working with Help on Your Doorstep through the Pandemic? IVAR summarised their findings “It was all about keeping going. Partners reflected that Help on Your Doorstep is a reliable and connected organisation that has stayed open throughout the pandemic. Partners have appreciated the way the team was able to take creative approaches in looking for solutions, as well as Help on Your Doorstep’s reach into communities and in particular the ability to step up quickly and be responsive.” Our partners said “It is support for individuals that are struggling – Help on Your Doorstep help them with form filling and paperwork. Some individuals suffer from anxiety and need someone to speak on their behalf to give them representation.” “They [Help on Your Doorstep] are an honest broker, open and welcoming, fountain of knowledge.” What has helped people the most in this time? IVAR summarised their findings “Knowing what services are out there to support residents for example emergency help with food or fuel for example and/or very specialist services…. Sorting people’s issues out to get a resolution (for example access to welfare support and benefits) has increased people’s confidence, helping them to see what they can ask for and they in turn have seen that it is possible for the system to work for them. It is also about the emotional response from the organisation.” Our partners said “Help on Your Doorstep draw things together and make the best decisions- guiding residents and asking the right questions. Providing support to navigate difficult systems.” “They are a very human organisation – we can talk about how we are feeling.” “They have helped us develop our practice....” What is Connecting for Change and how does it help? IVAR summarised their findings “The Connecting for Change approach is where someone is supported over the longer term by Help on Your Doorstep to work towards their own goals. Partners welcomed knowing more about this approach, as well as the more regular and responsive support. Providing that ‘held’ supportive space for residents to often take small steps in realising their own potential is recognised as being fundamental to helping residents to help themselves.” Our partners said “I liked what you said about Connecting for Change. The prevention approach.” “If there was one thing…” IVAR asked if there was one thing partners thought should be a key focus for Help on Your Doorstep in the next 12 months, that would make the biggest difference/impact to the lives of Islington residents Organisations that took part in the evaluation included Holloway Neighbourhood Group The Peel Centre The Shaw Trust – Get Back on Track The Parent House The Toy Project St Joseph's Hospice Islington Works Thank you It is great for us to get feedback and we would like to thank the partners taking part in the evaluation and IVAR for their dedication to the ongoing evaluation of Connecting for Change. We will continue to learn from and develop the relationship with our partners, in order support and empower Islington residents. If you are an organisation that would like to find out more about working with us to improve the lives of Islington residents, you can find out more here.