Help on your Doorstep has been working on a four-year initiative supported by the National Lottery Fund called ‘Connecting for Change’ since 2019. This initiative works to support vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Islington by reducing barriers to wellbeing, increasing confidence and skills of local residents and strengthening communities and networks.

Our Connecting for Change programme is being evaluated by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR). During the Summer, IVAR contacted some of the residents and service users who we have engaged with during the Pandemic in Islington to hear about their experiences of the ‘Connecting for Change’ programme. The interviews gave an important insight into their experience on the ‘Connect for Change’ programme and the key barriers that impacted them during the course of the pandemic.

The interviews demonstrated that people’s situations are complex. It was evident that the pandemic has added an additional layer of loneliness, isolation and barriers to accessing agencies. During the interviews residents spoke about experiencing a multitude of barriers to making change happen including; poor mental health, a lack of knowledge about where to go and who to ask for support, not having the right paperwork and poor access to welfare entitlements. Furthermore, poor and unsafe housing, severe financial difficulty, isolation and poor ability to access services also came out vividly as key barriers being experienced by residents during the interviews.

What does work

The interviews with residents demonstrated that receiving a wide range of support that is linked to both building skills, building befriending networks and increasing residents’ wellbeing has been proven to work. When change does happen, residents told us this is because of them:

  • Learning to look after their wellbeing
  • Knowing who to approach and what skills and language to use when talking to ‘officials’
  • Knowing how to be an advocate for themselves
  • Receiving regular of support. 

How partners can help

When asked about how partners can better support residents of Islington, the residents provided the following suggestions;

  • Listening
  • Doing what they say
  • Regular phone contact, and follow-up (if a call is missed)
  • Being friendly and approachable
  • (Helping residents to) take control.

Help on your Doorstep are committed to supporting residents so they can access the information and services they need to live healthy and fulfilled lives. As we gather feedback from residents we look at how to make changes to ensure our Connect service best meets the needs of residents in Islington. To contribute towards the continued success of the Connect service please donate below. 

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