Monthly Archives: November 2017

Rural Skills

Working together since 2009, Gwalia (Pobl – @poblgroup) and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (@BreconBeaconsNP) have developed a series of outdoor projects which have enhanced the lives of those living in supported housing and outreach clients.

One of the first initiatives was Brecon Beacons Community Champions which, with funding from NRW (Natural Resources Wales @NatResWales), supported young people in outdoor activity training. Participants all achieved their Bronze National Navigation Scheme Award (@nass_office) and went on to independently arrange and take part in their own choice of activities.

The activity projects so inspired the service users from the Brecon Foyer (Gwalia) they formed a local committee and constituted themselves as a group. The aims of the group were to provide inclusive and accessible activities and learning opportunities through anti discriminatory practice, to improve the image of young people and to increase awareness of issues affecting them. The group has since successfully gone on to secure funding for projects including an educational trip to Auschwitz following a project on Jewish History; a residential outdoor activity trip to Devon; visits to London and Rome and a healthy living project.

Further joint projects have included Geocaching Development 2010-12, Rural Skills 2012- 2014, Park Pathways 2014, Mental Health and Wellbeing Day 2015 and most recently Awards for All funding which has enabled the 2016/17 Rural Skills training programme to go ahead. This project has been hugely successful with all participants successfully achieving Agored Cymru (@AgoredCymru) accreditation in Outdoor Skills, Cutting docks, brambles,hedges and Practical Woodland Skills.

The combination of training and increased confidence in participants has been inspirational and resulted in the following outcomes: 1 individual has gained full time employment;

4 individuals have engaged with and participated in the BBNPA/Princes Trust (@PrincesTrustWales) Get into the Brecon Beacons programme including a two-week “Get  Into” programme  and Explore Enterprise, 2 individuals successfully recruited onto the BBNPA/  Princes Trust partnership  Get Into the Brecon Beacons 3-months work programme as Trainee Rangers – see ITV Wales coverage of the trainees here.

Matt Baker and the team from BBC Countryfile (@BBCCountryfile) joined the group on a Geocaching activity day to discover how accessing the natural environment with a little bit of new technology can trigger new ways of keeping active and improve mental wellbeing.

Inside Housing (@insidehousing) followed on from the television coverage and produced this article highlighting how Housing Support can enrich lives beyond just tenancy support.

The enthusiasm, participation and progression of everyone engaged in these projects  demonstrates the potential this work has to make a significant difference to the ways in which socially excluded groups view, access and derive socio-economic benefit from the outdoor environment.

In summary these locally focused projects have been developed by both partners to give the best possible support to young disadvantaged people living in both urban and rural areas of the Brecon Beacons National Park to help increase their access to education, employment and training opportunities.

Rural Skills

Using alternative delivery models to deliver public services

In researching this year’s alternative delivery models event, one common theme kept coming up: the importance of safe and secure housing and the organisations which are providing this service. 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, written in 1943, describes shelter as a fundamental physiological human need, alongside air, water and food.  You don’t get much more important than that.  So perhaps it isn’t surprising that in looking at alternative models for delivering public services, we found housing in the middle of it all.

But it isn’t just that the provision of a warm, safe and secure home is crucially important to a person’s stability and wellbeing.  The various organisations across Wales which are charged with delivering housing services are leading the way on some innovative, preventative, collaborative and impactful projects across a variety of service areas.  They are delivering services which might normally have had to be delivered by another public body or that are preventing demand on one or multiple public bodies; and they are partnering with public bodies, third sector, citizens and each other to deliver these services.  In terms of the Wellbeing for Future Generations Act, despite not being legislated by it, the housing sector is leading the way on how to implement it.

Housing organisations are well-placed to understand the needs of their tenants, they are ‘on the doorstep’, and are pushing forward with a wide range of projects to support their tenants.  Trish Hoddinott (Melin Homes), who is presenting a workshop at our event about a schools programme, summed it up for me when she said, “These are our tenants of the future and we want them to be healthy, happy and economically viable.”  This is the kind of preventative, long term thinking that will help to deliver the Wales We Want and to fulfil the seven goals of the Wellbeing for Future Generations Act.

The Welsh Government’s recent publication of its Programme for Government, ‘Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021’, puts secure housing as a priority for a Prosperous and Secure Wales.  It also talks about improving and reforming public services and facing issues through new ways of working, joined up programmes and working across traditional boundaries.

With this seminar, we will be showcasing some of the projects that we found during our research for this event.  These projects are tackling issues with young people, older people, domestic violence, mental health, supported housing, and in rural communities.  They are supporting people to stay in their homes and to ensure better outcomes for them.  They include partnerships, collaborations and multi-agency projects from across the sectors.  They are exemplifying prevention through intervention.  They are breaking through traditional boundaries.  As Matt Dicks (Chartered Institute of Housing), one of our panel members, stated “Small projects and frontline changes to the way we plan services could drive and push forward changes at a higher strategic level”.

There are many challenges that lie ahead for all organisations providing services to the public.  How best can we all work together to deliver the most effective services possible for all citizens?  Who needs to drive partnerships?  Who needs to be around the table?  Who is best-placed to deliver that service?  Thinking differently about how services are delivered is what alternative delivery models is all about.

Our Alternative Delivery Models event is being held in Cardiff on November 22nd and in Llanrwst on December 7thClick on the link to register.