Welcoming people – the new priority for the IPA

12th January 2022

The Independent People Ambassadors (IPA) 

IPA is a group of passionate young ambassadors who have a mission to create change. We have all used the service, or have experience of homelessness and want to make things better for future young people. We help shape and guide the service, working with the teams in 1625ip including the Strategic Leadership Team and the Trustees. We do peer support work with groups of young people. We look at feedback from wider groups of young people and in addition have one-on-one meaningful conversations with our peers to inspire the work we do at IPA. 

We meet once a month at the IPA Board to talk through our projects, give experienced feedback on relevant issues, co-produce action plans to improve services and create ideas for new ones. 

IPA Priority 

Every 6 – 12 months we discuss and vote on a priority. This will be our focus for a period of time, and we design action plans which create momentum for real change. Our IPA priority is recognised organisation-wide, and we hope that it is considered in external wider management and strategic decisions. This priority changes to reflect the changing needs of young people and recognises that the issues we face are not static. 

Our priority for the last year has been to reduce isolation and loneliness. This came out of the impact that extended national lockdowns had on the social lives of young people, and we hoped to create a space to mitigate the impact of this and a movement to ensure this was considered a priority for the organisation. We designed and set up Project Grapevine for other young people. This is a social space where our young people can connect and take part in free, fun activities, such as ice skating. 

“best thing we’ve done. Good to get people together and get to know each other. [we] do stuff we haven’t done before, come together with like-minded people, we all have things in common”

“FABULOUS! Chance for those young people in isolation or introverted to be a little bit extroverted, get out, have fun”

“Come! Its a friendly bunch, welcoming and chilled”

“it gives you something to look forward to”

New Priority – Welcoming People 

Now the new year has come, IPA would like to introduce our new priority of Welcoming People. In the latest IPA meeting there was a discussion about our motivation for choosing this theme and where it might take us over the course of the next year.  

The priority of ‘Welcoming people’ is important to us we want people to feel safe and comfortable when entering the service, recognising that this transition can bring a heightened sense of anxiety to people who are already having a hard time and may be suffering with poor mental health. We hope it will allow a greater sense of trust and belonging so young people can settle into their new home and surroundings. We also know that this will look different for young people from specific backgrounds, and the “welcome” should be tailored to their needs. 

In practice, we can see action happening in a social and supportive way, and in a practical, more logistic way. Some ideas we thought of were: 

A social way 

  • Introducing new young people to their housemates when they move in 
  • Regular house meetings facilitated by a staff member 
  • A buddy (young person) to walk them around the local area, help to settle and move in to their new home during their first week 
  • Setting a standard for behaviour of young people in the houses 
  • Making them aware of the other services that the charity offers, for example, with the engagement team, with education employment and training team, or signposting to other external services 

A practical way 

  • Increasing the standard of housing/flats, for example curtains, furnishings in communal areas, carpets etc. In addition, making sure this is the same across all the properties 
  • Reviewing policy and procedure is and ensuring it is followed and relevant actions taken 
  • Supplying cleaning equipment to properties and making sure young people know how to clean and maintain the properties they are housed in 
  • Consulting on the potential re-design of Kingsley Hall to ensure that the 1625ip creates a central space that is welcoming

We are really excited to get stuck-in to our new priority and to make a change to how young people, from all backgrounds and experiences, find the first introduction to the service. We have a commitment to explore the possibilities of this new priority and are excited to see where it goes. 

If you are a young person in the service and want to get involved in the work we are doing please contact: and see website page here.

 

 

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