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Changing Futures Team Day

On the 19th July we held our first Changing Futures team event in Brighton. In recent months as team numbers across Sussex have been growing, and client numbers topped 100, we felt it was high time that we got everyone together to meet, encourage each other in the work, and to celebrate our achievements so far. We wanted everyone to leave feeling informed, energised, and inspired, and better connected to the Programme as a whole.



Fears about train difficulties were quickly forgotten as almost sixty people gathered at the Brighthelm Centre. This included frontline practitioners, managers, strategic leaders, Changing Futures executive members as well as the programme team.

The day was kicked off, after coffee and networking by Lyndsey, the Deputy Project Manager, our hostess with the mostest for the day. She began by outlining the aims of the day to:

  • Celebrate our achievements so far

  • Share challenges & learning

  • Hear updates from the programme team

  • Network with colleagues across Sussex

  • Gain inspiration & support

  • Think together about system change

After a presentation by Richard Lewis on the Make Every Adult Matter (MEAM) network’s offer of support to the National Programme, Jo Rogers, the Programme Lead outlined the story so far, our systems change goals, the shape of our delivery teams and the key achievements in service delivery and governance. This included reflecting on the establishment of Multi-Disciplinary Teams in Brighton & Hove , East Sussex and West Sussex – with 22 staff in post, 11 further vacancies and a combined caseload of 112.


This led neatly into presentations around the system change areas. Andree Ralph, our Lived Experience Co-Ordinator outlined the work we are doing with co-production and the involvement of Lived Experience. The clarion call was that ‘We want co-production to be the ‘business as usual’ not the exception!’



Louise Patmore, Systems change Lead, spoke to our workforce development workstream, putting trauma informed practice at the heart of all that Changing Futures does. We will soon have delivered training to over 1,700 staff, leaders and teams, and will be developing service walk-throughs, working on metrics to help measure trust and a focus on changing the language used in services, language that shapes reality for our clients and defines staff attitudes to the work.


Dave Farr, our Data and Information Officer had a scamper through the current data regarding clients, nominations, presenting needs as well as outlining plans for an interactive dashboard for all to access.



After a short break we were treated to three presentations from each of the areas of Changing Futures Sussex by the respective Project Delivery Officers. Lauren Payne (West) spoke of a fully mobilised team, adopting innovative engagement techniques with clients including compiling hopes and dreams lists, trauma informed tips of the week, and even taking clients to a local Buddhist monastery after which a client reflected, “I finally understood what peace felt like.”


Nisha Vesuwala (East) reflected on the ‘small but strong’ team in East Sussex and about the strong partnership alliances with many of the boards and groups engaged with multiple complex needs in the County. Changing Futures is viewed as a ‘critical friend’ and is at the heart of strategic decision making. Like all our teams, East Sussex have struggled with recruitment, but the team have nonetheless achieved great things with their clients, focussing on women’s support, a safe accommodation pathway, and a focus on physical health and wellbeing with the clients.

In Brighton and Hove, Martin Powell shared the team’s growth and continued success with clients by sharing a short video of staff reflecting on the successes, challenges and hopes for the future. These included the value of a person-centred approach – workers enjoyed the time to build relationship with clients, and found it resulted in increased engagement and enabled better outcomes. The team also greatly valued the multi-disciplinary nature of the team, with all the shared expertise that brings, including the ‘jewel in the crown’, Peer Support Work. You can view the video here.


Everyone in the room had had time between each presentation to discuss what they had heard and then we all fed back, the themes of which would be picked up in the afternoon.

So…finally, it was lunchtime… and a delicious lunch was accompanied by much conversation and networking.

After taking a team photograph (see above), and once Andree had warmed us up with body percussion (don’t ask!) The main part of the afternoon was built around a systems change exercise led by Louise. She began by asking us “What do we want to solve together?” After reflecting on the themes from the morning we drilled down to the subject of staff wellbeing.


Together we decided some priorities to start doing, stop doing and do more of…

The last part of the afternoon was reflecting on how far the journey of Changing Futures has taken us all. It began with the video with the voices of Lived Experience that was part of the original bid for the Changing Futures funding (you can watch that here) and was followed by reflections from the executive team (Jo Rogers, Michaela Richards – Head of Safer Communities ESCC, Chas Walker - Integrated Service Transformation BHCC and Hilary Bartle – CEO StonePillow) on the journey, their hopes for the future as well as what inspires them to keep going in the field systems change and multiple complex needs. It was inspiring moment, and there were lots of nodding heads as Hilary shared her passion for the change that the Changing Futures approach embodies.



The final task for the day was to complete postcard pledges. We were asked ‘What will I do differently after today…?’ People filled in a postcard, wrote their address on it and it will be posted back to them at a future date as a reminder of the day.


Overall, the day was informative and enjoyable and there was a great buzz and pride on the part of all involved about the work and our hopes for the future.

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