Joined-up services create community

ubuntu
An African word for “humanity”.

The word expresses the African philosophy of wholeness – it presupposes that one’s humanity is bound up with nature and with other people in the community. A popular idiom in many African communities is ‘one is an animal but two is a community’: humanity comes through being part of the community; all human beings are members of an extended family. 

A sense of extended family underpins our work. It is through becoming part of a community that long-term friendship and support becomes the norm as beneficiaries become volunteers and wider needs are addressed.

Key to this is our approach to joined-up services. Rather than offering silos of support, LifeLine takes a more integrated approach. Our Co-ordinators on the Champions Support Network for Parents and Carers, for example, work closely with SW!TCH’s Youth Outreach team, resulting in parents taking part in activities with young people and gaining understanding from their perspective and vice-versa, but also in cross-referrals between the staff teams, ensuring support is offered to parent and child.  

The internal processes within Lifeline Projects foster an environment of co-working: there are updates on other projects at team meetings; cross-team management meetings; co-delivery of workshops between the youth and parenting teams, and cross-project recruitment targets, which encourage staff to recognise where more holistic support can be offered and would be of benefit.

With a strong sense of team across the whole organisation, we can have maximum impact by identifying quickly other sources of support and facilitating referrals in a warm and encouraging way through introductions via known individuals, which increases the likelihood of engagement.  The impact of this wrap-around support is deeply significant.

I no longer feel lonely. I am now in the village of loved ones that I can relate with. My stress level has reduced, and when I do feel stressed, I have my mentors to discuss issues with. I feel comfortable asking for help.

Parent

Being part of community is more than being a recipient of services, our mentoring helps people recognise their skills and talents and encourages them to use them. SW!TCH Ambassadors, for example, are young leaders who start their own community projects and learn how to peer mentor others. With an integrated approach, there is opportunity for greater impact.

Seeing the positive change in their child as a result of having a mentor, some of our parent peer mentors were inspired to volunteer for the role in the Champions Support Network. Parent mentor Emma, for example, has a daughter who first got involved with Lifeline’s skating club in 2019 and is now a SW!TCH Ambassador.

Being part of a community where you can support others as well as access support has a significant impact. Champions Support Network Mentor Ash describes the negative impact having to shield had had on her mental health, which was transformed as she “became a lifeline” herself supporting others.

Lifeline allows individuals to connect with others no matter who you are and where you come from.

Ash, Mentor
ubuntu
Wholeness in action.
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email

Dr Anne Smith PhD

Champion Support Co-ordinator
Dr Anne Smith was awarded a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London in 2013 after seven years of research with refugees and migrants, exploring how approaches to drama-based learning could build community and increase participants’ sense of belonging. She has more than twenty years of experience in the formal and informal education sector, as a teacher and workshop facilitator in schools, universities and community settings. She has presented at conferences nationally and internationally on facilitating belonging. Recent conferences include University of Manchester, University of Cork and New York University. She has published extensively on facilitation techniques, language education and building community. As a researcher, she is passionate about identifying and disseminating good practice.

These articles may contain testimonials by LifeLine staff members and service users of our programmes and/or services. These testimonials reflect the real-life experiences and opinions of such staff members/ service users. However, the experiences are personal to those staff members/ service users and may not necessarily be representative of all staff members/ service users of our programmes and/or services. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all staff members/ service users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.

Testimonials are submitted in various forms such as text, audio and/or video, and are reviewed by us before being posted. They appear in the newsletter in words as given by the staff members and service users, except for the correction of grammar or typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened for the sake of brevity where the full testimonial contained extraneous information not relevant to the general audience.

The views and opinions contained in the testimonials belong solely to the individual user and do not reflect our views and opinions. Staff members/ service users are not paid or otherwise compensated for their testimonials.