LifeLine Projects

Do what you can, with what you have

December 8, 2023

Each December, as it gets closer to the end of the year, I find myself becoming more reflective— thinking on what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost over the past twelve months.

We’ve taken on quite a few new staff, lost a couple along the way, and welcomed back some former colleagues to LifeLine once more. We’ve forged new partnerships, helped create new initiatives, and taken on new contracts. We’ve made important gains by supporting even more young people and adults in further new locations. We’ve continued to develop the support we deliver, yet some services have come to their natural end.

Progress is rarely smooth and easy—in fact, it tends to be a bit of a struggle. Some of our bigger gains came from choosing not to play it safe, to take some risks. There is a famous fable known as the Parable of the Talents—in short, it’s about the dangers of being too cautious and not be willing to take risks. I’ve written previously about what people lose personally from being afraid of change. Yet change is inevitable, especially in the third sector. If you don’t embrace it, ultimately your beneficiaries will lose out.

Staying calm and having faith with a positive attitude is a desirable mindset. If you remain flexible and face the future with confidence, you can overcome fear and achieve great things. Our instinctive reaction to stress and danger is ‘fight, flight, or freeze’. This can decrease risk, but it may not be a suitable strategy especially when managing an organisation. Hope is about having a vision and faith is having confidence in that vision. You can be faithful with what you have, even if you just have a little.

Like most charities, we’ve had times where our funded work has reached the end of the contracted period, and we were left hanging on for the next round of funding. For most organisations, this is a time of high risk. You could be over-cautious and restructure your organisation. Or you could stay calm and have faith that your hard work will pay off and you’ll win new contracts and secure that funding. Either can be the right response. Your response can determine your future.

LifeLine Staff Day 2023

I’ve learnt a lot from the times when funding was scarce. But the quiet times are the perfect opportunity for taking risks. You can use that quiet time to develop your principles, improve your systems, and work out the best way to expand your services. The key is to use the little you have effectively—”don’t despise the day of small beginnings”. Most importantly, you must try your best to hold on to your biggest asset—your staff. They’ll reward your loyalty by making your organisation grow. You’ll also be better prepared for when those contracts and funding come in.

Theodore Roosevelt said,

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

At LifeLine, we know we already do a lot of great work, but we want to expand our services further. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in 2023 and I’m excited for what we can do in 2024.

In 2023, we’ve expanded our services by:

  • Providing more mentoring and positive activities for young people.
  • Partnering with StreetGames to provide capacity building support for youth organisations in East London.
  • Partnering with London Youth to support organisations across London in applying the Mayor’s Mentoring Quality Framework.
  • Partnering with Barking and Dagenham and Mind Havering to providing infant feeding and antenatal sessions and training community peer supporters.
  • Raising community health awareness and using the feedback to improve services.
  • Established SW!TCH Communities on two new estates to build the capacity of the residents to prevent youth violence.

In 2024, we’d like to make a bigger impact by:

  • Evidencing the impact high-quality mentoring can have on mental health and criminal exploitation.
  • Creating communities where young people find safe spaces created by adults.
  • Training more people to become volunteers and mentors supporting young people, parents, and carers in their community.
  • Reaching out into new areas across London, providing more support for young people, their families, and the communities they live in.

And lastly, as this is the season of giving, we want to make a bigger impact on people by giving and supporting like-minded organisations.

Merry Christmas!

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Nathan Singleton

Chief Executive Officer
Nathan is passionate about improving the lives of young people and their families. Nathan draws from the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” He believes community is the component that is missing in the modern western society and the key component that would benefit young people. Nathan believes we are there, not just to help others but to support them to become agents of change within their communities.

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.


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