LiveWest celebrates prestigious Innovation award

23 October 2018

Our youth provision has been showered with praise after we scooped the Innovation award at the recent Foyer Federation Spark Awards in Birmingham.

The ceremony marked the Foyer Federation’s 26th anniversary and was designed to celebrate the often unsung contributions of the Foyers, their staff and their young people.

Our Executive Director of Housing Support Kathy Gilmore and Young Person Service Development Manager Jenny Endean put together our award-winning entry based on our commitment to prioritising services for young people as outlined in our 2016-20 Housing Support Strategy.

Kathy Gilmore said: “We were delighted to receive the Innovation Award at the Foyer Federation Spark Awards event.

“Our objective was to design a new service offer that would deliver real opportunities for young people – their way, not ours.

“The new offer has been piloted in Torbay Foyer with the support of Torbay Council. The one-year celebration of the young people offer here showcased the transformation of our service and the positive impacts for residents and staff.”

The new service was founded on the back of the contributions of over 200 young people, both residents and non-residents, who shared their views through a digital survey, workshops, focus groups and 121 sessions.

Over 60 of our staff were involved in an away day, team meetings and workshops to contribute their expertise in delivering support, workshops, activities and the physical environment of their accommodation.

LiveWest joined forces with external partners, colleges and commissioners and Torbay Council were instrumental in enabling us to develop a pilot project of the new service in Torbay Foyer.

In an effort to bring it all together, LiveWest colleagues have supported to develop the concept, graphics and monitoring as well as working with staff to improve the physical environment.

Underpinned by Advantaged Thinking principles, the language of support has changed as illustrated by the removal of the application form and replaced with a ‘readiness conversation’.

This gives the young people chance to reflect on their strengths and give them a clear view of what they want to achieve through being part of the LiveWest offer.

The conversation revolves around what they can contribute rather what they need. It gives us a clear understanding of whether they are ready to work with us.

The LiveWest compass was developed based on the priorities identified by the young people during the consultations. The compass includes seven areas for young people to define their goals – employability, finance, personal growth, health, housing, learning and social skills.

Instead of labelling a level of need – something considered to be tinged with negativity – we created stages in a journey to give our young people a clear picture of progression.

Find your way, develop your journey and live your life were the landing points with clear outcomes in each stage.

For example, in employability skills, a young person finding their way would have taken initial steps towards becoming more employable. In developing their journey, they would have decided on a career pathway and living their life would see them get a job with an income that meets their needs.

Resources and activity plans have been designed for each area and each stage of the compass to suit a range of choices and to maximize the skills and expertise of staff.

Each activity will clearly link a young person to an area of the compass to reinforce the development of their journey. For example, surfing will relate to health and wellbeing, personal growth and social skills.

Over a three-course dinner at the stunning Fazeley Studios, young people, staff and foyers were recognised across 10 awards categories.

With over 100 delegates in attendance, there was a vibrant atmosphere and each winner was announced to thunderous applause, recognising the hard and work and dedication each put into supporting young people.

Jenny Endean said: “We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our inspiring youth offer, acknowledging LiveWest is leading the way.

“Over the last 18 months, we have given young people the opportunity and resources to collaborate with us to ensure our offer is informed and driven by the energy and ideas of young people.

“It’s great to pause and have the opportunity to acknowledge our teams’ continual commitment to making a difference and supporting the next generation.”

The Foyer Federation Chief Executive Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa said: “The awards shone a spotlight on successes that might otherwise be overlooked.

“They were the perfect platform to showcase Foyer talent and the abundance of young and staff talent was phenomenal.”