In our latest spotlight on the work of Homeless Link’s Partnership Managers, Ellie Mullin talks about her work across the South East of England to support and improve local partnerships.
Throughout my role at Homeless Link, one of the values of the day to day work which stands out to me has been that of Connection. As a Partnership Manager, covering the South East, the role is versatile and will be varied in the different target areas. Connection is the element that runs through all our work. The team are able to connect with a range of organisations working in the sector across our regions, offering an independent and impartial role in supporting and improving local strategic partnerships.
Over the last few months, I have been lucky enough to visit a number of Homeless Link members across the area I cover including day centres and supported accommodation. It has provided an opportunity to hear first hand the challenges these services are experiencing, to identify where Homeless Link can offer any support, guidance and resources and importantly to also use the time to celebrate the wonderful and innovative work projects are leading on across the patch in supporting people experiencing homelessness. These visits also help me in my role to connect with the heart of “why” we do the work we do and to make sure the voices of our members our heard.
The clue is in the name, as a team we champion “Partnerships”! How do we get there though? In order for true partnerships to happen, we all have a responsibility to nurture those connections that we make in the sector. Throughout the different conversations I have with organisations across the region when discussing this, I am always reminded that it all comes back to relationships we build. The same values apply at both operational and strategic levels, just as we talk about the importance of taking time to build trust with the person you are supporting in a front-line role, the same goes when thinking strategically about organisations working together cross-sector.
Seeing partnerships build
Earlier this month, I helped to facilitate the first in person event of the East Sussex Homeless Forum. The forum has been operating for over two years, with my colleague Chrystalla Karvella instrumental in helping to set it up with partners locally. Throughout this time, partners have continuously demonstrated a willingness and commitment to improve collaboration and partnerships.
We took time during the event to celebrate the forum’s achievements, as well as plan forwards, setting priorities and themes to cover. The day also included presentations on lived experience and tools for how the forum can embed the voice of lived experience throughout it’s work.
There was something incredibly exciting and refreshing about bringing the group together for the first time in person, a group of passionate individuals coming together to share ideas and plans. Some of the words shared of what the group found most valuable about the day was “compassion”, “connection” and “shared goals”.
I have helped to support the development of a steering group for the forum, within this ensuring that the voice of partners from across the sector are fairly represented. This is an exciting development and it means this core group will keep up the direction and momentum of the forum moving forwards.
Kent is another area within my patch where I have supported the development of a homelessness forum and steering group. This is at a much earlier stage than East Sussex, but it is fantastic to see all that can be achieved in providing a platform to bring together a huge range of partners from across the sector. There has already been so much positive engagement and I will be facilitating the second event at the end of the month with a focus on “Move On”.
As we are drawing ever closer to the end of the year, going into the winter months it always feels a good opportunity to look back and reflect on our work. I look forward to seeing how more of this work develops across the different areas.