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Sue Grief, Communications Manager at Adullam Homes reflects on the progress of their award-winning coproduction group and shares her top tips for this year’s Homeless Link Excellence Awards applicants.

Foundations graduation

Last year our co-production group run at Adullam’s Sheffield Foundations Project, a mental health assertive prevention support service, was a winner at the Homeless Link Excellence Awards.

The Foundations project provides floating support to people with mental health and housing needs. We aim to increase people's independence and confidence in themselves. Our support is short term intervention, and we provide coaching and development opportunities for our service users.

The co-production group won for range of activities and sessions they ran covering a range of different topics, some of them delivered by members around themes and subjects that affect them.

There was also a ceremony prepared by members, as part of Adullam’s national Co-production Week, where people who had attended co-production meetings, and those who took part in workshops, were presented with certificates to mark their achievements by our Head of Support, Dave Moore.

The success of the work was shown when, on receiving her certificate, one of the service users told a packed room that she had been terrified to come out at the beginning, but that she had “built it up and built it up” and her confidence had grown and her life had been changed for the better as a result of being involved in co-production with Adullam.

Her life had been changed for the better as a result of being involved in co-production with Adullam

In the year following winning the award, the co-production group has gone from strength to strength, with group member numbers growing and existing members taking significant steps forwards.

Since the award win, four of the group have achieved an Open College Network (OCN) Level 2 award in Mentoring. Delivered over eight weeks, the course covered significant aspects of peer mentoring, including the various stages of the mentoring relationship, and the various records that need to be kept.

Hot on the heels of the OCN success came the news that two of the course attendees had been assessed and accepted for an intermediate level 2 / 3 English course.

The successful Mentoring course candidates were officially presented with their certificates during an event staged by Sheffield Foundations to celebrate Adullam’s 50th anniversary. This was a moment that summarised the impact of the project over the previous year. Confidence had grown, success had created further success. There were things to celebrate, and self-esteem was boosted.

The co-production group has gone from strength to strength,

In the past few months, service users have had additional pressures to deal with because of the cost of living crisis. Discussions about budgeting and managing finances are an ongoing theme of Adullam’s work. To strengthen knowledge and partnerships around this, Foundations staff were joined at a team meeting by a representative from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) who talked about the work they do across Sheffield to support people who are in debt.

Useful information was shared, including on how Adullam and CAP can refer to each other’s services.

Teams work very hard and deserve recognition. Do whatever you can to acknowledge their dedication and achievements.

Adullam applied for the award last year because it truly believes its work in putting tenants, residents and service users ahead of any other consideration is exemplary. We wanted to share good practice, as others do with us.

Entering the Homeless Link Excellence awards is extremely important. The wellbeing boost it gives to everyone involved in the projects concerned is phenomenal. Even if you don’t win, sharing the news internally that a project is being highlighted at a national level makes everyone feel very proud.

Teams work very hard and deserve recognition. Do whatever you can to acknowledge their dedication and achievements.

Everyone should consider entering their projects and teams for awards; my top tip for anyone doing so would be read the criteria carefully and choose work that fits it well. To use an old adage, don’t put a square project entry into a round category hole!

Sue Grief
Communications Manager, Adullam Homes

Adullam Homes

Adullam Homes Housing Association Limited is a specialist provider of housing and support services. Over 1,000 people are currently receiving housing and/or support from Adullam’s projects around the country. Their projects include supported housing, emergency accommodation, floating support, advice, and general needs lettings. adullam.org.uk