Mayday Trust, Changing Lives, Homeless Network Scotland and Platfform, have come together to launch the New System Alliance today to model an entirely new response for people experiencing tough times across the UK, thanks to a £2.5 million National Lottery grant.
The New System Alliance, made possible thanks to a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will seek to work alongside others to transform the current systems people encounter when they experience tough times, such as homelessness. It will do this by attracting allies, other likeminded individuals and organisations, to explore and model new responses that hand power back to individuals and communities, focus on strengths and truly listen to what people need to move on with their lives.
The need for whole systems change, a paradigm shift in systems, was identified through Wisdom from the System, a series of online conversations that took place during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Here people shared their honest experiences of being in and/or working in homelessness, social care, mental health, and criminal justice systems.
The reaction to Wisdom from the System was overwhelming. It highlighted how more compassionate and community-based responses would remove many of the system barriers people face, so they can move on with their lives and thrive within their communities.
Pat McArdle, CEO of Mayday Trust, said: “In 2011 Mayday set out to deliver a response to homelessness, but after nine years of listening to people and prototyping new approaches we discovered that we were trying to solve the wrong problem. We found that one of the biggest challenges people going through tough times face is the system itself – a system that is process-led not one that can respond flexibly to the people we were working with. Until we achieve a systemic paradigm shift, the best innovations will not work, people will continue to be trapped and institutionalised in services. I’m excited to say that the New System Alliance, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will propose a totally different response, hopefully influencing organisations and individuals in the sector to create real change.”
Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, New System Alliance will help people across the UK access support that puts people in the lead and focuses on their strengths, not their challenges. Importantly, this project is focusing on all of the services that people interact with when they face tough times and champions a different way of working that supports people to thrive.”
Ewan Hilton, Chief Executive of Platfform in Wales, said, “Platfform is proud to be part of this movement. We’ve seen first-hand how flawed the mental health system is and how it can harm the people it often seeks to help. Stigmatisation making people afraid, outdated interventions that keep people trapped, and the removal of people’s freedom and choice on an industrial scale. Wales has already made huge strides forward to make changes, but we know we can do more. The New System Alliance in Wales is open to anyone who wants to change the system and to liberate people who have been traumatised by traditional, controlling services for too long.”
Becky Elton, Deputy CEO at Changing Lives in the North of England said: “The people we meet at Changing Lives are all experiencing challenging times and it is only right that they are supported by a system that really works. The people we work with are not a bundle of problems – every day we see their strength, resilience and hope, but also the injustice they face. We are proud to be part of the New Systems Alliance – to share our learning and be part of the change that is so badly needed to the system.”
Maggie Brunjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said, “Nobody benefits when we continue to drive a wedge of difference and distance between all our connected lives. A system that sticks labels on us, takes away choices, leaves gaps for people to fall through – and frustrates the very people who want to help. The New System Alliance in Scotland is a home for the conversations many of us are already having. To amplify and connect those conversations, share ideas about what ‘better’ looks like – and to act together to start building it.”
To find out how you can get involved in the New System Alliance visit www.newsystemalliance.org