Four of Eastside People’ team members – Shona Sinclair, Ruth Dwight, Rosie Chadwick and Shish Malhotra – began to work with Right There in spring 2021, and, Janet says, their approach immediately surprised her.
“Rosie suggested we start with the Theory of Change rather than the strategy,” says Janet. “That put us out of our comfort zone.” But, having faith in Rosie’s experience, they went ahead as she suggested.
“We find Theory of Change work involves asking big questions, for example, about what and who you are here for, how you make a difference, and what success depends on,” says Rosie. “Exploring these questions helps to clarify strategic priorities.”
Eastside People facilitated focus groups, workshops and questionnaires with Right There’s board members, staff, volunteers, partners and the people the charity supports. They did market research into likely policy directions and other operators in the same space. They also carried out financial modelling.
After several months’ work, the results led to a fresh new look and approach for the charity. Eastside People worked closely with the branding agency to ensure that all the different workstreams reinforced each other. As a result, a new name and visual identity emerged, which had been well informed by the strategic work running alongside. The five-year strategy and financial plan set out the organisation’s mission, values and ambitions. What might seem radical to some is that the Theory of Change is now expressed as a journey of feelings and emotions for the people that the charity supports to move on from homelessness.
As Rosie puts it: “Too often we focus on what you might call external changes: has someone got a house, a job, and so on. Important as external changes are, they are only part of the story, and they may also be short-lived if the changes on the inside don’t match up.” The journey concludes with Right There’s ultimate goal: “A world where everyone has an equal chance to create a safe and supportive place to call home.”
The strategy review and theory of change work “highlighted Right There’s strengths in getting truly alongside people”, says Rosie. “It also identified changes they needed to make to allow them to be truly ‘person-centred’ and to foster strong community connections.”
The process was a positive experience for everyone involved in Right There. “It was hugely energising,” says Janet. “It was a catalyst to get us all involved in the one thing.”
Janet says that several members of the team said how much they’d enjoyed the experience, saying that they’d really felt listened to.
She adds: “We still have over 20 different programmes. But the whole point is that there are lots of synergies – we are all working towards the same goal. It brought everyone together. It drew out from our people what we were all about, what this organisation is for.”
Eastside People was a great match for Right There, says Janet. “The EP team were great and worked really well together,” she says. “And I liked that they challenged us, but in a constructive way. It felt like one big team, with the EP team supporting us throughout.”
Read Rosie Chadwick’s Guest Blog on the Right There website.