There were a number of important organisational developments during the period covered by this report.
Firstly, the end of March saw the release of our new co-production strategy, which outlines how we will continue embedding co-production into our operational and management structures.
We are firmly committed to the involvement of customers in everything we do. It is the only way to ensure we are truly delivering the best service and building people’s lived experience into our work, and the strategy provides a clear roadmap towards making this happen.
As part of the strategy launch, senior management colleagues visited services to inform staff about it and answer any questions. We are very pleased with how it has been received, and the impact it is already having on the way we deliver our services and support.
In this period we also significantly increased our placements for student social workers, expanding relationships with universities including London South Bank, Brunel, Kingston and the University of West London. Ten student placements started between January and March, and they have delivered valuable support across each of our services.
We also updated our customer charter, the policy laying out our obligations to customers and what they can expect from us. It provides detail on our commitments built around four core areas of responsibility: building on the aspirations of our customers, creating a meaningful and supportive community, ensuring everybody’s safety and adopting a person-centred approach in all that we do.
Because of the new timing of our annual report, we can now also share results from the previous operational year, running from April 2021 to March 2022. We are extremely pleased with what we have achieved in this period, both in terms of the number of people we have supported, and the improvements we have made in several areas compared to the previous year.
Our Health and Wellbeing team has continued effectively supporting customers with both physical and mental health needs. Last year 78% of customers who requested mental health support subsequently reported being better able to manage it; for physical health, the figure was even higher at 86%.
Economic support has also been a big area of success. Of the customers who reported ‘maximising income’ as a priority, we successfully helped 95% to do so, while 84% of those who wanted to reduce their levels of debt were successful. This is in large part down to the brilliant work of Rent and Income Advisors like Mohamed (right).
We continued working to connect customers to the people and places beyond Evolve that they wanted. 92% of people who wanted to re-establish contact with friends and family did so, and 93% of people who needed to establish contact with other external services did so.
Fortunately, 2022 has not so far not produced Covid-19 spikes of the scale that we experienced in the preceding two years. However, it was still an important part of our planning at the start of the year, as we moved from the height of the pandemic towards living with Covid as a long-term reality.
We have been very successful at preventing large-scale outbreaks at our services throughout the pandemic. Because of this, to continue keeping our customers and staff safe we decided to maintain several of the policies we had already deployed. At services we continued the practice of using masks in public spaces, and of social distancing wherever possible. We also took steps to make sure that testing equipment remained readily available for customers. We continued to limit the number of people who could work from our head office, but relaxed some of the other precautions including the use of masks in communal areas.
Since then, we have also re-introduced internal reporting processes that allow services to track and note all positive Covid-19 cases. In addition, our information team is sending data about positive cases to Area Managers to help them to track infection rates. We have kept all our guidance up to date and made sure that managers have the information they need to support their teams.
Looking ahead to the next winter, we will continue to do everything we can to limit the spread of Covid-19. We will always prioritise customer and staff safety, but also appreciate the need to begin living with this disease as a feature of life in the long-term.
“There was pressure to stay where I was, but where I was wasn’t safe. My family felt I had chosen to be homeless, which heightened my depression and anxiety. I felt like I was doing something wrong by trying to protect myself.”
We spoke to Nathan, a customer at Alex House, about the importance of meaningful jobs, why they matter to people impacted by homelessness and the challenges that can stand in the way of them.
Our Health and Wellbeing programme continues to be a central part of the support we provide to customers. Mental health needs remain high across our services, exacerbated by the longer-term impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the start of the year, we were extremely pleased to secure another grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to cover the cost of the programme for the next three years. This funding will enable the team to keep delivering tailored support that helps customers to manage their mental and physical health.
The start of 2022 therefore represented a time of transition, from the previous three years of support into the next period, made possible by the new grant. As part of that transition, a report has been completed assessing the team’s impact from 2018 to 2021.
Some achievements from that operational period include:
In addition to delivering against metrics like these, the team has continued to explore new ways to provide psychological support, both in order to respond to the pandemic, and to deliver the most personalised support to customers. This has included trialling the use of virtual reality, and using a range of therapeutic techniques including aromatherapy, music and meditation.
“That’s the beauty of what we do – there is no set formula. Therapy is often taught as being one thing or another, but really you can always change, building a ‘therapeutic alliance’ with people in order to progress.”
Left: Our Health + Wellbeing team celebrate the new grant awarded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
We implemented a number of changes in the first quarter of this year to ensure that we support our staff as effectively as possible.
By March this year, we had trained over 40 members of staff to be Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs), as part of our commitment to supporting colleagues’ mental wellbeing in the workplace.
MHFAs are trained to identify mental health emergencies and emotional distress, and support colleagues when these issues arise. The training they receive, accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health, enables them to do this alongside to their day-to-day roles.
MHFAs are not qualified counsellors or mental health workers. Rather, they are a first step in helping colleagues to find the appropriate support they need. If someone is having mental health issues, they can step in to provide a range of responses. They can have initial conversations, reassuring them and supporting them; they can share self-help techniques and coping strategies; they can also design intervention action plans, and signpost to external support which can help with mental health recovery or successful management of symptoms.
Colleagues can discuss things confidentially with MHFAs, without their names or data being stored. Confidentiality will only be breached if it is judged that there is a safety risk to someone. They are easily identifiable and contactable, and we continue to raise internal awareness about them and the services they provide. We continue to work in partnership with MIND who delivered the training and provide us with expertise to support colleague wellbeing.
We would like to thank everybody who has volunteered to be a MHFA and are extremely pleased with the impact that they have already had on the organisation.
This Spring we released our first Race Action Plan.
In 2021 our Equality Diversity and Inclusion group (called ‘Your Voice’) identified race as a priority issue for us to focus on. We began our response to this by collecting staff feedback on the topic, including through a whole staff survey on race (with a response rate of 55%), and listening events facilitated by our EDI Advisor, Fatima Musa. We listened to what colleagues told us what was and wasn’t working, and have now developed a comprehensive action plan to make change happen.
The plan has five key focus areas:
Under each focus area there is a list of actions, along with timelines and members of staff accountable for their success. We will report on our overall progress twice a year.
The Leadership Team and Board are fully committed to making significant progress on race equality in the workplace. We would like to thank every member of staff for their contributions, whether they attended listen and learn sessions, shared feedback in meetings or completed the staff survey. We would also like to thank the Your Voice EDI group, who have been instrumental in creating this plan.
Following a successful Christmas campaign focused on supporting women in our services who have experienced trauma, our fundraising continued at speed from January to April. We worked with a range of corporate and community partners to take part in events, promote Evolve to new audiences, and build new partnerships. We were extremely pleased to secure a further grant from the National Lottery Community Fund for our Health and Wellbeing Programme and have continued working with existing funders to update them on our work as well.
In March we took part in the first ever London Walk, a fundraising event in which participants walked through central London overnight. The walk was organised by the London Homeless Collective, a membership organisation comprised of 25 charities tackling homelessness in London.
We are a member of the Collective and encouraged our own supporters to take part. Walkers could choose between two routes, one being 10km and the other the length of a full marathon!
We were really pleased with the response we received – a special thank you to Team IWS Integrated Water Services, Fidelity Energy Ltd, Coversure and Jane Taylor for taking part!
Our fundraising team was there to cheer them on, and in total they raised £2,897.35. The Walk will be taking place again in March 2023, and we are very much looking forward to participating again, along with partners both new and old!
In-kind donations continue to play a vital part in helping us deliver our services and support the people staying with us. We would like to thank all of our partners who made donations, including local supermarkets and cafes. As modelled here, we also receieved a large number of new hats and gloves from our partner OutsideIn, which we very much appreciated.
During the year, we completed the cladding remediation on one of our buildings, work which was required due to poor and unsafe installation. Total remediation costs were £2.75m, of which £2.14m were incurred in the year under review. We are taking legal action against the developer of that building and we have incurred significant legal costs in the year (£512k). The matter seems likely to go to court, with a date for the hearing in November 2023. These exceptional costs resulted in an overall deficit for the year.
Adetoun Isikalu, Andrew McGuckin, Anouska Tamony, Alison McGibbon, Andrew Wakeman, Anita Kaur, Angela Johnson, Caroline Mason, Anna Williams, Anouska Tamony, Charlotte Page, Chris Pullen, Clare Stratford, Conor Macklin, David Dunman, David Shrimpton, David Williams-Campbell, Dores Schembri, Doris Herbertson, Elizabeth Rodger, Emma Heslop, Glen Routledge, Jacob Hunter-Flack, John Haw, Jyoti Patel, Julie Taylor, Karen Norman, Kim Pullen, Maggie Denman, Mark Colhoun, Mina Amin, Nicholas Berwick, Pat Ward, Rajan Amin, Simon McGrath.
Alex Bull, Andrew Cooper, Beatrice Curtis, Ben Zuka, Brenda Baxter, Brenda Njose, Charmaine Charles, Chester Rogers, Christopher Bridger, Esther Mercer, Gloria Nwosu, Islamiat Agunbiade, Jamel Leander-Thomas, Janine Daguio, Josephine Birungi, Joshua Piercey, Kelly Walker, Liam Straite, Lianne Small, Oluwaseun Omotayo, Mary Liz Brown-Maclean, Paolo Nyberg, Patrick Ward, Ricardo Whyte, Shamim Katasi, Shivani Sharma, Silindiwe Dube, Svitlana Asobayire, Thelma Weekes ,Tim Henderson, Valerie Idemudia.
Greater London Authority, London Borough of Croydon, London Borough of Lambeth, London Borough of Merton, London Borough of Sutton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Trusts and Foundations
National Lottery Communities Fund, St Giles Trust, London Hostels Association.
Blue Jay Cafe, Brown and Green Cafe, City Harvest, Costco, Coughlans Bakery, FoodCycle, Jones Bros, Marks & Spencers, Morrisons Wimbledon, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Pret a Manger, Sainsbury’s, Sunshine Tropical Foods, Torchlight Ministries, Wimbledon Food Bank.
Corporates and Community Groups
Archway Building Consultancy, Argos, Auditel, BBC Newsnight, Callaly, Chaffinch Brook School, Cleanovation, Croydon BID, Coversure, DTT Removals, Fidelity Energy Ltd, Hey Girl, idverde UK, IWS Integrated Water Services, ITV Studios, Kensington and Chelsea Rotary Club, Kick Game, Liberty Hygiene, Life City Church, London Homeless Charities Group, Lush, Millbank LLP, Optimal Maintenance, OusideIn, Pin Point Recruitment, SA Law, Sainsbury’s, SME Group, Soundproofing UK, St Mary of the Boltons, Stonegrove Ltd, St Winifred’s Church, Suna Interiors, The Housing Executive, Torchlight Ministries, Trinity School, Tropic Skincare, Walter Lily.
Diana Coman (Audit Committee member)
Evonne Hudson (Audit Committee member)
Paul Perkin (Chair)
David Shrimpton (Audit Committee Chair)
Director of Operations
Deputy Director of Operations
Director of Corporate Services and Company Secretary
Director of People and Culture