We regularly need to ‘take stock’ of where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we want to go to. This ensures we are clear in our vision and aims, and being true to who we are and what we are called to achieve. Across the organisation, I am always keen to promote reflection and planning in this way – whether that be as a whole department, for individual members of staff, or with the clients we work with.
At our Away Day at the start of the year, the team were struck by a piece of The Bible from the book of Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We felt that this summed up this approach towards planning, and the encouragements we give to young people and their parents/carers that there is always hope for the future.
As a senior team, we’ve been reviewing the plans we made at the start of 2014 – monitoring progress and checking that the aims we had a year ago are still valid. These reflections have revealed that across our services we have been drawn into working with more and more complex issues and more chaotic lives. Moreover, where this began with us providing our services alongside those of statutory agencies, in recent times we have become the sole support provider (without receiving the additional financial reimbursement) – as statutory and other services find their budgets cut and resources sparse.
As a team we have clearly heard that this is not where God wants us to be positioned. Our vision has always been to be a service available for all, but recently we’ve found most of our time being taken up with a small number of complex cases, and often cases which we’re not best equipped to deal with. This has meant that our ability to support those with less complex needs has been compromised. Where we’ve not had supporting finance which ultimately affects capacity, less complex issues have escalated and more people have ‘fallen over the edge’.
Over the coming months, then, we are shifting focus to provide more preventative interventions for young people and families “on the edge“ – whether that be on the edge of the care system, on the edge of exclusion from school, or on the edge of family breakdown. It is really vital that we seek to find ways to support people as early as possible and we feel we are best equipped at stopping things before they start getting out of hand.
This is an exciting time for The Door, but will inevitably mean that we have to make some changes to the way we work. For instance, The Family Support Team, has recently stopped taking referrals for mentoring in order to assess each of the 50+ mentoring relationships on our books, and to adapt our referral process so we can prioritise cases more efficiently.
Where changes are made, we need to be gracious in dealing with clients and other agencies to ensure that people understand the need for this re-focusing of our precious resources. Throughout, we remain committed to serving best those young people and families we encounter – whatever their needs may be.