All too often, when I’ve interviewed ex-offenders, drug addicts and rough sleepers, they seem to be suffering as much from society’s inability to listen to their needs as they do from the consequences of their own actions.
So I was excited to learn more about a project – Inspiring Change Manchester – that aims to put those it helps at the heart of what it does.
At Inspiring Change Manchester, ex-service users act as peer mentors; interview staff; advise on service design; and will eventually become employees themselves.
The project is part of a £112 million national programme to change the way society thinks about how it treats its most vulnerable and chaotic members.
By including them in decisions made about their lives, it is hoped services will not only become more practically effective – but will also empower clients to really change.
The piece is due to appear in the next edition of Here, Shelter’s supporter magazine.