Stepping towards a better Dunfermline
Following on from our Stakeholders Report, we’ve been working with a short-term working group to develop and implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The STWG consists of representatives from:
- Citizens Advice & Rights Fife (David Redpath, Business Development Manager)
- Fife Centre for Equalities (Pat Greenhough, Engagement Officer)
- Frontline Fife (Ruth Young, Homelessness Prevention Team Leader)
- Furniture Plus (Debbie Finlayson, General Manager)
Why are we taking this approach, and what is an MoU? Firstly, we’re taking this approach because, from our Stakeholders Report, one of the key recommendations was to develop a more formal partnership agreements. However, there has been reluctance in the past to signing a formal agreement, so the short-term working group thought a MoU would assure stakeholders of our mutual values, and would be a stepping stone towards real partnership, cooperation and collaboration. The MoU would be an outline of higher-level principles of what the Hub is about, and communicate a mutual understanding for both organisations.
With thanks to the work of the short term working group, we’ve drafted this MoU, which will be adapted to include the names and contact details of key people within the organisations. Also the MoU includes principles and values based on the 2010 Equalities Act, and on cooperation and collaboration. This was communicated to all of our current Hub users (organisations who use the Hub, either for rooms, advice sessions, or as a referral point), and so far, 15 organisations have signed up.
If you would like more information about our MoU and the lessons we’ve learned in developing a culture of cooperation and collaboration in Dunfermline, please get in contact.
We saw again declining numbers accessing the Hub this month – perhaps reflective of the lovely weather we had! However, we know from our friends at F3 that this was their busiest year yet, and had to appeal for more donations to top up to ensure everyone got the help they needed throughout the summer holidays.
Everyone is finding things tough – but there are lots of community initiatives that are based on giving people a hand up, rather than a hand out. At the Hub, we have always tried to recognise that those in poverty have value, skills and something to contribute. We want to ensure that those who attend here are not seen as “cases”, but as people who have aspirations and skills, and we need to work together to bring out the best in each other as a community.
See our Full Report here or our Summary Report here
June was a little quieter than last month, and we saw a lower number of people needing fuel, food and clothing assistance. We’ve also been working to try and highlight recurring themes as to why people have to access crisis services, which has allowed us to see that benefit changes, delays and changes to circumstances have been the biggest reasons. For more on what we did in June, click on the Full Report below:
Summary Report Here:
Our volunteers are the life blood of everything we do here. And with Volunteer’s Week, we wanted to really show our appreciation for everything they do. We made up wee goody bags, showing just what our volunteers mean to us, and the invaluable contribution they make to the community in Dunfermline.
Our volunteers make all the difference here to our citizens. They’ve always got kind words, a smiling face and a warm welcome for everyone who comes to the Hub, and they make an excellent cuppa! They can also help with basic enquiries, provide essential phone numbers and help you get started on the computer. They are essential to our success and we’re blessed to have such a great team!
If you would like to get involved, contact Katie for more information
May has been our busiest month to date, and we’re seeing an increasing percentage of interactions for people asking for information. We still seeing a large number asking for help with emergency food aid, and the main underlying causes have been Low Income, and Benefit Problems or Delays. For more on what we did in May 2018, click on the reports below!
With all our Stakeholder activities now concluded, we set ourselves the task of reflecting on each event, and the key lessons we needed to take on board. Personally, I really like this bit – it always reminds me that all the effort and work was WORTH IT!
Another reason I really like this stage, because we all step back and realise that we are all aiming towards the same thing – equality, dignity, respect, excellent service delivery, and building resilience. And that we, across all our different agencies, organisations and community groups, are working with the same people, and that we can only achieve our aims by working together for the benefit of our mutual service users.
The conclusions from our stakeholder activities show that there is a desire from the participating organisations to be more involved and to build more collective responsibility. We are mindful of the challenges – in this climate of ever decreasing funds, we are more and more pushed to deliver more with less resources. Going forward, however, how can we ignore the mutual benefits of the Hub for all our services and more importantly, for our citizens?
Click here for the full report, or here for our summary infographic!
April was a really busy month for us all. We said goodbye to Juliet, our Partnership Coordinator, who has helped us carry out some work with our stakeholders. These activities were supported by the Aspiring Communities Fund, and has given us a lot to think about with regard to our stakeholders and what they want out of the Hub. This has helped us to plan going forward, especially with regard to the move to our new venue!
The Beast from the East made it particularly challenging for citizens in Dunfermline this month, and lots of people are struggling to make ends meet with the extra expense of fuel bills.
On a more positive note, we were delighted to co-host a community consultation event with LEAD Scotland on Social Isolation. Read more about it in our full report!
From the feedback received in the one-to-one interviews, many frontline workers expressed interest in attending networking events, but struggled to find capacity to attend them. However, providing the incentive of a training element for an event was far more appealing for workers and their managers. Both events incorporated networking time for the participants to learn more about other services, and was delivered by a specialist advice provider:
Training Event 1: Benefits Overview with Citizens Advice & Rights Fife
Training Event 2: Introduction to Domestic Abuse with Fife Violence Against Women Partnership
The events were very popular, and many of the participants expressed interested in attending more events like this. Going forward, we plan to work closely with partners to deliver a multi-disciplinary training programme, and hope to have a training-room facility to carry this out in the Hub, without having to close the main reception to carry these out.
Our final stakeholder event was held on Thursday 29th March 2018 was targeted at all stakeholders including CEOs, Trustees, Managers, Operational Staff and volunteers, to conclude the stakeholder consultation and inform the development of the Hub arrangements moving forward. Seven participants attended this event, from 5 organisations. We showed a presentation (Final Stakeholders (1), which give an overview of our activities over the past three months, and what our next steps are.
The following areas where identified as next steps forward in the development of Hub:
Relocating to an accessible central venue with good standard facilities
Formalise partnership working arrangements
Partnership ACF phase 2 application that fosters collaboration
Continuing the warm, friendly welcoming environment in our next venue.
Whilst this event was not as well attended as the previous events, those who did attend had not attended the other events, and were able to see the progress made and give their feedback on the Action Plan and Venue Requirements.
We’re now working on a final report of all our findings, which we hope to share with you soon!