Measuring the impact of our relational approach  

Flora Henderson, Alliance Manager, explores our relational approach at Future Pathways.

Future Pathways is delivered by the In Care Survivors Alliance. It is one of the two services hosted by the Alliance (the other is Redress Support Service). 

Our fundamental purpose is to help people who experienced childhood abuse and neglect in care to live happier, more fulfilled and more independent lives, recognising and being sensitive to the profound impact of traumatic experience – and tailoring support to set the conditions for positive connection and improving quality of life. 

Since Future Pathways began, we have taken a relational approach to working with people. 

We do this because we know that a positive relationship can be both an outcome in its own right, and a powerful enabler to accessing other supports. 

Trust is a hugely important part of this; it is fundamental to making a connection and to building bridges to other supports and resources. This is especially important for people who may have been let down and poorly served by professionals in the past or may have a deep mistrust of services. 

We decided, therefore, to centre trust in how we think about and measure the difference we make. 

And we decided to be iterative, so we can apply what we learn immediately, constantly aiming to do our best by and for the people we work with.  

For a number of years, we have worked with Matter of Focus. Together, we use impact measurement to drive insight and innovation. And by investing in impact measurement, we have an evidence-based way of reflecting on our work, developing the courage to test new ideas and adapting when we need to.  

Measuring our impact helps us to consolidate what is most important about our approach in a robust way.

As such, as we now have real confidence in the importance of taking a relational approach, with a strong evidence base about what works and how. 

It has helped us take a hard look at what being person-centred and trauma informed means in practice, with effects ripping out across how we work as colleagues, as commissioners of support and as contractors with Delivery Partners, as well as how we respond to feedback and complaints. Our relational approach invites the participation and contribution of everyone who is involved in and benefits from the service.  

Measuring the impact of our relational approach has been central to developing an understanding of what ‘good support’ looks like and feels like to people, who have been seldom heard, or well served by existing services. 

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