Wellbeing Our Way’s first year has been an exciting one. More than 50 voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations are involved in the programme - developing ways in which charities and community groups can enable people to live well with their long term health needs.
We have a model of impact which articulates our vision for the programme and the difference we would like Wellbeing Our Way to make. Our POW WOWs (shared learning workshops) are bringing together people with lived experience and those working within VCS organisations to share good practice in enabling people with long term conditions to live well.
And our emerging communities of practice are an opportunity for small, diverse groups of organisations to make real headway in developing some of the ‘more than medicine’ approaches we know can enable people to manage their health needs and live well – approaches like care and support planning, peer support and supported self-management.
Wellbeing Our Way’s first year anniversary seems a good opportunity to reflect on some of the learning so far.
"We have a dream"
Simon Sinek, in his TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action, quips that Martin Luther King inspired people with his “I have a dream” speech, not his “I have a plan” speech. Sinek persuasively argues that it is shared purpose – not shared activity – which brings people together in order to create change.
Indeed, Wellbeing Our Way’s first year has shown that when we focus on the difference we want to make – our vision – what we need to do will follow.
Throughout the process of developing the programme’s model of impact, I was struck by the similarities in the vision that diverse groups - people with lived experience, those working within charities and community organisations, and the programme’s wider stakeholders – had for the difference they want Wellbeing Our Way to make.
Together, we created the programme’s vision: All people with ongoing mental and physical health needs have as much independence, optimism and control as possible, at all stages of their life.
Actions speak louder than words
Of course, vision alone is not enough. Wellbeing Our Way will only ever effect change through action.
Throughout the programme, people have been invited to contribute their time and expertise, and I’ve been blown away by the response. From facilitating workshops, to blogging, to honestly sharing organisational challenges, people have made generous contributions.
Thank you to all of you who have demonstrated your leadership qualities, resilience and belief that together we can do more to enable people to live with the independence, optimism and control they want and deserve.
Keeping our eyes on the prize...
We are now half way through our initial series of POW WOWs (shared learning workshops), and have three emerging communities of practice around care and support planning, peer support and demonstrating impact.
We hope that these communities of practice will each become a powerful space for promising practice to be shared; and for individual and organisational knowledge and confidence to grow.
Ultimately, we would like the communities of practice to drive forward the development of the ‘more than medicine’ approaches we believe are so important for people with long term health needs.
One year in, we know that Wellbeing Our Way is already helping to create change. Please look out for our case studies which show the difference Wellbeing Our Way is making for some of the organisations involved, coming soon on National Voices’ blogspot.
This is just the beginning.
During the coming months, we will continue to bring people together to agree clear agendas and create large and small changes in the ways in which their organisations work with people with long term health needs.
We hope that together, and over time, these changes will help create the knowledge, skills, confidence and motivation that will ultimately lead to a more fundamental shift in the ways in which voluntary and community organisations enable people to take control of their health and live in the ways which matter most for them.
In the words of the philanthropist and commentator Esther Dyson, “Change means that what was before wasn't perfect. People want things to be better.”
If you too strive for things to be better, please do join us.
- Natalie Koussa, Programme Lead - Wellbeing Our Way @NatalieKoussa