What did we learn at the Let’s Make Change Happen Together Conference?

On December 7th 2021 we hosted our first in-person conference at the Lambeth Assembly Hall. It was attended by people working in a wide range of roles across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham as well as many other areas across England. The conference was designed to provide delegates with practical tools and advice in the context of improving access to services for people experiencing multiple disadvantages.

The conference was opened with Diane Elizabeth Smith, Head of Programme at Fulfilling Lives LSL, who described what she has learnt so far during her leadership of this organisation. We also heard from two brilliant keynote speakers: Lady Unchained and Sam Conniff, who presented new ways of thinking and shared personal stories. Sam Conniff challenged us to not believe that systems are the way they should be. The advice to ‘Be More Pirate’ dared us to break the rules and be less risk adverse when aiming for change.

Lady Unchained spoke powerfully about her first-hand experiences of prison and how systems worked perfectly well for some but not for others. Her open and honest speech and beautiful poetry exposed the flaws in the system and the negative impact that it can have on peoples’ lives.

Ruth Atkinson, Innovation and Evaluation Lead at Fulfilling Lives LSL, explained how a systems thinking approach has enabled the team to gain a deeper understanding of the system as it is experienced by people facing a number of disadvantages. The Fulfilling Lives LSL research and learning partnership brought evidence from our literature review, systems maps and guidance materials.

Katy Griffith, Fulfilling Lives LSL Community Programme Lead, talked about her experiences of implementing co-production at Fulfilling Lives LSL, as well as sharing her belief that the word co-production has become a buzzword and that there needs to be less talking and more action.

Over the coming weeks we will be sharing content from the conference on our Twitter and LinkedIn.

We are planning our next conference for Spring next year. To get updates sign up here.