‘SHIFT’ THE POWER!

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A vital component of the Housing and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) recommendations published earlier this year was input from people using homelessness services across Scotland. Following on from HARSAG, a national network designed to engage people with first-hand experience of homelessness launches today (Monday 26/11/18) and is inviting projects or individuals to join up.

The Scottish Homelessness Involvement & Feedback Team (SHIFT) is free to join and has been developed from a local project that has been running successfully for 18 months. Its aim is to place greater power in the hands of people who use services and make it easy for anyone with experience of homelessness in Scotland to get involved in implementing the 70 recommendations that came out of HARSAG.

David Kidd, Coproduction Co-ordinater at The Homeless Network, which is leading the project, said: “The HARSAG recommendations were developed with input from people using homelessness services in nearly every local authority area across Scotland. That lived experience aspect is one of the strengths of the final reports. As implementation begins there will be an even greater need for us to make certain that lived experience informs what we do next to make sure this happens in a way that works for those using the services – SHIFT will be the national body that supports that.”

People working in a role that supports the participation of people experiencing homelessness or whose role supports groups with experience of homelessness can contact SHIFT from Monday (26/11/18) and discuss the benefits of membership and ways to get involved.

For more information, or to join SHIFT contact Michelle Major by email or phone on 0141 420 7272

Case Study: Govan High School

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Govan High School Pupils

It feels like every day in the news right now, we hear about important, life changing votes taking place. Six months after Govan High School facilitated a Community Budgeting voting process, we returned to witness the school changing project that six pupils made happen.

Around the school are benches where pupils can sit and chat, have lunch, relax away from the classroom, and bins to keep the place tidy. Pupils tell us as a result there is less crowding in public spaces, and a more tidy school. There’s less complaining about the school, because an issue identified by pupils had been addressed with a solution developed by pupils.

Ready Steady to Go with Community Budgeting is working with 9 schools across Glasgow, to facilitate a Community Budgeting voting process, where pupils decide how £1000 will be spent for the benefit of the school. In Govan High School, six pupils came together to find out how this money could benefit the whole school, and within 6 months, the benefits can be clearly seen.

Led by the group, the whole school had a chance to talk about the issues affecting the school, the group came up with some practical solutions, and their fellow pupils had a chance to vote for what they wanted to see happen.

We asked the pupils involved what’s been the benefit of the project for them? They highlighted they feel more empowered, because they didn’t just have a say in the changes, but led the way in making the changes, and ensuring everyone had a say. Equally important was the fact that the school was willing and able to ensure pupils, staff and Ready Steady worked together to come up with solutions that addressed a problem, and were realistic in terms of implementation and budget.

One word to describe coproducing the Community Budgeting Process? Spectacular! Enjoyable! Inspirational! Eventful! Fantastic! Educational!