UPDATE: have added a bit more detail as I realise it might sound a little “i know what i’m talking about but no-one else does”. Anyone who knows me understands that I rarely know what I’m talking about!!!! 🙂
Really quick post because I just wanted to share an interesting chat I had with a colleague this morning that really brought to life for me why public service often miss opportunities to build individual and community resilience. Note this is not an issue with my colleague who really got his head around this. I guess the point is the language we tend to use in public services and the way that language can close down certain ways of thinking.
So, I was posed the following question:
“… the people we’ll be working with will be (mostly) single, over 45, live in social housing, have a mental health issue (whether diagnosed or not) and have been out of work for several years. How do you help that group of people to thrive?”
This was my response:
“Throw away all the descriptors you’ve just used – services are already delivered and defined around those deficits and they rarely work.
Ask “what don’t I know about these people?” – what do they enjoy doing, what are they interested in, who are their friends, if they could be anything what would it be etc? Build the map of the personal strengths and assets that group can bring to bear around their employment challenges. That’ll look different for each individual, so look for recurrent themes/linkages between people and build a group/cohort around that.
That’s how I’d look at it (from a resilience point of view)
I think we would provide something a lot more positive and sustainable through changing the language we use to describe people in these situations; the focus becomes less about trying to fix perceived problems and more on investing in the strengths of the people involved.
I’ve really tried to take on board Liam’s thinking from his guest post.
BUT! I’m really interested in what you think. What do you reckon?