Looking at the legacy of Fulfilling Lives
National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes. It is a privilege to lead an organisation responsible for distributing a share of these funds to support people and communities across the UK to prosper and thrive.
As Chief Executive, I don’t hide the fact that the impact of our funding is incredibly important to me and a key aspect of this is being able to measure or evidence the difference it makes to real people’s lives.
This is why I was delighted to speak at a conference looking at the legacy of our Fulfilling Lives programme and the impact it has had, over the last 8 years - not just on the people it has helped, but on the organisations who delivered it too.
What was the Fulfilling Lives programme?
The Fulfilling Lives programme was launched in 2014 and has seen us invest £112 million in supporting 12 different partnerships across England from Newcastle and Gateshead in the north, Birmingham in the midlands, Camden and Islington in London and Hastings on the south coast.
We set out to tackle what is often called Multiple Complex Needs but is now more commonly referred to as Multiple Disadvantage.
Namely, adults who are living with at least two of the following issues: alcohol or substance misuse, current or historical offending, homelessness, and mental ill-health.
By working alongside people who have faced these problems, drawing on their experience and bringing together a range of services, the partnerships were able to improve not only access to the help people needed, but also the quality of delivery.
Watch this video as Bev Hardman talks about her life:
Fulfilling Lives was part of a package of long-term, strategic funding programmes to tackle some of society’s most entrenched social problems in preventative and innovative ways.
The strategic programmes were all designed and delivered working closely with the people most directly affected by some of these, working with them to come up with solutions, rather than adopting a top-down approach.
They have each required organisations from different sectors to work together using approaches centred on the person and prevention rather than cure.
Learning and a focus on systems change have been key to these funding investments. We wanted to learn what works and what doesn’t and to share our findings as widely as possible, shedding light on ways to both save money and deliver better results for vulnerable people.
What difference did it make to people on the ground?
We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, but the current system is not working for people facing Multiple Disadvantage. Many of their interactions with public services are negative and/or avoidable and few receive the treatment they need.
Over the eight years, Fulfilling Lives has made a real difference to people across England.
After a year: People improved their self-reliance and independence and were engaging better with services.
The number of people who were homeless and rough sleeping reduced and people were less likely to use crisis services and to be involved in the criminal justice system.
By March 2021, of 3,034 closed cases: 41% had left Fulfilling Lives for positive reasons: 27% no longer needed support.
After beneficiaries had been engaged with Fulfilling Lives for one year, the evidence suggests the programme reduced negative behaviours and misdirected demand for services:
- The proportion of people evicted from a tenancy reduced from 12% at the start to 6% after two years.
- There were significant reductions in arrests and the proportion of people who received a police caution dropped from 7% to 3%.
- The proportion who visited A&E reduced from 28% to 21% and the average number of attendances halved.
- There was also a reduction in rough-sleeping, sofa-surfing and time spent in temporary accommodation, like hostels, and an increase in people spending time in supported accommodation or their own tenancy. Proportion of people rough sleeping reduced from 24% to 12% after two years.
A fulfilled life is more than just addressing basic needs such as accommodation.
Over time, Fulfilling Lives beneficiaries also increased participation in positive social, cultural and wellbeing activities. And more people began to give something back through volunteering.
Changes to the systems affecting people’s lives
Fulfilling Lives funding alongside our other investments has had a lasting impact on organisations, systems, and services. There has been widespread adoption of policy and practice that will see a lasting legacy.
For example, Greater Manchester has adopted the Housing First model, following the success of the pilot undertaken by our partners Inspiring Change Manchester.
The Combined Authority has also commissioned the database developed by the partnership as its shared case-working system.
The multi-agency database - GM-Think - allows services to share information quickly and securely, preventing people having to tell their story twice and allowing individuals to take control of their own support.
Now the ambition is to roll this out across the 10 Local Authorities in Greater Manchester.
In West Yorks, the multiple disadvantage work has been absorbed into the strategies of the Integrated Health Care partnership. A multitude of local services now contain roles specific to Multiple Disadvantage, many more are working to become trauma informed, and entire organisations are remodelling their approaches to employment for people with lived experience.
In London, Camden has recently been accepted as one of the new Make Every Adult Matter (MEAM) approach areas, which will provide a vehicle for the joined-up approach to multiple disadvantage to continue in the borough following the closure of The Camden and Islington Partnership.
These are just a few examples of how the work of Fulfilling Lives is going deeper and wider than our investment of National Lottery Funding.
Watch this video as Nick Brougham talks about his life:
How has it changed us as a Fund?
We have learned a lot from our work on Fulfilling Lives and are committed to putting this knowledge into action to make us an even better funder.
The wealth of data on what works, how and why has been shared throughout the organisation and helps support our Funding teams to make better informed and more impactful funding decisions every day.
We have staff networks focussed on homelessness and lived experience, and we’ve brought in grant holders to speak first-hand to colleagues so that they can learn directly from their experiences.
As well as this, we are currently working closely with the Department for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the delivery of the Changing Futures Programme.
Changing Futures is a 3-year, £64 million programme aiming to improve outcomes for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage – including combinations of homelessness, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic abuse and contact with the criminal justice system.
It is based on the fulfilling lives model and will see a further £18 million of National Lottery funding invested in this crucial area.
Overall, we believe Fulfilling Lives’ impact doesn’t stop at the people it helped move past a challenging period in their lives.
Its legacy can be felt in the work being delivered by Government, statutory agencies, the wider sector and here at the Fund, not just in what we do – but how we do it.