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Our first Help through Hardship and Crisis conference, held in partnership with Citizens Advice Wandsworth, was held on Wednesday 26th July at Springfield Hospital, Tooting.

The purpose of the conference was to explore issues of hardship and crises that have emerged through the first year of the project, and we heard from a range of public services and community organisations and members on how they have sought to address them, and in what ways the different systems that we work with can work together to create better pathways for people who are in need of help and support.

The focus of the Conference will be on how we all, in our systems and networks, are responding to the multiple challenges which we are facing, and how we are and must continue to collaborate to become a more responsive and intelligent environment.

We were welcomed by Mark Potter, South West London and St Georges NHS Mental Health Trust, who are responding to the need for early intervention and prevention by coproducing service redesign and delivery with community networks. The Big Lottery responded to hardship & crisis by developing a grant fund to help address these issues and we are pleased that Lindsay Marsden, Portfolio Development Manager, was able to speak on this. Phil Jew, CEO Citizens Advice Wandsworth, sketched out our local environment and how our partnership has responded to the Big Lottery call for action. Our panellists spoke on the illustrative case studies that have emerged from the first year of our project. How are their systems currently responding to these issues?  What would they like to see done better?

Over 80 people from across our systems and networks attended, providing us with a collective opportunity to share and understand the barriers and opportunities to become more collaborative. The conference closed with Paul Martin, CEO Richmond and Wandsworth Borough Councils, speaking on 10 points he ha noticed in from the changing environment we live in, and offered some reflections on the challenges and opportunities for system change.

We are currently reviewing all the feedback from the conference and addressing the next steps forward, as highlighted by Phil Jew at the close of the conference. We will be putting together the film for the conference and will inform you when this is done. Please do get in touch with us if you have any further comment or feedback.

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