Consultancy case study on SMK’s support for youth charity, MAP in Norfolk.
What does your organisation/campaign do? What are your purpose and aims?
MAP is a youth charity for 11-25 year olds in Norfolk. MAP’s vision is that all young people will know what it is to be valued, and that they will have the support and information they need to make a successful transition into adulthood.
Our mission is that all young people have the right access to the quality information, advice, counselling and support they need for their holistic development. This encompasses physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
We apply our values to young people, staff, volunteers, funders, partners and everyone else we work with. They are:
- Being Young Person Centered
- Being Professional
- Valuing each individual
- Working for Social Justice
Information on your campaign/issue. What was the problem you faced to begin with?
MAP received funding to develop, with young people, a movement of young activists that would campaign, advocate and lobby the decision makers and policies that force the injustices on young people and their communities.
Why did you decide to get support? What was the reason you sought consultancy from SMK?
We felt that this was slightly new territory and so allocated some staff who would work with the young people to do some campaign and social change training. We wanted to find out how an organisation could, alongside young people, build a movement without the traditional power dynamics overtaking. We wanted to work with young people who lived the experiences we tackle every day as an organisation and we wanted to ensure that along the way, the staff who were the information bank to young people, had themselves an information bank to fall back on (which was SMK and their network).
What was the impact of the consultancy? Have you done anything differently since? Have you achieved any wins/changes?
Wow, where to start. Some of it is hard to quantify and may only be recognised internally years from now. Culture change takes time and SMK have encouraged MAP to review its culture and this is just the beginning of that journey. A few obvious ones would be that through SMK consultancy we have been champions of the ‘social change’ language locally, trying to encourage the local voluntary sector to work collaboratively; consequently we have connected our partners in Norfolk to the wider national perspective and vice versa. There are many organisations trying to improve young peoples mental health, so many titles, projects – using the term ‘change makers’ can make every feel, whatever their level, equal partners in the change they all want to see.
SMK have helped us identify 4 key areas we as an organisation all work towards, so that we try to overcome the ‘project’ specific way of working and more towards what ‘social change’ are we a part of. This has encouraged us to work more collectively across the organisation rather than in silo’s. In gives us clarity on where we have won in the past without realising it or not shouting about it, and helped us identify where we need to improve (public sphere)
We have utilised the network members too, we one of the best things about SMK is how well the staff know its members and their experiences. They seem to remember every person’s name, organisation and change they have made. They got to know myself, MAP and our work early on in such an informal way and before our ‘official’ workshop begun, they had connected us to several member organisations and individuals who were similar to us.
The 5 day training was extremely helpful and those young people who completed it all still remember the resources but also how to use them. The 12 habits of change, the social change grid and the problem tree are all great tools that we have used in groups with young people and as a staff team. Through the SMK training we have realised how many different ways there are to achieve change and we can start to plan when and where we do this.
On an individual level, SMK have encouraged me to ask more questions than answer them – this is fantastic advice when trying to make internal change. Since this advice, I have started to question more, instead of direct or give advice. Whether this is to the CEO or a youth worker, it has changed how people respond to change. I think this nugget of advice and the above are examples of the impact we have seen within MAP.
”’On an individual level, SMK have encouraged me to ask more questions than answer them – this is fantastic advice when trying to make internal change.”
Senior Participation Youth Worker