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What is Values in Action Month?
By Nick Sinclair - 15 June 2018
Prior to joining Depaul in 2014 I knew very little about the organisation even though I’d worked in the homelessness sector for several years beforehand. What I did know was that Depaul had a strong reputation for being “good people”. I knew it as an organisation that provided innovative and quality services, but beyond that there was a bit of a mystique, if I’m honest. Shortly after I joined, I developed a theory as to why that might be.
One of Depaul’s four value statements is: “We put our words in to action”. We hold these values as the touchstones on which to judge our work by. Perhaps, it seemed to me, “Words in to action” meant the organisation was conscious not to shout too much about the good work it was doing. Preferring instead to get on with the mission in hand, quietly recognising the many successes of young people along the way. Like I say, it’s just a theory.
What I know to be true is that putting words in to action and getting on with our mission is critical to our work. But we’re also an organisation that values taking a wider role in society and one that is strategically trying to energise the communities in which we work.
This means it’s really important that people know who we are, what we’re about and, importantly, what role they play in ending homelessness. We need to be increasingly confident in sharing our vision and engaging the millions of people across the UK who also believe that everyone deserves a place to call home and a stake in their communities.
Over the last few years we’ve started to get better at sharing the good stuff we do, whilst still ensuring we put all our values in to practice as best we can on a daily basis.
Our new Endeavour approach to achieving our mission has been key in achieving this change. It has helped us put our value statements into a new context by giving young people, volunteers, partners and staff an opportunity to make sense of these values in an increasingly pressurised and challenging world for young people facing homelessness.
In essence, the spotlight that the Endeavour programme puts on our values has helped us to clarify what we do and why we do it. It also enables us to share our values externally, in order to galvanise the passion and support of more people for our mission.
This month we are taking an in-depth look at what our values mean in practice. Every week of June has been allocated a different value statement. Last week we started with Volunteers’ Week which focused on “Taking a wider role in society”. We celebrated those who have taken up the call to join in our mission, and the good work they continue to do.
This week we’re focusing on “Putting words in to action” and acknowledging the things that have changed as a result of the Endeavour programme - for example, our refreshed focus and investment in training, wellbeing and support for young people to gain education, training or employment.
Next week we celebrate the value of “Believing in rights and responsibilities” as we work towards achieving a prestigious Equality, Diversity and Inclusion accreditation in the next few months. Next week also coincides with National Refugee Week, so we are celebrating the asylum seekers and refugees living in our projects throughout the country.
Finally, in the last week of June we’ll be taking a closer look at the way that we “Celebrate the potential in people”. We’ll reflect on the incredible successes and potential of young people working with Depaul UK. Importantly we’ll also be celebrating the future potential for positive change, which we hope leads to a society where everyone has a place to call home and a stake in their community. This is a big challenge, but an achievable one.
What is clear is that change is something we all need to be engaged in, in order to achieve these goals! We are also certain that what we do is definitely something worth shouting about!