Blog: Reasons to be Cheerful.

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9 June 2015


At Phoenix we know that the year ahead is going to be challenging. The reduction in public expenditure will mean there is less money around to fund services that are likely to see increased demand.

And whilst it could be easy to get despondent about that, at Phoenix we know that it is exactly times like this that charities need to stay optimistic. And whilst we have no illusion about the challenges ahead, we see another reason to be cheerful. This blog will share some of those moments with you.

When Phoenix and Foundation66 came together just over 12 months ago we knew it was a good fit but it wasn’t until we looked more closely at the history of Foundation66 that we discovered just what a natural match it was.

Tim Cook, the first Director of ARP (which later merged with Rugby House to become Foundation66) was initially supported and inspired by Phoenix’s founder Griffith Edwards. Even though that was 45 years ago both organisations’ values were still in tune with each other and those shared values have provided a fertile ground to continue to develop what Griff and Tim set out to achieve all those years ago.

The sector we work in today is bigger and more complex than it has ever been, there is a wealth of research to guide us and services are more effective than ever…for most people entering treatment. But unfortunately not for all. For people with multiple and complex needs finding the right support is not easy. Whilst there is support available, at times it can seem impossible for people with complex needs to access what they need, in one place, at the time they need it.

Many years ago our founders set out to help those in most need. They developed evidence and rigorous assessment tools that led over time to our modern approach to residential services. An approach for the whole person that supports those people who struggled to get the help they need when and where they need it. That one place that provides a guaranteed bed, food safety and care. Enabling people to build their recovery from a supportive environment they soon consider home.

At Phoenix we not only value our history, we use the wealth of experience from all parts of our organisation to help us find new ways of supporting those most in need.

So when I met with Mandy Ogunmokun I recognised her as someone who I could learn from.   She worked in HMP Hollowa, a challenging and incredibly rewarding environment to work in. She had one request of me, a residential service for women with complex needs, a place where women who had experienced the criminal justice system, abuse, violence and prostitution could be cared for. I promised her we would create one.

Foundation66 joining with Phoenix enabled us to take a service called Herbert Street in Camden and remodel it to create the service Mandy dreamed of. We wanted to provide an environment that was fit for women who deserved better than life had offered them so far. We have used our expertise to develop a therapeutic programme that provides for a range of needs in one place with a specialist female-only staff team. The women in our prison treatment service in HMP Holloway renamed the service, and what was Herbert Street is now Grace House. Opening on 15 June 2015 I am very proud to be working to help women most at need to achieve happy and fulfilling lives…. and I hope our founders would be too!

– Karen Biggs, Chief Executive – Phoenix Futures

Phoenix Futures is a registered charity in England and Wales (No 284880) and in Scotland (No SCO39008); Company Limited by Guarantee Number 1626869; Registered Provider of Social Housing with Homes England (H3795).