Two years on from their merger with Blenheim, Humankind’s work in the capital is going from strength to strength, says Manish Nanda.
It’s been just over two years since Blenheim CDP merged with Humankind across London. In that time, a lot has gone well, but a lot hasn’t been as straightforward as planned – not least due to the pandemic. We’ve moved our service delivery forwards and I’m really excited about what the future holds for Humankind across the region.
Joining a new organisation during a pandemic has presented some challenges and at times, I’ve felt too far removed from services – I would normally have been sitting in on groups, having a stint on reception and getting to know our staff in person. Instead, I’ve done my best to connect online and have been in awe of the remarkable response from our London teams.
Our staff, commissioners and NHS partners have all been amazing in the way they’ve looked after one another and the people who use our services. Everyone has been incredibly adaptable, and it’s really brought home the untapped potential of our sector. Call me biased but I truly believe drug and alcohol workers are amongst the unsung heroes of the pandemic, showing tremendous resilience and commitment to keeping services running while also transforming the way we deliver services as we go.
Building on Blenheim CDP’s legacy of social action, Humankind are ambitious for our services in London and what we can achieve together with our service users. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first year with Humankind and looking forward, as restrictions continue to ease (fingers crossed!), there are three key areas of focus in the year ahead.
Firstly, we’re continuing to build on what we’ve been learning as a result of the pandemic. Our blended approach to service delivery, combining what works well online with what works well face-to-face is really exciting. Taking a people-led approach has made a huge difference to our delivery – really taking the time to listen to the people who use our services has helped us to make significant strides in terms of how our services have adapted to the challenges that the last year has brought us. We’ve recently recruited two regional recovery programme coordinators to further support the development of our response across London, and I’m eager to see even more co-produced initiatives to ensure people who access our services can benefit from everything that’s on offer in their local community.
Secondly, here at Humankind we’re known for our collaboration and our ability to work in partnership with a broad range of other organisations. In London, we have particularly strong partnerships with a range of NHS trusts and this is something I want us to strengthen over the course of the next year. Working closely together we can deliver a lot more, and I’m very proud of the relationships we share. The third sector is well placed to support people with complex needs and multiple vulnerabilities and aligning with our NHS colleagues can help make the sum greater than the parts.
Thirdly, Humankind plans to further build and develop our multi-thematic offer across London. We deliver housing support services, social enterprises, and significant employability work in other areas of the country. An early example of this is our expansion of our More Time social enterprise across the London boroughs where we work – providing social value and employment opportunities for local people. We’re committed to doing more of this kind of innovative work, and thanks to the universal funding grant we now have some additional resources to help meet the diverse needs of the communities we serve.
For me, innovation and working together will have a big impact in the year ahead. As part of this I’m really keen to promote the environment at Humankind where the most talented staff across the region can put their skills and passion to use for the benefit of the people accessing our services.
If you want to be part of our journey in London you can find out more at humankindcharity.org.uk/careers