Fulfilling Lives in Islington and CamdenFulfilling Lives in Islington & Camden (FLIC) is an eight-year Lottery funded learning programme closing in May 2022, designed to support people experiencing multiple disadvantage and affect system change to improve the experience and outcomes for people accessing services. Too often the voices of people experiencing multiple disadvantage aren't heard. Putting clients at the centre of everything we do is key to our work. Our support service is intensive, trauma-informed and led by the experiences and insights of our clients. We work in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies across both boroughs to improve services for people with multiple needs and drive systemic change, influencing how services are designed and delivered. Home Our action plan Our work with clients Voices Learning and resources News FLIC on film: the clients and team on multiple disadvantage and COVID-19 “I believe that services in general have done a good job and people have been putting their lives on the line to keep the community safe.” - FLIC client The pandemic has impacted us all, however, those experiencing multiple disadvantage have been particularly at risk. For this year's Multiple Disadvantage Day, we explore how those experiencing multiple disadvantage have been impacted by the pandemic, how they've coped and the practices and values we hope to remain as we move out of #COVID19. Multiple Disadvantage Day is an annual awareness day that wants to challenge the stigma associated with those people experiencing homelessness, addiction, poor mental health, and substance misuse face in their lives. By definition, people experiencing multiple disadvantage face two or more of these issues. Clients on COVID –19 “Trying dancing to music and doing the physical exercises given to me by my physiotherapist has also helped me to cope and pass the time. Also, talking to my bird Blue who keeps me company has helped.” - FLIC client The global pandemic and its associated restrictions have had an unsurprisingly profound impact on our clients. The incoherent, unrelenting news frenzy left some clients feeling unsafe and fearful to go outside. Mental health issues have been compounded, and many have reported feeling lonelier and more anxious. However, one client said he’s lived his whole life feeling anxious and now the public is getting an insight into what this feels like. Many clients have reported that their families have played a huge part in helping them cope with the lockdown. The strength of these relationships has “been the difference between sanity and insanity”, a testament to the importance of human connectedness. Lots of our clients spend a large part of their time outdoors, in environments that are more familiar to them, so finding ways for them to find enjoyment indoors was essential. The team has been sending books, pens, pencils, colouring-in books and wellness activities to clients, and it’s clear they’ve had a positive effect. The FLIC team on COVID-19 “I also never really thought of myself as an essential worker and I felt proud about that. That the work we do really helps people and they really need it.” - Joe Atiase, Peer Mentor Volunteer Coordinator Like every other service, we were forced to adapt quickly to the restrictions of lockdown and consider how we could continue to support the needs of our clients whilst keeping them and ourselves safe. We worked quickly to ensure clients that needed new mobiles had these and in place of face-to-face team meetings, we turned to Zoom. Our clients were incredibly understanding of the changes to our services. However, as mentioned by the clients, no teleconferencing service can do justice to the morale-boosting connection that comes with face-to-face meetings, and tea/coffee catch-ups in the staff kitchen. Despite best efforts, an inevitable side effect of Covid has been the team feeling more disconnected than usual. Although we're slightly sick of hearing the phrase the 'new normal' (as we're sure you are), the pandemic has helped to put the spotlight on the work and practices we value and have always valued. Greater flexibility, compassion, and collaboration has been witnessed during the pandemic, and there's much that we want to ensure remains and is at the heart of the design and delivery of support services. Hear from the team below... Read our Programme Lead, Alison Bearn’s thoughts on the takeaways from the pandemic, and how this time has helped make a case for ways of working and approaches that we’ve long been advocating for, here. Find our guide to domestic abuse and sexual violence during COVID-19 outbreak here.