We’re excited to be launching phase two of the Stronger voice training programme, ‘Using your voice’.
Stronger voice is a three-year project that Clinks is running to help the voluntary sector working in criminal justice develop a unified and influential voice, at both a national and regional level. The project is funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, as part of its Criminal Justice Grant Programme. We are really pleased to be undertaking this project and wanted to update you about what we have done so far, what resources are available and what is on the horizon.
Helping voluntary sector organisations to ‘find their voice’
Clinks was delighted to launch the first phase of the Stronger voice project: ‘finding your voice’ in 2021. We developed a programme of events designed to reflect the diversity of the criminal justice voluntary sector, with content suitable for organisations right at the beginning of their policy influencing work, to those who have been undertaking this work for a number of years. We held seven training sessions in total, with topics including reframing communications, an introduction to Parliament and how to influence policy. We asked attendees how confident they felt in their ability to campaign and/or influence at the beginning and end of each training session, and we’re pleased to report that 82% of attendees said their confidence improved after attending. The sessions also provided many resources produced by our trainers that we are hosting on our website, and we will continue updating to update this page with more resources as the project progresses.
“Lots of what we learned reaffirmed some natural instincts I had, which affirmed my confidence. At the same time, I learned a lot of new information which helped to build it further.” – Stronger voice attendee
Expert seminars focussed on achieving change in the criminal justice system
The criminal justice voluntary sector has had some real wins in recent years, despite the many challenges we face in an ever-changing environment. We wanted to reflect and provide an opportunity for organisations to hear from voluntary sector leaders who have been involved in leading campaigns to share their strategies and tactics, and also reflect on the challenges they faced. Clinks decided to host three expert seminars where voluntary sector leaders shared how they have influenced policy or campaigned on issues impacting the people they support, and tips and ideas for how others can too.
In the first session, we heard from Helen Berresford at Nacro, and Sam Boyd at Switchback, who reflected on the approaches they take to channel knowledge from the frontline work of their organisations into impactful policy influencing and campaigns. Ghadah Alnasseri from Hibiscus Initiatives and Greg Sproston from The Traveller Movement took us through each of their experiences of advocating for marginalised people and maintaining a sense of energy and optimism in the face of social and political hostility. Lastly, Kirsty Kitchen from Birth Companions, and Nikki Guy from the Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance reflected on their roles in advocating for women in the criminal justice system and achieving genuine and long-lasting changes to services.
“It was particularly interesting to hear two different approaches to campaigning in difficult external environment, that were similar and different in their respective ways, but both achieved meaningful change despite the obstacles. Inspiring to say the least!” – Stronger voice attendee
Over 100 organisations signed up to our expert seminars. We’re particularly glad that smaller organisations that previously had limited involvement in campaigning and influencing, were able to gain practical ideas through the Stronger voice events on how they can use their voice to speak out on issues that matter to them. We were pleased to hear that they came away feeling inspired and encouraged by hearing from organisations in the sector already doing this work.
We know that everyone learns differently and has different pressures on their time and resources. All of our expert seminars are available on our website and YouTube channel to watch again.
Watch the latest seminars:
- Using front-line expertise to influence policy | Nacro and Switchback
- Campaigning in the face of hostility | Hibiscus Initiatives and the Traveller Movement
- Advocating for women in the criminal justice system | Birth Companions and the Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance
Following the success of two sets of expert seminars and phase one of our training programme, we are moving onto to the next phase. As we have supported organisations to effectively ‘find their voice’, we now want to help them to use them to the best of their ability. We’re excited to be launching phase two of the Stronger voice training programme, ‘Using your voice’. This next series of training sessions will empower organisations to more assertively use the skills and knowledge they have developed, to bring about change.
The sessions include:
- Shaping personal stories in your communications | Liz Kearsley | 26 May
- Power, participation, and lived experience | Sheila McKechnie Foundation | 31 May
- Achieving policy change | Gemma Buckland | 1 June
- Evaluating and measuring impact | Sheila McKechnie Foundation | 15 June
- Achieving policy change (repeat) | Gemma Buckland |21 June
- Writing an effective policy response | Ayaz Manji | 23 June
- Bringing out the ‘why’ in your work | Liz Kearsley| 28 June
“The sessions were timely, as I was starting to look more closely at meaningful campaigning following the effects of the pandemic. I am looking forward to attending more sessions to develop my skills further in this area.” – Stronger voice attendee
Into next year, we will launch phase three of the programme ‘Strengthening your voice’, which will include increasingly advanced training to organisations already active in policy influencing. This will also include opportunities to receive ad-hoc expert support to put your learning into practice too.
We hope to see you at one of the sessions over coming months. If you have any questions about the project or would like to learn more, please do get in touch with Noori Piperdy, Clinks Policy Officer, at email@example.com
Latest on Twitter
.@hibiscuscharity have launched a report - funded by Clinks - which explores the complex issues faced by Black, minoritised and migrant women in contact with the CJS and the resulting impacts on their mental health.
Read the report here: https://hibiscusinitiatives.org.uk/media/2023/06/rmc-mental-health-report-document.pdf