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Martine's blog - the pilot is hitting top gear

Martine Whitehead, Programme Lead, blogs about how the pilot is cranking up as Year 3 unfolds.

Hello, and welcome to my latest blog.

The start of Year 3 of the pilot has been incredibly busy – but very rewarding – and I’d like to share a few of the highlights over the last couple of months.

Firstly, we hit another landmark when the 250th person was supported into a home of their own. It’s an incredible achievement and a testament to the strength of the partnership and the people who work on the pilot.

I always have to remind myself that this is even more amazing given we have spent the last 16 months mainly in the highest level of Covid restrictions in Greater Manchester.

It’s been an amazing time and we ran several awareness sessions which were aimed at sharing the work we are doing and the impact of the programme as far and wide as we could.

These were well attended and it was great to see so many people locally and nationally come along to hear more about the impact we are making.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet with Dr Sam Tsemberis, the man behind the Housing First model, in a small group to get his advice and input around how to ensure the programme continues in Greater Manchester and what we can learn from other approaches to sustainability internationally. I've always been so inspired when I hear him speak, his insight and advice was invaluable.

I was also lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at the next Legislative Theatre production. You may remember last October we produced the “You know where the door is!” film after a fantastic day in Manchester.

We had people join the stream from across the UK and abroad to watch the production live and then take part in a session to discuss what we can do to bring about systemic change. Click HERE to watch it.

I joined Katy Rubin (Theatre of the Oppressed), Matt Kidd (Creative Inclusions) and a wonderful group of people who are on the programme to take part in some work around designing our next production.

We had a brilliant afternoon in Manchester and it was great to spend time with people on the programme and hear first-hand why they feel Housing First is different and why it needs to continue.

It was also so good to be in a room with people, bouncing ideas and thoughts around face to face rather than online. The creativity and passion of the group blew me away.

The pilot is producing a film of its own as we encourage the Government to make the pilots permanent.

We had 24 very brave and inspirational people who took part in the filming including people on the programme, Housing First Workers and wider supporters and partners.

The first cut is amazing and extremely emotional so the Central Team will be reviewing the film ready for its premiere at the end of the month.

As we progress through Year 3 there is an ever-growing emphasis on sustainability.

There is so much happening in this area and we are working hard alongside the other two pilot programmes with a large number of local and national supporters who are campaigning to ensure that funding is extended.

We know that the model works and one of the principles is that support should be provided for as long as people need it, people we are supporting the need and deserve that certainty and we need to continue with the message to make pilots permanent.


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