“Looking back, it’s hard to believe it has been three years since I was introduced to the Out There team. It was a very troubled and uncertain time in my life and, without sounding clichéd, the support given to myself and my family has been a lifeline. The support, given quite unconditionally and non-judgementally, has ranged from simply knowing there was someone I could call on to listen to my worries and fears, to the gift of a holiday, including door-to-door transport for the whole family, and all the other acts of kindness and support that have made my journey on this rocky road a lot more stable.” P
DCSVP Services’ primary aim is to increase the influence and credibility of its subsidiary organisations that, in different ways, work to combat the many severe disadvantages endured by people in poverty. We will achieve this by fostering collaboration, helping to build momentum, and developing tailor-made support to ensure the long-term sustainability of each subsidiary’s work.
We recognise that tackling severe disadvantage is a complex area that also lies within the remit of a number of other public and private organisations. Although our role may be less obvious, it is equally vital: to act as a catalyst for change with a view to developing projects and initiatives – which are faithful to Vincentian values – that focus on longer-term systemic change. We have a unique view of the various activities that are funded, staffed and managed by the DCs. As a result, there is also a role for us in influencing central and local governments’ concepts of poverty in the UK.
We reflect the balance between our responsive and active roles in a variety of activities.
The trustees of DCSVP Services have four main changes (or outcomes) that they wish to initiate through this new initiative. These are:
- An increased understanding of Vincentian values within all layers of participating Vincentian organisations through the VIVAT programme, and a sustained and faithful mission focus as DC charities pass increasingly from Daughter of Charity to lay leadership.
- Robust and sustainable subsidiaries in evidence delivering best quality services to people experiencing poverty.
- Growth of a range of new anti-poverty initiatives beyond the original group of six subsidiaries.
- A more cohesive ‘Vincentian voice’ on UK social justice issues emerges and begins to bring its practice evidence to bear.
If these four changes are successfully brought about in the years ahead, then we would expect that there are two main impacts that DCSVP Services would ultimately deliver:
- To secure the legacy of the Daughters of Charity in the UK and to safeguard their ethos across Vincentian charities founded by the DCs and by DCSVP Services in the future, guided by a DC presence at pastoral and governance levels for as long as is sustainable.
- To promote systemic change for and with people experiencing poverty and to advocate with, and on behalf of, the marginalized in the UK.
By being clear about what change we want and how we intend to achieve it, we aim to be instrumental in creating a difference.
During this start-up period our current work includes
- development of VIVAT;
- supporting funding bids;
- reviewing governance;
- helping with recruitment;
- working with quality assurance systems;
- business planning;
- supporting organisational independence;
- assisting with the development of outcome monitoring and evidence gathering tools to demonstrate impact on the sector.
Please contact us if you would like help from DCSVP Services.
Click on a story heading to read it in full"When my partner was arrested, I was confused..." Client of Out There
“When my partner was arrested, I was confused and didn’t know what to do. I was left alone to take care of our son, who was just three months old. Our rent was outstanding and the landlord was always calling for his money. Other bills were also outstanding and supplies for the baby were running out. I had no money and was scared that if I contacted Social Services, they might take my son from me.
“A few days later M rang and came to visit me at home. I explained my situation. She called Social Services and they promised to provide accommodation and maintenance money. Thanks to M, I now have accommodation and enough money to take care of my son; I couldn’t have done it without her help.
“At Christmas, I was really sad because it was my son’s first Christmas and his dad was not around. However, we received gifts from Out There, which was very cool because it made me feel that someone cared.
“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Out There and those who make it possible for M to be able to lend a helping hand to people like me.” F"One man came in to ask what The Space was about, then left. Five minutes later..." Client of The Space
One man came in first to ask what The Space was about then left. Five minutes later, two middle-aged Muslim men arrived together. They sat quietly and waited for The Space to settle down. After exchanging pleasantries, one of them began to talk about integration and racism, which led to a conversation about the values of the people who serve at The Space. Then he told us that a few months before, his wife of 28 years, a white Scottish woman, had left him and that he didn’t know why. He talked about his marriage, work, family and faith. While we listened, we encouraged him to think more deeply about some of his comments to help him better understand his thoughts and views and to gain a deeper insight into some of his wife’s comments.
It was an intense encounter, but when the man left the transformation in him was very apparent. He took some of our cards and will try to get someone to give one to his estranged wife in the hope that she would see The Place as somewhere she might find comfort and understanding. He said, “You’ve really helped me… this is the first place where people have shown wisdom and talked sense, everyone else just tells me to get rid of her, but you’ve helped me to think about it and it’s helped… I hope she comes here”.Dobover takes his role as a provider extremely seriously... Client of The Space
Dobover looks after his immediate family and his grandchildren. He takes his role as a provider extremely seriously and being out of work makes him very despondent. He has walked the streets many times looking for work and has been exploited by unscrupulous employers. He explained that although he had not drunk alcohol for three months, money was very tight and it was difficult to buy food. When I suggested that he could use a local food bank, his face paled and every ounce of dignity seemed to drain from him.
Dobover has been to The Space a number of times – we are pleased to have been able to help him by providing furniture, and clothing and shoes for him and his family. He doesn’t usually stay long, but on his last visit he did stay to chat.“I can’t see well any more, but I still want to go to my lunch club..." Client of St. Joseph's
“I can’t see well any more, but I still want to go to my lunch club. The staff at St Joseph’s talked to the RNIB about how I could stay safe, but still do what I like to do. I got support to book a local taxi driver who helps me get to the lunch club and picks me up again.”
Our objective is to tackle disadvantage – whatever its cause – and enable people to improve their lives.
Vincentian Values In Practice
Through thye VIVAT programme and symposium Vincentian organisations have agreed five key values that are true of each organisation:
- serving people who are experiencing hardship or poverty;
- respecting the umique dignity of each person;
- being compassionate and kind;
- enabling choice and change;
- acting in solidarity for justice;
Below is an example how a Vincentian project is "Enabling choice and change".
“The Space”, a project in Glasgow, works with some of the city’s most marginalised people: nearly 80% of its clients are from the Roma community. Many have no access to benefits and scrape a living in jobs that pay below the minimum wage.
We believe that education leads to employment and is the key to enabling change, but many of the families cannot afford to buy school uniforms. Because their children are dressed differently, they stand out and are often subjected to bullying. Many refuse to go to school.
A generous donation enabled the staff at The Space to buy uniforms for a number of children in the hope that this will increase their attendance, reduce conflict with other children, and help to enable social integration.
The objective of all our projects is to enable people to improve their lives through systemic change.