One thing we hope our trainees develop as a result of going through our courses is the ability to be both open and secure enough to build relationship. Sometimes they emerge in places and with people we expect. But, what's often great about becoming available for connection are the unexpected opportunities that come our way...

2018 was a year of growing into and exploring new relationships for us, while we continued to establish and develop our courses.

FEMINISM FOR CHANGE

Since joining us in April, Tonya - a former graduate and now lead for our unique Feminism for Change course - has been reaching out to local services such as Pause. Pause supports vulnerable women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeated pregnancies that result in children needing to be removed from their care. Among these difficulties, issues with alcohol and drug addiction and poor self-esteem are often present.

Whilst on the course, Tonya brings women she works with into contact with specific feminist theory that offers a different sense through which to understand themselves and their circumstances. It's incredible to watch how this project and the women involved grow through connection to ideas that reflect their experience so accurately. We're really excited to see this work continue to develop and to keep learning how to engage and support more vulnerable groups, working alongside partner organisations.

FUNDING NEWS

In September we were thrilled to find out we'd been awarded a multi-year grant from the Henry Smith Foundation. We also received a grant from Garfield Weston. Both of these core funding streams are invaluable for small charities like ours to be able to plan ahead.

CLOTHING FOR CHANGE

We have also obtained funds this year, including a grant from the Big Lottery, that will enable us to get Clothing for Change off the ground. Led by Bex, a graduate of two of our courses, Clothing for Change is both a clothing line that we aim to scale to generate income for Foundation for Change, and a project for graduates of FfC who are interested in learning the craft of sewing.

The project will be moving into our new studio in NW1 in January 2019 for the first pilot of the sewing course that will be launched in April. In the meantime, Bex continues to work her magic on designing and creating the clothing range. Check them out on our Instagram and Etsy pages.

EXTERNAL RECOGNITION

We received recognition for our work this year from two separate alliances working to bring organisations and people together who are leading the way in recognising the need for a different way of tackling health inequality.

In the summer we were shortlisted as a finalist for the NESTA Good Help Awards. We attended an event that brought together 19 teams and organisations nationwide, recognised as enabling people to transform their lives by developing their sense of agency and purpose.

In December we were announced as winners of the NEW NHS Alliance's "Getting our Five-A-Day" Excellence in Health Creation Awards 2018. The award recognises organisations that have introduced and embedded the five "health-creation" practices: listening & truth-telling, responding, strenthgs-focusing, self-organising and power-shifting.

We hope to continue to build on some of these connections to help challenge and rethink the way we tackle addiction and mental health and create a more 'joined-up' system. We need this now more than ever.

A huge well done to all our graduates who will be finishing over the next week, and thanks again for all your support this year, especially those who braved the rain to attend our fundraising class at Triyoga on 7th December.