January 2022 marks 30 years of the Foyer Federation’s existence, and we’re in the mood to celebrate. Three decades ago, Shelter and Diageo (then Grand Metropolitan) went over to France and found themselves inspired by the Foyer approach, which gave any young person a place to live, work and grow into a fulfilling adulthood.
A network of supported accommodation services for young people experiencing homelessness was established all around the country to express the new Foyer approach. Although it’s now a familiar best-practice way to work with young people, it was an inspiring departure from the norm – raising the standard of accommodation while providing a safe base from which young people could develop their skills, gain employment and raise their aspirations.
In the 30 years since, there’s been a lot of growth, change and innovation – both in the Foyer Federation and within Foyers themselves. The Foyer Federation introduced the sector’s first national learning qualifications and quality assurance programme, developed national projects with innovative approaches to health and wellbeing, informal learning, employability and social action, campaigned for young people to access a better offer, and amplified positive, person-centred, strength-based models of working through our Advantaged Thinking framework, which is at the heart of everything we do today.
A birthday gift from us to you
To celebrate this big birthday, we have a gift to share with you. We have created a new publication called Adventures in Advantaged Thinking, designed to outline the Advantaged Thinking journey we’ve been on and highlight the demonstrable impact it has on people interacting with services that have adopted this mindset and way of working.
You can download a copy of the full publication here. Over the next 10 months, we will be sharing insights on each chapter, distilling the key learnings, and sharing examples of how the Foyer Federation, our member Foyers and peers have put these principles into practice.
We don’t want to celebrate our birthday alone, so each month we will highlight the fantastic work happening in other inspiring organisations. We’re also hosting an event on 13 May to illuminate different elements from the publication, respond to questions and inspire action.
The report was co-created with Colin Falconer of InspireChilli and Your Housing Group’s Foyers – both of whom we closely partner with across much of our work.
InspireChilli is the innovation organisation led by Colin Falconer, formerly the Foyer Federation’s Director of Innovation. InspireChilli challenges us all to ‘live on the inspireside’ and specialises in asset-based innovation, whether supporting individuals and organisations through consultancy and training, designing products for asset-based working, or developing quality assurance methods to help organisations stay accountable to the people they serve. Colin works closely with a group of entrepreneurial young people – Team Young People – to further their social enterprises and interests, providing funding and opportunities for them to develop inspiring futures.
Your Housing Group is a housing association in the North West of England that runs four Foyers, each of which has been accredited as Operationally Strong and Strategically Strong under the Foyer Federation’s FOR Youth quality assurance. As well as funding the publication, young people and staff members from YHG’s Advantaged Thinking Foyers contributed their views and experiences, showing how Advantaged Thinking looks and feels day to day.
Brian Cronin, Your Housing Group’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re proud to be sponsoring the hard work that The Foyer Federation have led on to create a positive impact for thousands of young people through Advantaged Thinking over the last 10 years. The Advantaged Thinking model goes above and beyond anything we’ve seen before, and shapes not only our offer within our foyers but also challenges the way our colleagues think and do things to best support young people on their journey with us and beyond.
“We’re humbled to be supporting such valuable work to benefit the young people of our future.”