This July, 17 Foyers made great headway on their accreditation journey, showing that their service invests in young people’s assets and potential. During the review, our Panel received positive reports on new strategies for youth engagement, a serious boost in youth employment statistics, and heard about the successful deployment of the Foyer Federation’s Trust tool questionnaire. Many Foyers either achieved or retained certification of their Operationally Strong and Strategically Strong status for another year.
Nationally recognised, our quality development and accreditation programme encourages Foyers to aspire to excellence and provides guidance to help them get there. Being awarded with endorsement and accreditation status sets Foyers apart from services that take a more deficit-based approach. The process of working towards accreditation includes using a development tool, helping services to evaluate and strengthen Advantaged Thinking practices, and a quality assurance framework that helps the service show their impact and value to stakeholders.
Highlights from this July’s Accreditation Panel are:
1. Overall approval of 1 new endorsement, 5 new certifications from previously endorsed Foyers, and 11 re-certifications.
2. Newhaven and Your Housing Group’s four Foyers (Bridge, Coops, Ravenhead, and Verve Place) all retained their Operationally Strong and Strategically Strong status for another year.
3. Sheffield Foyer achieved a Strategically Strong status to match their previous Operationally Strong award, reflecting the win of a new 5-year contract from the local authority. Other notable strategic wins included a new 5-year + contract for Salford Foyer, while Verve Place’s new 5-year + contract was supported by the local commissioner sharing positive feedback that the Foyer was the best service they had seen in 20 years of commissioning.
4. It was particularly pleasing to see Foyers increase innovation in youth engagement practices:
- Enfield Foyer’s house meetings are run entirely by young people now, and the service has introduced a series of podcasts for young people to debate matters relevant to their lives.
- Swan Foyers have embraced the use of digital technology for communicating directly with residents including the regular use of the Foyer Federation Pass It On platform, social media, a Customer Portal to check rent payments and book repairs, and digital feedback platform.
- YMCA Crewe has made effective use of quarterly feedback surveys and a digital complaints channel to drive service improvements based on young people’s views.
- Sovereign Foyer has continued to advance a SMART card system enabling residents to build up incentive points for engagement that can be cashed in for move-on items.
- Aberdeen Foyer invested in the publication of a collection of stories in young people’s words to support training, service design and influencing.
- Salford became the first Foyer to make active use of the Foyer Federation Trust tool questions to audit levels of trust at the service, producing powerful evidence for trust in the service’s positive Foyer identity.
- The YHG Foyers (Bridge, Coops, Ravenhead, and Verve Place) had supported a youth ambassador initiative, leading to ambassadors visiting each other’s Foyer and producing a SWOT analysis for local managers.
5. As signposted in this year’s benchmarking report, Foyer performance in employability outcomes improved for the majority of services, with notable examples including
- 79% of young people taking up work at Sheffield Foyer, with an exceptional growth statistic from 9% of young people in work on entry to 49% in work on exit.
- At Whitehaven Foyer, part of the Riverside group of Foyers in Cumbria, sponsorship was secured from a local employer to cover the service charge for 2 residents who gain employment, thus helping the impact on rental charges from entering work.
- YHG Foyers (Bridge, Coops, Ravenhead, and Verve Place) continue to lead the way in work incentives, with 25% rental subsidies enabling an average of 54% of young people across the Foyers to take up work opportunities.
6. Finally, the July Panel was delighted to welcome back to Accreditation the Aberdeen Foyer, who secured endorsed status. The Scottish Foyer has a long history of innovation in the Foyer network, reflected in their latest service model for young people, combining a 27-bed unit in Aberdeen city together with a 125-bed space contract consisting of dispersed accommodation mostly in council flats across Aberdeenshire, all of whom are supported through a comprehensive Foyer deal and service offer that promotes the ‘something-for-something’ ethos.
The next Panel of the year is on 1st November, where we hope to celebrate the achievements of more Foyers in our growing Accredited network, which, following Aberdeen’s success, now stands at 27 services.