Join us for a conversation with Alice, Impact and Insight Consultant, and discover what sparked her passion to join the Foyer Federation team! Alice shares her experiences and reflections, her journey towards embracing Advantaged Thinking, and the transformative impact she imagines for the future.

Tell us about your background and the experiences that led you to this work.

One of the main reasons I was first drawn to the Foyer Federation was the Advantaged Thinking ethos. In my past role managing a housing support programme in Vancouver, we gave adults experiencing homelessness a lump sum of around £5500 with no strings attached. This approach aligned with Advantaged Thinking because it trusted individuals to manage their own lives and make the decisions that were best for them. Working on this project challenged my assumptions about support services. For example, when our loved ones face challenges we see their potential, not their limitations, so I started to question why can’t we extend the same level of support and consideration for everyone?

Describe your role at the Foyer Federation and what you’re currently working on.

As Impact and Insight Consultant, I’m digging deep to measure success and understand the challenges of three programmes: Moving On Up, Youth Power Fund, and the Advantaged Thinking Learning Community. Moving on Up and Youth Power Fund have been underway for some time so I’ve been reviewing existing data, talking to staff members and young people – identifying common patterns and themes to gain a clearer picture of the impact of these programmes. By contrast, The Advantaged Thinking Learning Community is at the start of its journey, so it’s an exciting opportunity for us to define what success looks like and how we'll measure it from the beginning. An important next step for my work is outlining key areas of impact, including how we involve young people to ensure what we’re measuring aligns with their ideas of success and growth.

Tell us about joining the team and what you’re looking forward to tackling next.

A new and interesting question that’s emerged as I’ve approached impact and insight measurement at Foyer Federation is: how do you apply an Advantaged Thinking lens to evaluation practices? Learning about Advantaged Thinking has made me realise that sometimes the way in which we ask questions to measure impact can be biased. Even validated scales, which are established tools used to measure things like self-esteem, can be worded negatively. Therefore, when writing surveys or interview questions, I’ve been challenging myself to keep an Advantaged Thinking mindset and remember that the practice of doing surveys themselves has an impact on people. Being a researcher, I know context matters when measuring impact so I'm excited to learn more about Advantaged Thinking to improve how we evaluate our work and ask questions. I’m also looking forward to talking more with young people about their goals and dreams to help us shape the ways we measure success for them.

What can we look forward to from your role in the near future?

I hope my work on the Advantaged Thinking Learning Community will support the Foyer Federation to integrate impact measurement tools early in the life of an initiative, helping to capture and learn more about young people’s journeys in the long term. I hope measuring the impact of the Youth Power Fund will showcase the young people's expertise and the success of Foyer pilot projects – leading to more flexible funding that empowers young people to lead and create positive change.

Tell us about your hopes for young people and your vision for the future of the network.

Over the first two years of the Youth Power Fund, Foyer staff members reported a 68% increase in the number of young people directly involved in leadership and taking on power in their Foyers. I think the successes we’ve seen emerging from this programme offer an exciting glimpse of what a new norm could look like, where youth-led, Advantaged Thinking driven Foyers are given the investment and resources they need to flourish sustainably. 

The Foyer Federation is registered in England and Wales under company number 2699839 at Work.Life, Core Building, 30 Brown Street, Manchester, M2 1DH. The charity is registered under charity number 1040482.
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