Introducing our new Five Year Strategy 2019-2024 and celebrating 140 years of Together
Posted on 28, June 2019
The start of our new strategy is marked by Together celebrating its 140th anniversary since being founded by the Reverend Henry Hawkins.
Born in 1825, the Reverend Henry Hawkins worked for over 40 years as a Chaplain in asylums, supporting the emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of patients. Driven by his belief in the common humanity of all people, he worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people in asylums. He introduced new ideas and inspired likeminded people to volunteer to connect patients with their families, communities and the wider world.
In 1879, through his foresight and perseverance, Henry founded our charity with the aim of breaking the cycle of relapse and readmission by offering people leaving asylums support in the community. It was originally known as The After-care Association for Poor and Friendless Female Convalescents on Leaving Asylums for the Insane. Initially, the association helped find temporary homes and placements in service for women coming out of asylums, working alongside them as they tried to regain a normal life. Soon after, it began preventative work by placing ‘people at risk of becoming insane’ in cottage homes and set up the first residential care home in England for people with mental health problems.
Through the founding principles of the charity, Henry challenged societal thinking. He proved that with the right practical and emotional support, people could lead fulfilling lives without prejudice and without being defined by their mental distress. “Life’s ordinary associations” as he described it. He felt they were key for people to be supported to be part of society and to avoid them from becoming marginalised or institutionalised from repeated hospital admissions. Today this could be referred to as living ‘ordinary lives’ and we believe all of the extraordinary people we support now and in the future, who live with mental distress have this fundamental right.
We are deeply proud of what Henry achieved and his unique legacy lives on in our thinking for the future. You will read in our new strategy that our ambition is to see a society that values people’s experiences of mental distress. Like Henry, we want to continue to work alongside people so that they can live the life they choose and determine their own future.
This strategy represents the next stage in the life-cycle of Together. Staff, volunteers, service users and trustees were all involved in having a say on what success should look like for Together in five years’ time. They also commented on what they were most proud of and would want us to take forward into the future.
We also refreshed our values and have created a value statement that will drive all of our behaviours and underpin all that we do:
‘We work together to facilitate choice through involvement, by doing what we say, never giving up on people and looking to constantly improve how we work alongside service users’
The outcome of all the hard work over the last 18 months has been the development of a strategy map which is a new way for us in presenting our plans for the future. The idea is that you read it bottom up – that our values inform our approaches to the way we deliver our services, which will help achieve our vision for Together. That will then fulfil the reason why we exist as a charity (‘our purpose’) and by working hand-in-hand with others, help us to realise our ambition for society. It is a modern-day roadmap for the next five years that brings to life all the very best of what we do at Together and what we aspire to do which is still influenced and informed by our founder.