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Shadowing Fund and Wellbeing: Visit To Cyrenians

Shadowing Fund and Wellbeing: Visit To Cyrenians

Shadowing Fund and Wellbeing: Visit To Cyrenians

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sirea Jabar (Partnership & Training officer) and Hayley Fisher (Communications officer) from Target Housing spoke with the Frontline Network about their visit to Cyrenians in Edinburgh.


We had a really great opportunity through the Frontline Network’s Shadowing Fund to visit Cyrenians in Edinburgh.

The aim of our visit was to look at how Cyrenians look after the wellbeing of their staff. Our visit allowed us to see how Cyrenians have created an ethos, an environment and culture in which they can build the resilience of their staff and clients.

Three years ago, Cyrenians decided to create a more ‘value’ based rather than ‘outcomes’ based organisation. This is reflected in their work with clients as well as their staff.

The ‘Cyrenians Way of Working’ has been built on four core values; Compassion, Respect, Integrity and Innovation. These values were created by frontline staff.

We met with the outreach team manager and outreach workers, the quality & resilience manager, the CEO and the conflict resolution manager.

Cyrenians are leading on and delivering many projects and it was inspiring to hear and see how they deliver their services and develop their staff through innovative ways of working.

It was positive to hear everyone express their passion for trying innovative ways of working in order to achieve better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness.

Key learning

The Scottish Government have committed to developing a national Trauma training framework for the Scottish workforce. They recognise that when people have been affected by childhood traumatic experiences, this can have a detrimental impact on them reaching their full potential.

It can also increase the risk of poorer physical and mental health and poorer social, educational and criminal justice outcomes. They have commissioned the Scottish NHS education to provide Trauma informed skills training to all frontline workers across the board.

This really stood out for us as it makes so much sense for frontline staff to be trained in trauma informed skills so that they support people effectively.

Please read the Scottish Government’s “Transforming Psychological Trauma: A Knowledge and Skills Framework for the Scottish Workforce” resource here.


Outreach Service

The Cyrenians' outreach service does not have any set predetermined outcomes by funders or the service provider. This allows for flexibility and natural outcomes to develop rather than being forced. This way of working seemed to have a real positive impact on individuals who were sleeping rough or who were experiencing homelessness.


Staff Wellbeing

Cyrenians recognise that ‘people’ were their most valuable resource and they wanted to invest in their people.

Ewan Aitken, the CEO of Cyrenians, said he wanted to create a set of values that matched up with how people felt. He wanted to know how they know when they are really value led and how they build trusting relationships.

This was achieved through creating safe spaces for people to discuss their experiences and values. It was about listening to people and creating change in the organisation, driven by what people want.

Please read ‘Cyrenians Way of Working’ here, which shows the tools available to those working for Cyrenians, to support the work they do, whatever that may be. 


We have felt really inspired from our day visit to the Cyrenians.

The Cyrenians approach towards the whole organisation from their outreach services to early intervention work and staff development is one of ‘valuing people’. This is something that can often get lost in a world of commissioned and target driven services. Innovation is one of their values and it is clear how they are passionate about innovative ways of working to achieve better outcomes.

One of the things that we would really like to take forward and campaign for is for local authorities in the South Yorkshire area to invest in free trauma informed skills training for frontline workers.

We hope that the Cyrenians will take the opportunity to come and see how we deliver PIE at Target Housing because they have said that they are interested in learning more about PIE.  We think that much of what the Cyrenians are already doing is very PIE orientated so it could be helpful for them to see how we have developed this way of working at Target Housing.


Have you ever wanted to find out more about how another service works or how a similar service in another area operates – what they do the same or differently to how you work? If so, we think one of the best ways to learn about them is to visit them.

Through the Frontline Network Shadowing Fund, you can apply for up to £500 to cover the cost of transport (and accommodation if it’s miles away!) to visit another organisation. Find out more about the fund here.


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