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Frontline Network Annual Conference 2022

Frontline Network Annual Conference 2022

Frontline Network Annual Conference 2022

10 sessions, 22 speakers, and over 300 attendees across all 4 Nations. Thank you to everyone who took part in our Frontline Network Annual Conference 2022!

We would love to hear your feedback, so please take a few minutes to share thoughts about sessions you attended here.

Under-pinning this year’s workshops was the theme of 'Working Together'. We hosted a range of amazing speakers who highlighted the interesting and creative ways they are working to navigate and overcome barriers in their work.

On this page you can find a round up of the day, including recordings of each session and a copy of slides and other resources that were shared. Please click on the red title boxes to access the recordings.

If you aren't already then please sign up for our enews. It's free for frontline staff who support people experiencing homelessness. You can find out about further resources, funding and being part of a growing community of frontline staff.

Plenary and Key Note Speech

A talk by Tim Bissett of St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity and Jean Templeton CEO of St Basil's

The first session of the day from our Annual Conference on 28 June 2022. You'll hear about our work across the UK and how we can support you as a frontline worker.

We are really excited to be joined by Jean Templeton, Chief Executive of St Basil's, as our key-note speaker this year. Jean has over 20 years of experience managing housing and neighbourhood services in a number of Local Authorities in the North East and Midlands, is a member of Birmingham’s Housing Partnership Board and Birmingham Social Housing Partnership Executive. Jean is Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority Homelessness Taskforce, is a member of the Government’s Advisory Panel on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness and chairs the national Youth Homelessness Parliament.

Following the keynote speech, Jean joins our Director Tim for a Q&A session.

Innovation in a time of crisis - Responding to the cost of living crisis

A talk by Michael Clarke, Turn2Us; Dan Norris from Child Poverty Action Group and Zoe Titchener, Citizens Advice Coventry

Please note, there is some background noise / distortion in the first 12 mins of the video. This is resolved and the rest of the film is clear.

The UK's rate of inflation has risen rapidly during 2021 in the wake of Covid and Brexit and continues to rise sharply following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Whilst our annual frontline worker survey 2021 data pre-dates the invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022 and the resulting acceleration of the cost of living, frontline staff highlighted their concerns in Nov/Dec 2021 - 59% of frontline workers told us they were extremely concerned about the risk of people needing to choose between housing costs and other basic necessities last winter and 56% were extremely concerned about rising energy costs.

This session offers practical advice and key resources that frontline homelessness staff can refer to when supporting people experiencing homelessness, who are being impacted by the increased cost of living. Below is a list of links to resources referenced in the talk.

CPAG links referenced


https://askcpag.org.uk/home (including decision making tools), sanctions, UC (including challenging decisions), migrants, PIP, debt, Scottish benefits and more







https://cpag.org.uk/welfare-rights/template-letters- for mainly mandatory revision problems




Discretionary help- councils- Local Authorities operate Discretionary Housing Payment Schemes- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments

Homelessness prevention fund https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-prevention-grant-2022-to-2023

Flexible support fund https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Your-Situation/Looking-for-work/Getting-Into-Work/UK-Wide-Schemes#FSF








Multiple disadvantage and co-occurring conditions

A talk by Anna Suswillo and Greg Headly, MEAM.

A high proportion of staff responding to our frontline worker survey in 2021 reported an increase in Mental Health support needs in people they were supporting. Accessing Mental Health support services was also identified as being increasingly difficult for people they were working with and this included people with co-occurring conditions.

MEAM have just published 'Reflections from the MEAM approach Network- transforming services and systems for people facing multiple disadvantage'. The report looks at current access to Mental Health services and barriers faced by those with co-existing Mental Health (MH) and substance misuse conditions. They will present on innovative practice they are undertaking; grant funding local areas to focus on system change and improving access to support.

This session offers practical steps that frontline staff can take to improve accessing support, share examples of practice and how legislation is being navigated. Speakers share how staff are holding services accountable and challenging decisions under safeguarding legislation to advocate for people with co-existing conditions to be included in services.

Immigration and Homelessness

A talk by Bethan Lant, Training, Development & Advocacy Manager, Praxis Community Projects

Many frontline workers responding to our 2021 frontline worker survey told us they were finding it difficult to identify whether an individual was eligible to access any public funds or had no recourse to public funds. A high number were supporting individuals who had experienced homelessness as a result of their immigration status.

This session provides practical advice on how frontline homelessness staff without specialist immigration knowledge can identify a person's No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) status and provide practical support. Scenario situations staff often experience are explored, including how to identify barriers around no recourse to public funds and sign posting people to local and national resources.

Praxis facilitate the Pan-London Migrant Frontline Network; supporting staff in frontline homelessness settings to further their awareness of migrant related homelessness. They are working alongside a range of organisations including Homeless Link and the Greater London Authority to offer support, advice and training to staff.

Resources referred to in the talk can be found here

Praxis, Advising Migrants in Housing Need 


Accessing Accommodation - A focus on Women's Experiences

A talk by Emilia Bjerke, Together WomenLisa FisherLeeds City Council;  Cat Tottie, Basis Yorkshire and Niamh Kehoe, The Connection at St Martins 

"It is very difficult to find safe accommodation for women fleeing domestic abuse. They are also often isolated once given access to Social Housing due to the lack of housing stock."- 2021 frontline worker survey respondent.

In our latest survey of frontline workers, we heard about the challenges and barriers women experience in accessing suitable, safe, specialist accommodation. In this session we present innovative practice being undertaken; sharing practical insights on how organisations are working together with commissioners to ensure trauma informed approaches are embedded, further understanding across sectors and agencies of the specific needs of women and how they are undertaking systems change work to challenge and improve practice.

Basis Yorkshire facilitate the Leeds Women's Homelessness and Housing Frontline Network in conjunction with Together Women and Leed's Women's Aid. They will present on innovative work they are undertaking and chair today's session.



It's About Time - time management with Cathy Shimmin

A talk by Cathy Shimmin, Senior Training Consultant and Performance Coach, Directory of Social Change

When the demand is high and the resource is low, we can easily become overwhelmed with the workload we have. The goals and priorities become muddied, we are in constant fire fighting mode and good work habits go out of the window.

Personal effectiveness in our time and workload management is something that will fluctuate for most of us from time to time. In reality – there is no more time to be had, 24, 7, 365 – that’s it. What can change is how we use the time available to us to achieve what is important to us.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed It’s About Time to reflect on where and how we can be most effective and find a range of techniques for organising our work and achieving our goals.

This webinar will explore

• The causes of poor and workload management

• Clarifying roles and goals

• Deciding what needs to be done when – important versus urgent priorities

• Developing habits

• Managing boundaries and expectations

• Assertive techniques for collaborative working – say no and look good

• Top tips for effectively managing emails, organising and protecting your diary and making meetings work

The webinar will be a mix of trainer input, reflective exercises and action planning, and include some time for a Q&A.


Further DSC Training - don't forget the Frontline Network Training Fund can support you to attend if your employer can't.

Directory of Social Change - FREE DSC Insights Talk: The Role of Charities in Sustainability – Online, Thursday 14 July

Directory of Social Change - Mastering Your Inbox – Online course (dsc.org.uk)

Directory of Social Change - Confident Communication at Work – Online course (dsc.org.uk)



Implementing PIE - from Theory into Practice

A talk by Dr. Natalie Isaia, Associate Clinical Psychologist Head of Training and Clinical Supervisor, Brett Grellier Psychology Services

Psychologically Informed environments are not just for service users. For an organisation to be PIE the values need to be embedded across the hierarchy, systems and practice. PIE means being trauma informed and strengths based – for everyone. This workshop draws on Natalie's clinical expertise and experience in implementing PIE in large hostel settings to offer some insight and practical ideas about how we can maximise the benefits of PIE approaches and introduce them into our day to day ways of working.

Tracking my mental health - and taking it seriously

A talk by Runa Uddin, Training and Consultancy Manager, Mind

There’s a lot happening in our world as well as in our lives right now and that’s a huge amount of pressure on each and everyone of us…and yet we still aren’t very good at checking in with ourselves to see if we are ok and taking ourselves or the signs seriously when we are not.

We've teamed up with Mind, the mental health charity for a learning session with Runa Uddin, Training and Consultancy Manager at Mind, as she reflects on the importance of tracking our mental health and wellbeing as well as discussing tips and tools in how to do so. The session will include reflecting on;

• The current picture, its impact on our stress levels, identifying triggers of poor mental health

• Recognising signs in ourselves to help us track our mental health and wellbeing

• Taking care of our mental health and wellbeing

• That first conversation around asking for help

• Useful tools for you and your teams to use

Reflective Practice

A talk by Joan Coulton from Homeless Link and Mike Wright, Senior Service Manager, Cyrenians

This session with Homeless Link trainer Joan offers a practical focus on how embedding reflective practice approaches can support staff resilience through providing team-together time to learn from experiences, support one another and reflect on situations.

You will hear from Mike Wright from Cyrenians in Edinburgh who have developed their own reflective practice sessions to support their staff; hearing how they implemented this and how this is positively impacting staff.


End of day panel discussion

A talk by Sian Aldridge, The Wallich; Carl Brown, MEAMLorrraine McGrath Simon Community Scotland and Brenda Parker, Housing Rights Northern Ireland

In this session our director Tim rounds up some of the day's key reflections and highlights before we're joined for an end of day panel discussion with sector representatives from across the Nations. They will discuss ways we can work together and ensure we support frontline staff and people experiencing homelessness during these difficult times.