Giving something back

There is growing evidence that even quite simple acts of generosity, however humbly given, can produce such a feel-good factor in the giver that there is a measurable increase in well-being as a result.  More consistent ans forma action in the form of volunteering is associated with overall and sustained improvement.

There is therefore enormous value in making such opportunities available to those who may have lost all faith that they themselves have something positive that they can offer.  Any structures or openings that can be built into the day-to-day operation of any service can be used by those who are at the point in their own journey where they can engage - or perhaps simply recognise the value of what they may have done.

It is just as important therefore to recognise that the more informal openings that can arise in un-structured situations and interactions can be just as and even more meaningful, in giving someone a sense of being OK in the social world that matters to them - typically with their peers. Loyalty to informal relationships may hold some individuals back from engaging in new and more constructive activities.

To be aware of these informal roles and relationships can nevertheless allow the staff of services to notice and appreciate the hidden strengths that may not be 'part of the programme', but may matter to the individual. Recognising these - what Jay Levy calls the ecology of relationships - can be the first step towards engaging someone on their own terms, without which they cannot move on.

Further reading or viewing

scaffolding of hope : HERE

loving beggars : HERE

street community networks : HERE


PIElink pages

Scaffolding and re-scaffolding : HERE

roles in the PIEs 2.0 framework : HERE

Roles in "PIEs from the ground up' : HERE