In 2013 Community Led Initiatives launched with the mission to transform the lives of ex-offenders through the power of quality peer mentoring. Now, we support a wide range of people- from families, women to people affected by substance misuse- by building supportive, peer-led recovery communities.

Our 4th birthday prompted the process of exploring if our original vision and values still held true within the organisation. Starting as an interesting conversation with our advisory group, we asked ourselves some challenging questions:

Have we retained our values as we have grown?

Is our mission still the same or has there been drift influenced by project opportunities?

What do our stakeholders feel we represent?

Is the impact we think we make true, or are we making a difference to people in ways we dont know?

We decided that in order to be clearer about our future direction, our purpose and our identity, we needed to explore these questions.

In June, we held our first focus group which brought together people who we support, volunteers, staff, directors and advisory group members to discuss the impact of our work. Listening to the range of views in the room was both exciting and humbling for me.  I feel really proud that we are still achieving the original aims of CLI, but what is exciting is seeing the shared passion we have throughout the organisation, at all levels, for continuing to further develop what we do. We have challenges to face in the future, but co-producing strategies and solutions to overcome them with all of our stakeholders is an amazing experience.

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Last week we followed that up with another group of stakeholders who shared their views and experiences of CLI.  They examined the values they feel we represent, and how our behaviour as an organisation evidences that. The workshop was hosted by 2 of our advisory group, Ruth and Amy, who supported those taking part to write stories of times when CLI worked best for them. The stories about CLI produced some great titles:

Trust!  A two way street.  

The Ripple effect 

The Commitments

Instinctive Hope

We all feel that we are on a journey, just starting a process that will shape what CLI is to become. Within the next few months, our stakeholders will work together to shape the vision and values that unite us and drive the CLI mission.

I’m so grateful to able to come into work and feel like we are doing something right – and look forward to sharing this exciting next chapter with you!

– Peter Atherton