Alex Bax is the Chief Executive of Pathway, the winners of the 2022 London Homelessness Awards. We asked him what it meant to his organisation and what their plans are for the future.
Winning the award has been a huge validation for the team and has highlighted the wonderful work our Partnership teams do across London. When you’re in the thick of it day to day, it can sometimes be hard to see the impact you’re having. But this success reminds us of the role we play, and further shows the value of our work to our external partners.
Overall, this award also confirms the trajectory we’re on: to spread the model and aim for controlled but ambitious scaling up.
I recently took the trophy to the St George’s Homelessness Inclusion Team’s one-year anniversary event. This brought a real focus about the next year and where the next round of funding might come from. And showing the video helps us all to think about the work we’re doing. We intend to make more use of the film in national meetings as well to show partners and stakeholders across the country the impact Pathway teams can have.
And of course, the £30,000 prize money is helpful. It allows us to think more about where we want to be positioned in the system and where we structurally fit. With the changes from CCGs to ICBs, things are very fluid right now.
A key theme for us is that in our population there are lots of lives impacted by trauma, and our staff often work with very traumatised individuals. This in turn can have an impact on our teams – for example, if other services refuse access, our staff can be left with deeply vulnerable people who have been turned away. It is often our teams who must give out the bad news and manage the fallout, which can be a very distressing situation for both the patient and the team.
To address this, we have engaged with psychologists to work with our teams and help equip them to deal with the trauma that surrounds them. This also equips the team to deal with the complex behaviours that traumatised people often display. We need to remain compassionate, kind, and consistent, and the psychological support helps with this. We will use some of the prize money to not only fund this support but also to develop the evidence that shows that it works and delivers good value for money for other funders.
If you are thinking about applying for the London Homelessness Awards next year, I’d say that it is a hugely worthwhile process all round. The application was not too onerous and helped us to think about what we are doing and why. The judging visit was also very insightful and raised powerful questions.
Our success in the awards has also opened doors – for example, I am meeting with the London Directors of Housing in January, and have had good meetings with borough Chief Execs following the awards.
The London Homelessness Awards have been good for us as an organisation and as individual team members. I’d encourage everyone in the sector to think about applying.
For more information about the London Homelessness Awards go to https://lhawards.org.uk/