With only 9 days of 2017 left, we’ve done a little bit of reflecting here in the developmentplus office. This time last year, we could never have imagined we’d be where we are now, after a roller coaster of a year, with plenty of great highs and some sad lows, we’re finishing 2017 brilliantly! We’ve achieved so much and we have so much more we want to achieve, we’ve got new projects starting, plans in the pipeline and an ever growing thirst to improve the lives of the people who live in this City we Love! Here’s a little run down of the where we’ve been and where we’re heading…

We started the year in Croft Street, a place we’d called home for a long time, but it no longer felt like home. In fact it was more of a hindrance than a comfort. We knew in order to keep the charity going we needed to sell the building, after all like with Family, Charity isn’t about the building, it’s about the people in it. We were lucky to find new premises early into the year and moved to our new residence in February. So much time and effort had been tied up in the building that certain areas of the Charity had really suffered.

Once we had moved and could get some clarity, the developmentplus cogs kicked back in, we were able to concentrate our energies back into what we do best, supporting the people of Lincoln. We were able to gain more funding for our ‘Step in the Right Direction’ programme and so our workforce grew. We employed another staff member and started to look for new ways developmentplus could grow.

Another local Charity were closing around this time, they had been running a project in conjunction with HMP Lincoln, a reducing re-offending through mentoring project, headed up by a Community Chaplain. This project was vitally needed in Lincoln, many people and organisations relied on it and to see it close was criminal. We approached the Charity to see if they would allow us to take it on, although that wasn’t possible, they were happy for us to use the concept. And so ‘Bridging the Gap’ was born!

Although the project hasn’t started yet, all the planning and preparation has! We have worked hard through the latter half of 2017 to get all the correct policies and procedures, agreements and partnerships in place to ensure that when funding comes in this project is ready to go. We will work with men coming out of HMP Lincoln into Lincoln, people coming out of other prisons into Lincoln and people who have been imprisoned within the last two years but are still struggling. We are so excited about this project, to play a part in the reducing re-offending strategy for Lincoln, to help improve people’s lives, have a positive effect on communities and to change the way ex-offenders are viewed and treated. We are hoping to have this project up and running in early 2018, but will keep you updated on any progress!

In the summer we held an open cinema event at the Arboretum. It was a wonderful day, we showed 2 films on the big screen, Moana and Beauty and the Beast. We had face painting, circus skill, craft activities and food all available. The day was well attended and all those that came really enjoyed it (Even if a little wet!). There was a real sense of fun and community cohesion, exactly what developmentplus is all about.

The Lincoln Partnership Consortium (which includes ourselves, Urban Challenge, Abbey Access Training, Pelican Trust and Just Lincolnshire) have recently been commissioned by the City of Lincoln Council to support the eight neighbourhood boards within Lincoln following the departure of the Neighbourhood Working Teams. We will help the Boards to become more proactive and sustainable for the future. Through this we hope to see the wards the Boards represent develop and grow, to see the communities work together on communal goals, to see the residents take ownership of their communities, but most of all to see change for the future! This project started in December 2017 and will run for 12 months. This has led to our workforce growing again; we may need to move again at this rate! We can’t wait to see what will happen along the way.

Our ‘Step in the Right Direction‘ programme is in full swing, with several clients already participating. We are aiming to work with 40 people throughout the course of the year. The programme offers 1-2-1 mentoring and coaching over a variety of aspects that can affect your life. Our Development Worker Denise has vast experience in this area and has helped people achieve some amazing goals! There is plenty of time left if you feel working with Denise would benefit you, contact us for more information.

And alongside all of this we are still running our FREE health and well-being compact courses. These courses cover a range of topics, from herbal therapies to nutrition, chair yoga and mindfulness. These courses run in blocks throughout the year, we are currently halfway through a block, with 3 remaining in early 2018. These courses are so popular, but with all good things, we need to keep them fresh and new. We are always looking for ways to update them, try new topics, new venues and even different directions. If you would like to find out more about our courses please click here or contact us for further details. And keep an eye open for the next block just for Sincil Bank in the 2nd quarter of next year.

Finally we had a little Christmas fair here at Queens Park Hub for all the charities that are in the building. It was such a lovely day; we had lots of visitors and plenty of mince pies! We made some bits to sell on our stall. It was a lovely way to start the festivities!

We currently have other projects in the pipeline for 2018, some still in the planning stage some have gone onto the looking for funding stage and some will involve a lot more work, but have great potential.

All in all 2017 has seen us re-build. 2016 stripped us right back, it was not our greatest year, it was hard and sad and frustrating and demoralizing. It took a lot from us and left us a shell of our former self. But we remained. Throughout all the hardship our core values and beliefs stayed the same. developmentplus has always been and will always be about developing people and communities within Lincoln, helping them to be the best they can be and finding new ways to help them improve and grow. That vision stayed with us and because of that we have fought back and are now on an upward curve. For the first time in a little while we are really excited about the coming months and years, we have plans and focus and vision. We are passionate about the work we do and the people we work with and can’t wait to see where 2018 will take us!

So watch this space, developmentplus is ready for the future!

Merry Christmas from all of us!!