Supporting change-makers: four case studies
"My Fellowship changed everything. It gave me the wherewithal to do all the things I wanted to do." - Dementia campaigner Ann Pascoe, Fellow
We support some of the UK's most inspiring people to pursue the causes they care most about - topics central to the quality and progress of their communities and professions. Here are four case studies of Fellows who have made change happen across the UK:
Police officer Mark Walsh has a saying: “If you cannot reach the top of the ladder, sometimes you have to move the ladder.” With his Fellowship, Mark not only moved the ladder, he reinvented it for his local youth justice system.
In 2012 Mark was a constable in Hampshire’s Youth Offending Team. He became interested in improving the handling of young people’s cases and applied for a Fellowship to visit an innovative system of peer-led courts for young people in New York, Los Angeles and Washington.
The insights he gained there were so compelling that, on his return, the Hampshire police force created a new role for Mark to run a community court programme and pilot a court for young offenders to be assessed by their peers. Results from the pilot were remarkable. After one year, only 9 out of 80 young people had reoffended. One young offender said, “Seeing the peer panel made me think I should be making better choices with my life.”
The court was run by young volunteers, whose example was recognised by two national awards: the British Youth Council Inspiring Project Award and the Children and Young People Now Youth Justice Award. Meanwhile surveys of participants – parents, victims, police and offenders – confirm that the court has created behaviour change.
This impact allowed Mark to advocate at national level for his ideas. He presented them to the Howard League for Penal Reform, the government’s Youth Justice Board and the Deputy Mayor of London’s office. Finally the Secretary of State for Justice, after considering Mark’s findings, announced a nationwide youth justice pilot that includes them.
Now the programme operates across five towns in Hampshire, and Thames Valley Police have successfully launched a version in Reading. Mark reflects: “Winston Churchill lives on through the legacy that are the Fellowships. When you seek to do good things in his name people tend to sit up and listen. Becoming a Churchill Fellow has been one of the greatest privileges of my life”
On the application form for his Fellowship, Dr Andrew Rowland wrote that it is rare for a child to suffer a fatal injury from violent abuse without other prior warning signs. He knew, as a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine, how to spot such signs and had become determined to safeguard children from neglect and abuse. It was this that inspired his Fellowship to meet child protection experts in South-East Asia and the USA.
“My Fellowship opened doors I didn’t even know existed,” says Andrew. “It resulted in the launch of new projects that will make our world - full of danger as well as opportunities - a better place for children to live in.”
While abroad in 2014, Andrew looked at the impact of children’s advocacy centres, mandatory reporting of child abuse, and the identification of children at risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Since returning, his findings have been considered by the UK government, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. His advocacy led to changes in the BMA’s national policy on safeguarding vulnerable children, and is informing legislative change in Wales and Scotland on prohibiting physical punishment for children. In 2015 he founded SicKids, a charity protecting children in the UK and Asia from abuse, exploitation and trafficking.
The Fellowship had a profound effect on Andrew. In 2015 he was appointed Deputy Medical Director of his NHS Trust and in 2017 he received the BMA Medal by Professor Sir John Temple. The citation praised his Churchill Fellowship.
Andrew sees the Fellowship as a career highlight, because it offered funding “outside a rigid set of guidelines and rules” and gave him the knowledge to push children’s advocacy at every opportunity.
Ann Pascoe has said - perhaps unfairly - that before her Fellowship she was an old lady living in a village and faced with a traumatic change in circumstances. In 2002, she and her husband Andrew had retired to the Highlands of Scotland. When Andrew was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2006, she realised they were isolated. Dementia affects people across the UK, but for those in rural communities the challenges are magnified. By 2012, Ann had decided that she needed to do something, so she applied for a Churchill Fellowship.
Then in her sixties, Ann went to India to see their successful model of care at home for people with dementia, which includes detecting symptoms of dementia and carer stress. She found this reduced patients’ behavioural problems and improved carers’ mental health.
Ann returned to Scotland inspired by what she had seen and ready to take action. In 2012 she started a local social enterprise called Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) to respond to the challenges of living with dementia. This proved so successful that DFC is now working in partnership with NHS Highland and Alzheimer Scotland to evaluate Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. DFC has also received £225,000 from the Life Changes Trust to roll out its programme to eight rural communities in Scotland.
For people living with dementia, DFC offers regular social activities, arts programmes and Dinner to Your Door - which provides some 35 meals a day in Ann’s area. These initiatives support patient wellbeing and relieve the burden on carers.
Ann’s Fellowship has also been influential on a national level. She is part of the Prime Minister’s Rural Dementia Communities Task and Finish Group, and has been appointed a Trustee of the Life Changes Trust, which works with people living with dementia and their carers.
In 2014 Ann gained an MSc in Dementia. “This,” she says, “along with my Churchill Fellowship, has given me the credibility I needed to do the work I’ve done. Before this, I had lived experience of dementia but nobody would listen to me. My Fellowship changed everything. It gave me the wherewithal to do all the things I wanted to do.”
A Maori proverb sits on the front of Yvonne Field’s report: ‘What is the most important thing? It is people. It is people. It is people.’ This belief runs through her Fellowship.
Yvonne is interested in leadership development among BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities, and keen to see community leaders tackling challenges in education, physical and mental ill-health, unemployment and crime. In 2012 she visited New Zealand and the USA to assess their community-based models for identifying and developing new generations of BAME leaders.
She used her insights to establish the Ubele Initiative in the UK. This is an inter-generational leadership project focused on the African diaspora. It has co-hosted conversations and workshops for community groups that unite elder leaders with emerging young leaders, and provided capacity-building support for more than 30 small BAME-led community organisations.
In 2017, at its Mali Enterprising Leaders event in London, Ubele launched a national BAME Community Business Toolkit, comprising case studies of Ubele’s work with BAME communities and a template example of an African-Caribbean organisation that plans to grow and market food to the local community. For 2019, Ubele has won over £200,000 of Erasmus funding to extend its work to training hubs in Athens and Amsterdam.