The Frontline Fellowship: One year on

9th November 2017

It’s been a year since we launched the Frontline Fellowship, a movement of outstanding individuals working to address social disadvantage in different ways. One year on, I wanted to take this opportunity to step back and reflect, to look at what fellows have been up to, the lessons we’ve learnt so far and what’s next for the Fellowship.

What fellows have been up to

There has been an increasing amount of activity over the last year. At our launch event last October we had some incredible speakers set the scene for the potential of the movement. Since then, we have worked with a number of fellows to develop their ideas and have seen a number come into action. This includes a series of emotional resilience workshops which were co-led by a fellow, that helped to open up a conversation around what fellows can do to look after themselves, in what is one of the most challenging professions to work in.

Other fellows have run policy workshops on child poverty. Fellows have also sought advice and mentoring from more experienced fellows in the network. Similarly, we have connected fellows interested in exploring innovative initiatives with other people who have run similar projects or organisations. As a result, one fellow is about to pilot a programme that will bring policy makers and social workers closer together to enable them to reflect on the system and learn more about each other’s roles.

With fellows spread across the country there have been events in London, Manchester and Newcastle. For one of these we worked with a project called REIGN to deliver a session about child sexual exploitation (CSE). A group of young women shared their experiences of CSE and facilitated an open discussion about how social workers can work with young people at risk of CSE.

The Fellowship launch event

What we’ve learnt

The main thing we’ve learnt is that building a movement takes time. With the Fellowship set to increase at an average of 365 per year up until 2020 – no one year will look the same. The approaches we’ve used this year will need to be adapted to welcome and engage a new and existing group of individuals.

Through our continued development with the Fellowship we have kept the advice from Jake Hayman, founder of Future First Global, at the core. Alumni movements are only successful when they are focussed on empowering and serving their members rather than serving an organisation.

What’s next for the Fellowship?

By this time next year there will be around 560 fellows. This is a huge increase on the current number of 270 fellows. This growth naturally means that our approach to the movement will change. We will begin to rely on the relationships that fellows have with one another rather than the individual relationships we hold with the fellows. Over the next year we will be looking to Frontline fellows to take a stronger role in directing and leading the movement. There have been some great instances of this already and we are looking forward to seeing more of this over the next year.

We will be starting this next stage with our inaugural annual event. This is taking place on 8 – 9 December and is being opened with a live performance from Lemn Sissay.

The second day will follow a conference style approach with the focus on workshops that will help fellows to increase their impact in their work with children and families. The sessions we currently have scheduled focus on developing practice skills, exploring how policy is made and leadership.

This is set to be really exciting event, so if you’re a fellow and would like to RSVP or suggest a topic for a session, get in touch.