Inside an Iriss project

A reflection on our conference workshop about our work with Passion4Fusion
Published in Working with African families on 17 Jun 2024

You might have followed our work last year with Passion4Fusion, a community organisation working predominantly with families from the African diaspora. It was an excellent project to be part of, full of constructive conversation and effective partnership working. So, at this year’s Iriss conference, I wanted to share what it’s like inside an Iriss project, by telling the story of creating ‘Working with African Diaspora families: A supportive toolkit for the social care workforce’.

With support from P4F project director, Helene Rodger, we explored how P4F recognised that there was a role for them in supporting the creation of a tool for the workforce. As a community based organisation, they supported families who had had negative experiences with social work; where there was mistrust between families and social work services. Families could experience that their culture, their family dynamics, were misunderstood and unfairly judged. 

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But - and this is what made this project work so well - P4F had also seen that when relationships were solid and trusting, engaging with social work services could be a positive experience for families. With this change making idea in mind, they approached Iriss to support them to build a toolkit for the workforce. Helene shared about the different perspectives that were needed for success, and how through collaboration, there was greater understanding between parties, about what the challenges and obstacles were for others. 

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Throughout the process, we supported P4F and their partners by facilitating events, and listening to the expertise that families brought about their situation, and that social workers shared about theirs. We designed and delivered co-design sessions with social workers, to understand what the issue looks like from where they’re standing, and what they need in a resource. But of course, social workers are individuals, often with different and competing ideas about what would be most useful for them! This is the part of a project I really enjoy; how do we bring together these perspectives, and create something that works for everyone? 

Alongside bringing social work perspectives together, we talked with experts in child protection and with people experienced in writing guidance. And we used this to support us in creating the final toolkit; always with the aim of it being practically useful. We also know that a toolkit needs to be in the hands of those that can use it, and so we launched it at events both in person, and online. At the conference, the group discussed the challenges in sharing learning from projects, and disseminating the tools. Part of how we ensure that the learning spreads, is through launch events, blogs like this or conference opportunities. On that note, if you’ve used this resource, or if you’ve found it useful in your work we want to hear from you, at 

This project, like much of our work, started with Helene and her team’s idea. Maybe reading this has given you an idea for making a difference where you work. Or maybe you’ve always had a niggling thought about a change you’d like to make. New idea or old; something developed or something that needs direction - we’d love to hear from you. Reach out and let’s see what we could work on together. 

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