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2021 Annual Conference

2021 Annual Conference

2021 Annual Conference

10 sessions, 22 speakers, and nearly 500 attendees across all 4 Nations. Thank you to everyone who took part in our Frontline Network Annual Conference 2021!

We would love to hear your feedback, so please take a few minutes to share thoughts about sessions you attended here.

Under-pinning this year’s workshops was the theme of 'Overcoming Barriers'. We hosted a range of amazing speakers who highlighted the interesting and creative ways they are working to navigate and overcome barriers in their work.

On this page you can find a round up of the day, including recordings of each session and a copy of slides and other resources that were shared.

If you aren't already then please register with the Frontline Network. It's free for paid frontline staff who supporting people experiencing homelessness. Once your registration is accepted, you can enjoy further resources, funding and being part of a growing community of frontline staff across the UK!

Plenary session with a keynote speech and Q&A session with Dame Louise Casey

Dame Louise Casey joined us as our keynote speaker and discussed some of her experiences of working in the homelessness sector and how she has overcome barriers through her work. Following this, she joined our Director, Tim, for a short question and answer session.

Tim also presented an update on our work; how the Frontline Network is supporting frontline staff working with people experiencing homelessness across the UK. He highlighted key findings from our annual survey to frontline staff and the funding, community and resources we offer to staff; to support you in your roles.

Are we all in For Change? A conversation with the All in For Change Team

This provided an opportunity for people and organisations across the 4 Nations to hear about the work and impact of the Change Team in Scotland. During this session, we heard from members of the Change Team at All in For Change in Scotland on how they have been influencing and affecting change; to support ending homelessness in Scotland. This enabled people to hear how we can learn from this in other Nations, how can we develop similar spaces for frontline staff and people with direct experience of homelessness to influence homelessness policy and change on the ground?

Complex needs and Universal Credit with Steve Johnson

This session drew on key benefits issues identified by frontline staff and provided a practical training on solutions staff could take to navigate and overcome barriers in their frontline roles, and was delivered by Steve Johnson from Child Poverty Action Group.

The session highlighted practical next steps with focal areas covering; how DWP defines 'complex needs', problems with premature Universal Credit (UC) claim closure, how UC conditionality should be fit around claimant vulnerability, dealing with unfair UC sanctions and deciding whether to jump ship from Legacy benefits to UC.

Complex Needs & Universal Credit Presentation 

House of Commons - Coronavirus: Withdrawing crisis social security measures
Universal Credit documents relating to vulnerable people
Using the claimant profile to record complex need
Case Law: PP vs SSWP
Claim Closure
Case Law: RR vs SSWP
DWP ADM K2: Good Reason
DWP ADM J3: Work Related Requirements 
Case Law: JB vs SSWP
Claimants previously entitled to the SDP
Natural Migration Checklist
Complex Needs Assessment Checklist

In conversation with Extern N.I. - Responding effectively to homelessness; through specialist, supportive interventions

People are finding it increasingly difficult to access and sustain safe, suitable affordable accommodation. Extern N.I. have been delivering homelessness interventions in Northern Ireland for over 40 years.

Declan Morris (Extern Homes), Iain Cameron (Drug Accommodation Support Project) and Kim McGarry (Homeless Support Team and Homeless Traveller Project) presented on some of their innovative responses to tackling the barriers that face people who are homeless in N.I., particularly those who are; seeking affordable accommodation in the community; challenged by their addictions or drug use; and those who struggle to feel integrated in society.

Declan, Iain and Kim also provided some time to answer questions and provide insights to the work they do, and that of their colleagues, on the frontline of Extern’s vast homelessness service delivery.

A conversation with QNI: Accessing specialist healthcare support

For the last three years, frontline workers across the UK have told us it is very difficult/difficult to access specialist healthcare support for people they are working with, particularly with dual diagnosis issues.

Join this session to hear from a number of innovative practitioners working on the ground, who are part of QNI’s homeless health work. The session will offer a balance of presented updates and a panel discussion.

Vulnerable Migrants
Street Outreach
Integrated Homeless Mental Health 
Peer Advocacy

Compassion Fatigue: Facts and Feelings

This training webinar workshop, delivered by John Foster from Inspire NI, recognised the impact that current uncertainty, long-term remote working, in a hybrid fashion with limited time to refresh has on frontline staff; and the risk this posed to sustaining resilience to not burnout. The session focused on the impact of issues relating to Covid-19 such as social isolation and compassion fatigue.

The session explored the physical, emotional and mental impact of stress on us, with particular attention to presenteeism at work. Other focus points were around emotional burnout, negative transference, and vicarious trauma.

Attendees were steered to strategies for self-compassion and toolkits they could use for self-care and installing boundaries to reduce risk when supporting people affected by trauma. The session was delivered using PowerPoint slides, YouTube clips, interactive polls and exercises to engage attendees.

Crisis Management

This training, run by Dr Natalie Isaia of Brett Grellier Psychology Services provided an opportunity to think about what constitutes a ‘crisis’ situation compared to a challenging situation, for example; planning and learning from incidents from an organisational perspective. Understanding and managing our own emotional reactions, including our own fight/flight/freeze responses. Managing challenging behaviour. Collaborative safety and crisis planning to include managing suicidal thoughts and problem memories, risk assessment and management through to de-escalation techniques.

Crisis Management

Communication and conflict resolution

This training workshop, by Duncan Gordon from Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution, furthered our insight on how we understand, communicate and resolve (UCR) conflict. The session acknowledged the difficulties staff face as they work in their homes and have reduced opportunities to separate work issues being taken into their home life.

The session focused on scenario examples of how conflict can be de-escalated with colleagues, agencies and people being supported. Focal points included; identifying triggers and risk situations. How we use a trauma informed care approach to support people when conflict arises to understand someone’s experience and why they reacted in this way to de-escalate conflict.

The session also reviewed current response styles and looked at response behaviours in a trauma informed way. This identified how to resolve conflict using de-escalation techniques in person and remotely and reviewed skills, techniques and mediation.

Identifying and overcoming unconscious bias in our work practice

This session, delivered by Sandra Brown of Diverse Minds, explored how unconscious bias impacts organisational and our own personal attitudes, behaviours and preconceptions towards supporting people experiencing homelessness. The session used polls to host an interactive group discussion and explored how preconceived attitudes, stereotypes, thinking and assumed behaviour interplays with support provision.

Through understanding how our beliefs interplay with assumed behavioural patterns and responses, the session offered practical tips to identify situations of unconscious bias and how to address these.


Panel discussion; supporting frontline staff to overcome barriers in their work

A talk with Tim Bissett from St Martin-in-the-Field's Charity, Ewan Aitken from Cyrenians, Katie Dalton from Cymorth Cymru, Rick Henderson from Homeless Link and Nicola McCrudden from Council for the Homeless NI.

Tim chaired our last session of the day and was joined for an end of day panel discussion with sector representatives from across all 4 Nations. They  discussed ways we could ensure that we support frontline staff overcome barriers in their roles going forward.