The importance of being personal

Since we started out in 2007 relationships have been central to Just Ideas’ work. We are a small company – just the two of us as employees, yet we work on projects with and for multinational NGOs, through to small local charities. The partnership way of working enables us to work as part of other organisations’ teams on particular projects; and also to draw people in to work as part of our team on a project.

Over the last year we have been privileged to work with an array of organisations that put their relationship with the people they support at the heart of what they do: supporting victims of torture; delivering health and care programmes; working with young people; supporting homeless people. Often we bring the external perspective that casts a new light on just how special these relationships are – we love bringing our experience of organisational development, of partnership working, of engaging volunteers, of useful evaluation to support those who are delivering vital services. And we learn a lot about a whole range of issues and fields – all that make a positive contribution to social justice.

Some people seem good at the building and maintaining those effective relationships. In our experience connections that may start out as a chance meeting really take flight when you build on them – with a mixture of open communication, trust, frank and constructive feedback and a willingness to learn, and where the relationships yield positive outcomes. As founding Director Helen remembers the importance (and luck) of connections, and how activity ten years ago might just still be having an impact in terms of networks and work ten years down the line:
“I went to a conference locally about parish planning… probably because the facilitator was someone I admired: a woman running her own business doing similar things to what I saw myself doing and because I thought participatory approaches to planning might be an interesting way of using my skills. Fresh out of a networking event I went armed with a plan to identify and speak to five people. One person I met was Trisha Bennet of Community Matters – it was through this initial contact that a chain of events started resulting in work with the Community Alliance, Bassac and on Third Sector Commissioning. From that I facilitated a workshop with Ben Cairns, Director of IVAR,  which began a connection and relationship with IVAR that has resulted in our ongoing work as IVAR Associates and links to programmes and organisations such as Big Local…”

Every encounter could come to nothing or could be the start of a creative chain of meetings and connections that help you develop personally and professionally, while sustaining and developing a viable organisation. Find out more about what these relationships have led to with some of the organisations we’ve worked with by visiting ‘who we work with’.