||Began (administrative) operations from within Ipswich Housing Group building. Altered an unused lavatory into an office!|
||Working from a shed in premises of The Community Resource Centre|
||Bottom half of a two up two down property!|
||A £120,000 innovation grant was awarded by Suffolk DAAT to help develop our work|
||Mixture of statutory and charitable funding enabled us to move to Fore Street (containing 12 rooms)|
||Referral numbers boosted by award of first statutory contract with Suffolk Probation Service|
||Iceni are prominently involved during and in the aftermath of the murders|
||Iceni gain national recognition for its innovative approach in helping majority of women to safely exit street prostitution|
||Move to 36 room premises that means we can increase client capacity by 50%|
||A local tender process in 2010 which favoured large national organisations greatly reduced our income.|
||A successful fundraising campaign to keep Iceni ‘open raised over £300,000.|
||The Iceni Project was officially closed and Iceni Ipswich was born.|
||It is crucial to review evidence that our new way of working really does make a difference|
Please click on the links below to find out more about the key milestones in our Iceni history.
- The Iceni Project was born from the vision and determination of a few people in 1997. With little funding and no evidence that the chosen approach would work it was two years before the first person entered our doors for support.
- In 1999 Ipswich Housing Action Group kindly allowed us to convert an unused toilet to start operations from and with the support of The Community Resource Centre who lent us their shed the first tentative treatment programme was started.
- With funding from 3 charitable trusts we moved into our first home. Working from the ground floor of a small terraced house on the edge of Ipswich we quickly evidenced that the need for such as service that we were introducing was indisputably required in Ipswich. In the first year of being operational over 200 people attended Iceni and it was clear that we would quickly out grow our premises.
- Due to the vision of a commissioner within The Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT) who recognised the Iceni holistic model as an innovative way forward we were awarded £120,000 which enabled us to relocate to a bigger premises in Fore Street, Ipswich.
- This moved help to establish Iceni and contracts with Suffolk DAAT and Suffolk Probation saw Iceni become a recognised part of the Suffolk treatment system.
Sad and edifying times
- In 2006 the murders of 5 women involved in street prostitution saw Iceni play a leading role in assisting the majority women to safely exit street prostitution. These events are forever etched in the history of the town which is an unwanted legacy. However, knowing that street prostitution is no longer occurring is the most positive outcome of all that came out of such dark times. In December 2008 Iceni was a recipient of The Guardian National Charity of the Year for this work and 22 organisations across the UK have spent time with Iceni in an attempt to learn from our experience.
Challenging and changing times
- As a result of losing such a significant tranche of our income via a tender process in 2010, our fundraising campaign was launched. We raised sufficient money from both local and national sources that funded the 20 months following the campaign. The strong support from the people and communities of Ipswich and Suffolk raising over £150,000 with over 3000 people putting their name to a petition (including many of the country’s top experts in addiction) gave us the confidence that Iceni was indisputably required.
- In 2009 we moved to our current location on Foundation Street in Ipswich. Our premises compromise of over 30 rooms on 3 floors and is far removed from our starting point in 1999. We are fortunate to have such a fantastic building and this was a key event in our history. However, with the responsibilities of managing such a building and what was to come in 2010 with the loss of much of our income we had to ‘change’
We improved our Governance arrangements by bringing in new trustees and examined the operational and financial risks we will face as the market we operate in changes. We are seen as a flexible and reliable organisation by purchasers of our services however, we had to build a clearer brand image and through this period of change we constantly reflected on our mission and value. This forward thinking approach, our commitment to partnership working and our dedicated and enthusiastic team of trustees, staff and volunteers sets a firm foundation for future years.
It’s nice to be recognised, but..
- Over the years our work has achieved national recognition and have in the past “won” a national competition run by Sainsbury’s. The film ‘Kirsty’s story’ is available to view here and was produced as part of the award and was shown on Sky Community channel. We also won The NatWest bank Community Force challenge in 2012 and The Lloyds bank challenge in 2013. We received the most votes in the Eastern region which was particularly satisfying as we were up against much larger and well known charities.
It is not many small local charities that have been included in plays at The National Theatre or award winning BBC dramas, nor indeed many that have been riding the rollercoaster of change that Iceni have for the last couple of years. However, what we really appreciate is to know that we are valued by those that count and whilst awards and acknowledgment are welcomed the greatest accolade is to witness the families we work with, flourish.
What does the future hold?
Reflecting on the past and the nature of changes and challenges we have experienced , the Iceni team view the ability to react and to change as a vital characteristic of survival. Iceni’s track record stands it in good stead, but cannot be seen as a suitable basis for a strategy looking forward. We intend to move significantly towards achieving our Vision and delivering our Aims and Objectives as well as our Desired Outcomes. To do so, we have therefore identified 5 Key areas that we will concentrate our efforts on:
- Continually measure and evaluate our work and consequently, our direct impact as an effective service provider
- Developing Iceni as a high quality, sustainable, family-centred environment.
- Raising the profile of Iceni as an organisation, of our core family programmes as well as our supplementary activities: and especially engaging the wider community in our work.
- Growing our influence locally, regionally and nationally, in the practice and advocacy of strengthening families.
- Building Iceni as a robust and sustainable enterprise; financially sound and more ‘mature’ in the management of its processes.
- From the beginning, it has been clearly understood that Iceni has a role to challenge orthodoxy, innovate new services and advocate for vulnerable sections of society. This role will continue. Whatever the future holds we should never forget who the real winners should be. Not us, or partnerships or commissioners or the government, the real winners will be the families and children who seek our support. Iceni is nothing if they don’t become winners.