Good and bad help: How purpose and confidence transform lives

By Martin Volwes - 07 Feb 2018

Plexus was included in a recent Nesta publication Good and bad help: How purpose and confidence transform lives the report was launched this morning and authored by Rich Wilson, Christina Cornwell, Esther Flanagan Nick Nielsen and Halima Khan

The report outlines, how we help each other matters. Some help - what we call ‘good help’ - supports people to feel hopeful, identify their own purpose and confidently take action. Other help - which we call ‘bad help’ - does the opposite, undermining people's confidence, sense of purpose and independence.

In this publication, we aim to make a practical contribution. We have drawn on a well-established evidence base and worked with practitioners to understand how ‘good help’ is applied in practice. We outline the key drivers of action and list seven key characteristics of ‘good help’.

Whether people want to find work, improve their health or get the most out of education, ‘good help’ involves understanding what matters to each person. It is about supporting people to build the confidence they need to take action. This kind of work is core to many community and voluntary organisations. Yet despite decades of research and good practice, remains absent from many mainstream services.

The simple truth is that we can not afford to keep providing 'bad help'. Too much is at stake. Too many people are unnecessarily trapped in negative cycles and lost opportunities perpetuated by 'bad help'. These negative cycles have acute and obvious consequences, such as homelessness or addiction, but also chronic
and subtle effects which erode confidence and mental health, making activities, such as parenting and healthy eating, much harder, and sometimes impossible.

This publication provides a practical contribution to breaking out of these cycles. It is not the only solution, but we cannot ignore it any longer. We urgently need to make ‘good help’ a priority in how we design and deliver mainstream services and social programmes.

It's great to be featured alongside so many other amazing and industry changing startups. Enjoy reading!