Thank you for taking the time to read our 2022/23 Annual Report. We are a year further down our own route to change - and Routes To Work remains committed to working hard every day to transform lives.
Despite the continued challenges of Brexit, the aftermath of Covid and the harsh realities of the cost of living crisis, our exceptional staff and supportive stakeholders remained flexible and ready to serve the North Lanarkshire community.
Similarly, North Lanarkshire Council’s continued support and faith in Routes To Work to deliver as one of their Arm’s Length External Organisations has helped us keep making life-changing impacts and, yet again, offer an exceptionally strong return on investment.
We massively appreciate the council’s involvement and the attention and care they give to Routes To Work. They unequivocally remain a positive factor in our journey and have the best interests of Routes To Work at heart.
The changes aforementioned are not limited to those we see in wider society, the moment we’re in now is, without doubt, the time of greatest change in Routes To Work’s near-21-year history.
Staff working patterns have shifted, the pressures on our clients have been heightened and the way projects and programmes are designed and funded looks vastly different 12 months on.
This report shows a range of the challenges faced, but also lots of our outstanding successes, including powerful and moving examples from our clients, as we assisted 1,028 people into employment in 2022/23.
There is the remarkable tale of our 20,000th client - Catherine Scorgie - supported through the European Social Fund, the life-changing support Donna McCaul received through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the BOOST programme and the difference made to the life of Melissa Hanney and her daughter Lola through the Prospects For Parents initiative.
Elsewhere, the European Structural Fund helped Gary Swan get back on track after a brain injury and Estelle Davidson find her confidence again after a difficult time with her mental health, while Kate Carville was able to find a route back into work after being doorstepped by our incredible caseworkers in Airdrie.
A person-centred, focused approach is at the heart of everything we do - and that will not change despite the cultural challenges facing all of us.
Our dedicated, authentic and talented staff team ensure we live up to that ethos every day. Our admiration for them is enormous.
Change and transformation is under way, but it is not until 2023/24 that we’ll see the agenda be set for the next decade.
Everything that has happened in recent years has made things more difficult for everyone, and that’s something we’re seeing here at Routes to Work.
As we turn the page to a new chapter, local programmes will once again be pushed front and centre.
Projects engaging directly in communities across North Lanarkshire are vital - and our outreach work has proven massively successful in the past 12 months.
Moving forward, circumstances and challenges will continue to change and Routes To Work must - and will - retain its essence.
We have consistently been delivering for our community for over 20 years now - and this doesn’t happen by accident.
A committed team and strong leadership with a focus on people is enduring - and the most important aspect of our whole operation.
It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it.
This is, of course, about building special relationships between caseworkers and clients. We are determining futures and that continues to strike me.
Our magnificent 20,000th client celebration event at the New College Lanarkshire in Coatbridge last year brought that home to me once more.
We also learned a lot about our social value this year as we assessed the results of our Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of the West of Scotland. This partnership is helping us better understand and communicate, in doing so enabling us to measure our social value impact.
In turn, this will enable Routes To Work to stay ahead of the curve and add to our armoury as we seize opportunities for North Lanarkshire.
If we are to continue to deliver remarkable benefits to society - both in terms of the human and the economic impact - being flexible and proactive rather than reactive is vital.
Our small team makes a big difference; we know this because Social Value UK has independently assured our Routes To Impact framework.
Change is inevitable, but I am heartened to see our staff, clients and partners are embracing it.
Our focus now is to move forward with confidence, remember what got us to where we are and continue building a different and better Routes To Work and a stronger North Lanarkshire.
Here’s to another fruitful year ahead as we continue to stride forward with confidence.
Chairman, Routes To Work
With over 1,000 people assisted into work and many more positively influenced, it’s been another successful year and everyone at Routes To Work, together with our partners, should be applauded for their work, particularly with it all set against a challenging backdrop