Changing Futures Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

Changing Futures Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

During 2020 and 2021 local partners worked together to submit an Expression of Interest and Bid to the government’s national Changing Futures programme. You can find out more about our (unsuccessful) bid here.

Since then, with support from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Service Board (CPPSB), local partners have continued to work together on a locally-funded and supported programme. This is known as Changing Futures Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

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What is multiple disadvantage?

People are said to be in multiple disadvantaged when they experience at least three of the following five situations:

  • Homelessness Five petal flower logo
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Domestic abuse
  • Contact with the criminal justice system

The five areas of disadvantage led us to create a logo for the work – a flower with five overlapping petals, because the five issues often overlap in a person’s life.

Our local work is supported by the national Making Every Adult Matter team. Please follow this link to see a short video about the Making Every Adult Matter approach. You can find out more about our work across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough here– known as Counting Every Adult.

What is Changing Futures Cambridgeshire & Peterborough?

Changing Futures is about improving the outcomes for people with multiple disadvantage. This will be achieved by people with lived experience guiding professionals on how organisations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can work together more effectively and efficiently to tackle multiple disadvantage.

How is Changing Futures different?

Representatives from local authorities, public sector organisations and organisations from the voluntary sector are working together with people who have been through “the system”.

Building on the work already done by the Counting Every Adult team and the national MEAM programme in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the past ten years, we know that by working together barriers can be removed, support can be improved, better outcomes can be achieved for people with multiple disadvantage and organisations can work more efficiently.

With partner support, Changing Futures will focus on four action areas for organisations to listen, learn, tackle barriers and celebrate successes together to improve outcomes for individuals.

This means organisations will learn from people with lived experience and from each other – successes and failures – and will do all they can to avoid putting people through additional trauma as they try to tackle their challenges.

Changing Futures is not a challenge to or replacement for existing services. It is a tool to use for the issues and barriers existing services face, day-to-day. By creating a learning ecosystem, the plan is not to create a new team or service – rather, to help organisations and individuals work together better, learning how to overcome barriers and sharing successful approaches rather than having to re-invent them.

What will Changing Futures bring?

Changing Futures will enable co-production of better, more effective and more efficient systems – with people with lived experience involved in every aspect of the work and at all levels, over a period of three years. The four work areas are:

Embed the trusted person approach

    • The trusted person approach was developed with people with lived experience who described getting better outcomes by having to tell their story, needs and wishes to as few people as necessary.
    • The trusted person is empowered to act on this information or pass it on to the relevant services. They may or may not be providing support to the individual. Put simply, they are a person the individual can talk to and trust to share their story as needed.
    • For more on the approach and how it can work, please see this page.

Explore what trauma informed practice looks like for individuals using our system

    • Many organisations already make sure their staff are trained to take a trauma-informed approach. But there is more to being trauma informed than those individual conversations.
    • Each organisation needs to think about how people respond to the buildings and facilities on offer, and whether there is more to be done to ensure organisations help people share and overcome past traumas, not add to them.
    • This especially applies when a person has a number of issues – how can organisations minimize the trauma for individuals who are dealing with not one, but many organisations?
    • For more on becoming a trauma informed system, please see this page.

Establish mechanisms to support shared learning and address identified barriers

    • Changing Futures focuses on learning lessons, overcoming and removing barriers, and on sharing learning from each person’s experiences so others don’t have to solve the same problems over and over again.
    • To help with this flow of information, a simple governance structure has been devised along with a graphic setting out how we see the flow of information leading to learning, system change and overcoming the barriers faced by people in multiple disadvantage. We are calling this our “ecosystem of learning”.
    • To learn more, please see this page.

Embed co-production and co-design across the system

    • It’s crucial that this programme is centred on the experience of people who have been through multiple disadvantage.
    • To do this, we use co-production and co-design in all our activities and at all levels, supported by our “buddy system”.
    • We support co-production forums across the area, and system enquiries which focus on a particular topic bringing individuals with lived experience together with the organisations involved to explore the issues. These enquiries follow four stages: Build, Explore, Act and Learn.
    • For more on co-production and co-design please see this page.

Support has been committed & is building

Taking a lead from CPPSB, a range of partners have pledged to support Changing Futures Cambridgeshire & Peterborough either financially, in the form of staffing resource, or other contributions. Partners include…

  • Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre
  • Cambridge City Council
  • CGL (Change-Grow-Live)
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • CPSL Mind
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
  • Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Public Health
  • DWP and Jobcentre Plus Safeguarding team
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Ferry Project (Wisbech)
  • Fenland District Council
  • Housing Board for Cambridgeshire, Peterborough & West Suffolk
  • Huntingdonshire District Council
  • It Takes a City
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (Cambridgeshire & Peterborough)
  • Light Project Peterborough
  • Peterborough City Council
  • SUN network
  • Probation Service
  • Think Communities
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Women’s Aid

Materials & milestones

July 2022

September 2022

October 2022

November 2022

  • New groups forming with the help of existing groups, shaping a new way to share solutions and analyse barriers, as well as celebrate successes. These form part of the local “learning ecosystem”.
    • 1 Nov: first Peterborough Change Forum
    • 8 Nov: first North Operational Partnership (East Cambs and Fenland area)

December 2022

  • Recruited a new Trusted Person Coordinator to work in East Cambridgeshire and Fenland areas, alongside two existing co-ordinators.

January 2023

  • Third Strategic Board held, click here for a write-up and slides.
  • First North Change Forum held (East Cambs and Fenland area)

February 2023

April 2023

May 2023

  • National MEAM conference on 10th May. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough contribute to the day:
    • Robert Pollock joined the panel for the opening session, sharing his commitment to the MEAM agenda
    • We ran a workshop on our “ecosystem of learning” to colleagues from across the UK, gaining useful feedback on our approach
  • June 2023
  • Tactical Group meeting 15th June to develop our outcomes and fidelity model based on the programme’s 5 principles and 4 key actions. Link to the Miro board here (please note: work in progress)
  • Programme manager interviews held

July 2023

  • Tom Tallon recruited as programme manager.
  • Presented Changing Futures C&P to the Domestic Abuse and Housing day on 6th July, and to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Probation staff development day on 11th July.
  • Convened a Trauma Informed System workshop 12th July
  • One year on – the strategic board meets online 13th July – a note of the meeting is here.

September 2023


We have set up a calendar of Changing Futures events and meetings, click to open the calendar (updated late July 2023) – we will be adding more dates in future.

MEAM to help lay the foundations

The Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition was commissioned to work with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help to lay the foundations for its Changing Futures programme. MEAM has have worked closely with local partners for over ten years and appreciate partners’ commitment to develop local work on multiple disadvantage and build local learning.

The contract enabled MEAM to apply knowledge of multiple disadvantage and expertise in systems thinking to help shape the work of Changing Futures Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. They have focused on six strands of work taking a “system” rather than a managerial approach to the support provides. The works strands are:

  • Recruitment of programme lead
  • Programme team development
  • Programme infrastructure and system relationships
  • Establishing the vision and values of the programme
  • Creating and embedding a learning system
  • Supporting trauma-informed approaches

The work is being led by Carl Brown, who draws on his knowledge of the local history and policy/practice landscape, with other members of the national MEAM team available to support specific activity. MEAM welcomes input from interested partners from across the breadth and depth of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s services and systems so please feel free to contact Carl at

Photo of Carl Brown from MEAM
Photo of Carl Brown from MEAM

Carl: “We look forward to hearing from you and working with you to make Changing Futures Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a success.”

(added October 2022)


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