Planting dreams, aspirations and hopes from the Action Towards Inclusion Programme

Planting dreams, aspirations and hopes from the Action Towards Inclusion Programme


Following the project’s end on 31st March this year, it’s finally time to say goodbye to Action Towards Inclusion, celebrate six successful years, and make good on our green-fingered promises here at Better Connect.

Throughout ATI, our partnership has supported those furthest from the labour market traverse a range of barriers to employment and education, including qualification/skills gaps, mental and physical health challenges, caring duties, and various difficult personal circumstances.

Three districts (York, North Yorkshire, East Riding) and a dedicated partnership later, the project has helped over 2000 individuals find support, financial security, jobs they love, and for some, the drive to start their own businesses. We’ve heard first-hand accounts of how the project has benefitted people like Ian, Harry and Lucy, and our celebration event in October 2022 gave voice to keyworkers, intervention partners, and ATI participants alike as they celebrated stories, and shared anticipatory hopes for future projects. You can watch footage of the celebration event here.

Those who attended the event will remember the autumnal tree we created, expertly constructed by our team across several team-days from a bird table, some wire, and a multitude of leaves. But the tree wasn’t just there to mark the new season, we created it to symbolise our partnership- Better Connect as the roots, the partnership as the branches, and the blooms and buds – our participants. Christine, our Participant Experience Manager, spoke beautifully about this symbol:

‘’Like a tree, the ATI programme has grown stronger year after year, and this is because of the strength of the relationships and the partnerships that make the whole. Working together day in day out, feeding information and nourishment back and forth, from the roots to the tips (…)’’

We invited attendees to ‘nourish’ the tree with their own hopes, wishes, and celebratory statements. We placed seed paper in the shape of leaves in the middle of every table at the celebration and asked that everyone made a comment about what the project had meant to them, and what we could carry forth into future programmes. We then asked that they each hung their leaves on the tree, so we could later collect, plant and water them.

Fast-forward to our March team day, and we did just that, the seed paper has been planted and the hopes and celebrations are taking root in Chain Lane’s soil. Come late spring, we’ll have buds – and more than likely, some exciting updates about future projects. Stay-tuned for any horticultural developments.


Here is one last, huge thank you to everyone who has been involved on ATI. What a wonderful 6 years!

Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Impact Coordinator

A keen storyteller & collaborator, Laura works alongside Hannah as the Impact Coordinator, where she measures and highlights the impact of Better Connect across its business, programmes, and partnerships. She does so by working with a range of people to gather information and stories, which she then translates into engaging content across Better Connect’s channels.

Building relationships and networks is a large part of Laura’s role, alongside ensuring the ‘’Better Connect story’’ is woven throughout all communications.

Laura’s favourite part of the role is connecting with the faces behind the case studies and giving voice to their experiences.

Learn more about Laura