Reflections, Resolutions, and a Happy New Year from Better Connect!

Reflections, Resolutions, and a Happy New Year from Better Connect!


Happy New Year from all of us here at Better Connect!

Wondering what we’ve been up to over the last 365 days? With resolutions in full force, it’s only right that we share a few of our own after first recapping on some of our 2023 headliners, from programme closures to new launches, to even better connections across the year…

Last year we bade a bittersweet farewell to two of our much-loved programmes, Action Towards Inclusion (ATI)- a programme which supported over 3700 people to move closer to work and education, and Thriving at Work (TAW)- a programme which supported over 800 employers and employees in their journey towards thriving in the workplace.

Closures aside, we took the opportunity to evaluate the successes and challenges of our existing programme models, working closely with The ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health and Dr. Annie Irvine to co-author two research papers on the above programmes. The resulting research helped us shape the RISE programme and inspired the creation of the Peer Support Network, semi-regular partnership meetings which give our partners chance to connect, troubleshoot, and compare notes on the Keyworker experience. With only five months left of the programme, we’ve thus far facilitated two networks and the partnership have almost reached their target of collectively supporting 359 participants!

Not the only papers the team have co-authored across 2023, CEO Nastasha recently featured in Starfish’s ‘What3Words Leadership Locations Report’, whilst RISE Programme Manager Joe talked all things Better Connect in IEP’s December 2023 Journal (issue 10):


‘’Ultimately, our ambition is to help people overcome obstacles, get into a great job and continue getting help beyond this point, so that they can ultimately develop the resilience and wellbeing needed to stay, succeed and progress in employment.’’


At the beginning of last year, we also became partners on multi-million government-funded programme, Multiply, partnering with delivery organisations to help over 1900 adults become more numeracy literate across years 1 & 2 of the programme. You might remember we met Dan & David a while back and learnt how Coterminous were supporting them with budgeting and book-keeping.

There was plenty of organisational reshuffling across the year too, which saw our team transition into new roles and a couple of us, Charles & Sophia, sadly move on to new endeavours. Amongst these transitions, Emma stepped up as Business Development Manager and headed several bids across the year, including both Rise 2 Thrive West and North Yorkshire, a model which combines the best of our RISE and TAW delivery models.

We also saw the creation of our Impact Team, established to capture the impact and stories across our programmes, and help weave the Better Connect story more intentionally throughout our communications- particularly through the co-creation of our Impact Report with Research Retold. Download the link here if you’re yet to read it!

For Better Connect, 2023 was a fond one filled with plenty of transitions, development, and new programmes, one we concluded nicely with a bottomless brunch Christmas party.


But now, on to 2024, what are our resolutions?

  • Support thousands more individuals through our programmes
  • Develop the Peer Support Network further and across more of our programmes
  • Secure further funding so we can continue to create transformational programmes
  • Commit to capturing more participant stories & social value
  • Continue connecting with likeminded delivery and infrastructure organisations


Connect with us across our socials to follow us across 2024 and beyond!

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