More learning about Hope, Inner Journeys and Positive Safe Team Spaces – Best Culture Best Care

Ongoing reflections into the York Street Model

Recently John Walsh   (@johjnwalsh88)   and I got to present our work on the York Street Model of ‘ Best Culture Best Care’ at a safety conference in Maidstone in Kent. We were fortunate to work with some excellent  frontline staff throughout the day.

( If you are not familiar with our work on the origins of the York Street Model you can find a link here )

Watching the reactions of  staff as they explore the ideas behind the York Street Model is always fascinating and listening to the questions they posed  gave a great opportunity to reflect further upon how this work can help people and teams. Travelling home from Maidstone I realised that we needed  to adapt our language and explain the work  better. So some further  reflections.40093326_s

The initial work comes from the insights of working with two different clients groups in the NHS ( those experiencing homelessness in Leeds and NHS staff working in troubled teams).
In our initial work John and I realised that people in both groups were , to lesser or greater degree, undertaking or contemplating some type of personal  development work  . We initially named this as an ‘ inner journey ( which it seems it usually is ) however as I continue to work with frontline staff I realise that the term ‘ inner journey’ for some represents too much ‘psychobabble’.

 Personal development work is a forage  into our self , it represents  a journey. Personal development is a part of a natural process – life is a series of ongoing steps – it is a journey. The evolutionary psychologists map out for us the changes we make and must go through as we pass from birth to our elder years. At times personal development journeys can be hard and may be uncomfortable. As  we face the future we often realise that  we have to change at a personal level. Something has to be different for each of  us  to move forward. The alternative is to stay in the same place, static, inert … this is a choice


In terms of creating ‘best culture best care’ for each of us there is a  link to our own personal development journey. We  need to realise and  acknowledge that  our own state and stage of development is key to our work in teams. Team members are all different and are at different stages of development. Our own stage of development combined with our current circumstances come together and  form part of a team context. Our own journeys are about our wants, desires, needs, choices and our mindsets and the autonomy we have. All  of these things play into the our role as a team member. They are part of the culture which is created. So some questions to consider :

  •  As a team working together,  how aware are you  of the individual personal development issues each tm members  faces ?
  • Where and when are such things discussed and debated ?
  • Do we you want such discussions to be… team based , leader focused or private and individual ?
  • How tolerant and support of each other are you  as you each tread your own personal development journey ?
  • How do you  support each other to thrive ?


When I was little my mam used to ask me “what do you wish for ?”

That was easy I wished to be Nurse Nancy from the Twinkle (a children’s magazine in the 1970’s) . I can’t ever remember my mam asking me what I hoped for. 44It was only when I got to be Nurse Nancy that the role of hope became clearer to me.untitled It always seemed to be mentioned when patients faced adversity – chronic disease, a life changing event, a terminal illness. I had not questioned the role of hope much further until I began to work alongside NHS staff and teams in difficulty . And in this context I realised that in their darkest moments they reported that “things are just hopeless” Being without hope is awful. Working on the development of the York Street Model brought the important role of hope in our lives into clear focus. Many of us live with hope but how often do we talk of hope in our teams? ( and what of hope’s near neighbours our dreams ? ) It seems to me at the very core of our humanness we are all striving to be better, improved and perhaps the best version of our self.

So our hopes and dreams are important in the team context . Some questions in how this relates to best culture best care ….

  • What are you hopes and dreams and how do they fit with the contribution you make in your team ?
  • What are your collective team  hopes for the public you serve ?


As I observe people who want to know more about the York Street Model what strikes me is that without exception people understand the idea that we all need positive, safe spaces, both at work and at home. When discussed no faces twist , no arms fold and no eyes look to the floor. It seems we all understand the precious nature of a positive space in all walks of life .

For those people without a home the talk of a ‘ safe and positive’ space means a lot , and I have learned that if you are vulnerable in your team environment it means the same . We all strive to live as best we can , the physical and psychological value of a safe space seems to resonate with all and needs little explaining. What does need ongoing exploration is HOW we create positive and safe team spaces. And this quest goes on ….



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