Longleigh Lockdown Stories: Imagineer Lockdown Stories

Imagineer Lockdown Story Image

We’re back with another Longleigh Lockdown Story and this time it’s over to Liz, Founder & Managing Director at Imagineer.

Since March, when we all went into Lockdown, I’m sure that, like us, you’ve heard lots of positive noises about how society can be kinder, more neighbourly, less judgemental. Well, it seems that we’re now seeing our political leaders forget that rhetoric and it’s back to combative and uncooperative ways. It’s not covering them in glory really, is it?!

So, in this Lockdown Story, you’ll hear from Liz, someone who really does care about helping shape a fairer and kinder society for all and is working, through her enterprise, to enable this to happen.

Please do share this story… let’s face it, there’s a lot people who need to hear it.

Human Kind – be both!

A little insight into who and what Imagineer does!

“I am Liz Leach Murphy.  I founded Imagineer in 2010 and since that time I have been the Managing Director.  Imaginer is a Social Enterprise with the mission of facilitating a fairer society that supports each person’s voice to be heard and for their aspirations to be fulfilled.  Imagineer was born from the idea of offering Independent Support Brokerage and since then we have integrated a range of Strengths Based Approaches to our work, including Person Centred Planning, Asset Based Community Development, Local Area Coordination and Graphic Facilitation.”

The key challenges from lockdown

For the team at Imagineer the biggest challenge has been maintaining contact with the people we supported in person prior to the pandemic.  We were very used to working in a way where we had regular contact with people and where we would spend time with them in a place or space of their choosing. We have, since lock down, found ways of being able to maintain the support people have needed using online methods. 

As a team it has been challenging as we are used to working in the same space and being there for each other to talk through ideas and progress issues and concerns.  We found it difficult initially to adapt but we have found ways to offer each other this support whilst working from home.  We have caught up on the telephone regularly and used video tech to see each other on a regular basis.

Early on in the lockdown we were faced with the very real challenge of our own existence and future as an organisation.  We realised that we had to make some drastic changes to be able to sustain and survive through the pandemic.  We reduced the activity we offered significantly to enable us to focus on Support Brokerage and Training.  A positive result of this was the emergence of a new locally rooted Social Enterprise led by people with lived experience that took on the areas of work that we had to bring to a standstill.  Something good can come from every situation.

What the unexpected highlights have been

We have learnt that moving to online delivery has opened up the opportunity to reach more people on a much wider geographical landscape.  It has also enabled people, who would otherwise find the need to get to a location for a meeting challenging, to access discussions and meetings that they would not have been able to take part in prior to Covid 19.

We have found that people who hold the same values, interests and passions as ourselves are more able and available to meet to discuss ideas – which has broadened our network of connections.  These discussions have led to the development of new ideas and approaches which we are now pursuing collectively.

I have also found that as a team, and as a leader of that team, I have been much more focused on the wellbeing of the team.  As a leader I have always focused on a compassionate approach to the work we do together but recent events have made me reflect and I have realised that at times in the past I was far more focused on the task rather than the person completing that task.  Recent circumstances have meant we have become more aware of the overall wellbeing of the team and the people we support, we are much more open about talking about what is affecting us and how we are feeling. This dynamic in our conversations has strengthened us, as a team and as individuals.

Covid 19 has forced me and the team at times to have to stop, which has provided the space to get off the Hamster wheel and to take stock, reflect and form some clarity on the journey we are on.  Although the future looks uncertain, especially on an economic level, we feel equipped to embrace this challenge with clarity of vision and purpose.

What we’ve valued/found helpful from Longleigh, as a funder, during this time

As a funder Longleigh have been a huge source of support from the first moment of becoming involved with the Foundation as a project they support.  We appreciate the view that Longleigh take regarding recognising the difference we make as an organisation and the challenges we face in embedding this difference to create long term social change.  The support that Longleigh provides has increased during these difficult times regarding the flexibility of how the resource of the funding provided is utilised and when it is utilised. 

Longleigh has also been forward-thinking regarding what matters and what is important to organisations during challenging and unprecedented times. This has led to regular online get-togethers with other funded projects: a chance to share experiences, ideas, and resources, create a stronger network with those running other projects funded by Longleigh, and organising focused sessions on hot topics such a recruiting online, restructuring the delivery and being sustainable into the future. A huge thanks to Longleigh for providing the biggest source of support we have experienced during these challenging times.

What the hopes and aspirations are going forward

To be able to offer great support to our communities via the Support Brokerage model we deliver at Imagineer.  We hope to reach out and continue to build and strengthen the networks of people we have  made during the pandemic.  

We want to continue to embrace technology as the core way of communicating with people for ease and accessibility but we cannot wait to be able to see people in person again and catch up over a cuppa and biscuit.  We will continue to support people to have their voices heard and we aspire to lead and  influence change in the  health and social care system and the  welfare system.  As long as our actions remain purposeful, we will continue to be passionate about what we do. 

We also remain committed to the end of week treat, which usually involves coffee and cake!!

Our ‘calls to action’ for the decision-makers and/or funders in the charitable and/or public sector

We have lots of ‘calls to action’ to suggest, so we thought we’d make the most of the opportunity to let people know about them all!!


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