Aspire’s Commitment to working within trauma informed care (TIC) and psychologically informed environment (PIE) approaches 

Adopting and working within TIC and PIE approaches will improve the psychological and emotional well-being of people accessing, or working in, Aspire’s services. This will be achieved through the TIC and PIE approaches’ consistent and effective application across the five key elements:  

  1. Relationships

  2. Colleague support and training

  3. The physical environment and social spaces

  4. A psychological framework

  5. Evidence generating practice

Building on the strong start and willingness to work within these related and complementary approaches at Aspire, we are now pledging to fulfil a commitment to resource and bring these approaches to life consistently and in accessible language across our organisation, so as to embed TIC and PIE approaches deeply and broadly in Aspire's working practices and culture. This will include a clear, written commitment published on the Aspire website.

We therefore commit to undertake the following activity to underpin the comprehensive adoption of TIC/PIE approaches in Aspire:

1. Relationships

A) To work within the empowering values and principles of The Aspire Journey with each other and with people accessing our services.

B) To use positive, affirming language in our communications which confirms, supports, uplifts and empathises with people.

C) To ensure our charity’s services, support and opportunities are accessible and easy to navigate for everyone, including by providing a central point of referral.

D) To adopt a strengths-based approach in our interactions with our colleagues and supported individuals, that is empowering, authentic and respectful. 

2. Colleague support and training

A) To take shared responsibility for creating a working environment and culture that promotes and prioritises care for the health, wellbeing and safety of Aspire colleagues. This in turn will enhance the ability of colleagues within Aspire, to provide the best possible service to the individuals it supports.

B) To practise this ‘culture of care’ throughout Aspire, with members of the senior management team and the Trustee Board taking particular responsibility to lead by example.

C) To provide a consistent, well-informed and welcoming induction experience for all new starters to Aspire, mirroring the empowering values and principles of The Aspire Journey.

D) To commit to a regular programme of TIC/PIE training at Aspire, as an integral professional development requirement for all colleagues at Aspire. 

E) To invest in a professional development programme for colleagues joining Aspire with lived experience, so that they can thrive and progress in the organisation. 

 3. The physical environment 

A) We commit to providing places of work – our main office and our hub spaces in communities – that are welcoming, comfortable, accessible and safe. These spaces will contribute positively towards Aspire colleagues’ and supported individuals’ sense of identity, worth, dignity and empowerment.  

B) We recognise that the physical environment we provide for colleagues of Aspire and the individuals Aspire supports has an impact on our attitude and mood; we need to design and maintain supportive and healing environments, particularly to reduce the risk of individuals supported by Aspire re-experiencing traumatisation.

C) Design guidelines in Aspire’s work spaces must follow the principles of trauma-informed design, on the use of aesthetics, art, colour, furniture, lighting, daylight, plants, spatial layout and visual interest.

D) By committing to this design approach, Aspire will: 

    1. reduce and remove known adverse stimuli and environmental stressors, 
    2. provide ways for the individuals we support to demonstrate their ability to do things for themselves, 
    3. provide and promote connectedness to the natural world, 
    4. separate an individual from others who may be in distress, 
    5. reinforce a sense of personal identity amongst the individuals we support, 
    6. promote the opportunity for choice, 
    7. while balancing programme needs and the safety & comfort of the majority.

4. A psychological framework

A) We will adopt guiding principles to use as a shared psychological framework, to enable our colleagues to have a shared understanding of, and response to, the people we support. This will be an extension of The Aspire Journey and will be built around the core principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment.

B) We acknowledge that Aspire becoming a trauma-informed organisation is a fluid, ongoing process, with no completion date; we will continuously work towards becoming an ever more ‘trauma-informed organisation’.

5. Evidence generating practice

A) We will prioritise evaluation approaches that help us to understand our projects’ outcomes, including by adopting a ‘storytelling’ methodology. This will enable colleagues and supported individuals of Aspire to evaluate their effectiveness, it will support Aspire’s ongoing service development, and it will enable Aspire to evidence the impact of our service.

B) We will adopt and embed reflective practice – for individuals and teams – to support our wellbeing in work and to help ensure the continuity and improvement of our services.

C) We acknowledge that embedding the unique experiences and perspectives of people with lived experience is vital if Aspire’s services are to truly represent the needs of the communities we are here to serve. This must include at a leadership level in Aspire; we will appoint a support-led advisory committee that will share its insights directly and regularly to the Board of Trustees. This will build on the learning from Oxfordshire’s Lived Experience Advisory Forum