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IRISi thanks Donna Covey for her support, guidance and encouragement as Chair of the IRISi Board from 2017 to 2022; Daphne Amevenu takes on this role now to support the organisation in its next steps.


The IRISi journey started in 2017 when the social enterprise was formally established to improve the healthcare response to gender-based violence. At that moment, IRISi’s flagship programme, IRIS, was already running in a number of areas across the UK, but a more elaborated strategic plan was required to enable its sustainable expansion to more areas and to invest simultaneously in the development of new interventions. From that point onwards, two key players were important in advising and supporting IRISi to develop a solid ground basis for its growth: Donna Covey, Chair of the IRISi Board from 2017 to 2022; and the Health Foundation, which helped IRISi to develop the social franchise model for its interventions. Amid this partnership, IRISi was also lucky to cross paths with Daphne Amevenu, former Head of Improvement Programmes at the Health Foundation, who has been recently nominated as IRISi’s new Chair.

Donna was one of the group that created and established IRISi in 2017. Her experience in managing several third-sector organisations and her extensive knowledge of health, equality and human rights provided the IRISi management team with the necessary tools to enable its strategic expansion. At the end of 2022, looking back at all the achievements obtained through this partnership, they both reached a common agreement that it was time to celebrate and, also, bring in change. “We have much to thank Donna for, her time and dedication to IRISi. She supported and worked with us from the start, and collaborated with the development of the values that sustain our work and organisation to this day, and helped us to believe in our potential”, says Medina Johnson, IRISi’s CEO.

When the decision was announced internally, Daphne Amevenu, who had been already one of the trustees on IRISi’s Board Member since 2021, decided to apply for the role. With extensive experience in bringing innovative solutions to the healthcare sector, Daphne has an interest in mainstreaming diversity and inclusion across her work and has run various initiatives throughout her career to enable this. 

“My relationship with IRISi started whilst I was at the Health Foundation working as a Programme Manager and later Head of Improvement Programmes, and I had the chance to see that they were doing something incredibly important. I was impressed by their practical and impactful approach to tackling Domestic Abuse (DA) through GP appointments, a touch point that most people will have, especially victims and survivors of DA, to make sure that they can get the best support available”, Daphne remembers.

New Chair, new challenges to overcome

Having been involved with IRISi for so long, Daphne is familiar with the challenges and obstacles that the organisation will need to overcome in the short and long term. “IRISi is still in the early stages of its organisational journey and growth. I think this creates space to think, where appropriate and necessary, on how to professionalise and bring in new processes and procedures whilst keeping the heart of IRISi as a social-based organisation. Since I have a background in project management and business consulting, I believe that I can help achieve that, always bearing in mind that, ultimately, as an organisation, we should be focused on the beneficiaries of our interventions”, she says.

Having worked at the Health Foundation, Daphne also brings her experience in navigating the healthcare landscape, acknowledging that the times have become more challenging in the post-pandemic world. “With the introduction of the Integrated Care Boards and the changes recently brought into the healthcare system, there is a lot of uncertainty and pressure affecting healthcare operational and policy leaders. Despite these challenges, it is our role to keep raising awareness about IRISi’s interventions, reinforcing that their long-term benefits make them worth investing in today”.

Finally, Daphne will also be supporting IRISi with the development and implementation of a more robust Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy. “I much understand what it means, in different ways, to be in a minoritized group and the impact it has on how you navigate and experience life. So, I want to do as much as I can to make the world fairer for those most vulnerable and marginalized by society”.

“We are thrilled to have Daphne as our new Chair and know that she will be a positive driving force, enabling us to grow as an organisation and supporting us to achieve our strategic goals by bringing new perspectives and possibilities”, says Medina, IRISi’s CEO.

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The IRIS Programme provides specialist advocacy and support to patients registered at IRIS-trained practices who have experienced domestic abuse.

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Partners

AVA
AVA
AVA

AVA is an expert, groundbreaking and independent charity working across the UK.

Their vision is a world without gender based violence and abuse. They aim to  inspire innovation and collaboration and encourage and enable direct service providers to help end gender based violence and abuse particularly against women and girls.AVA’s work is focused around those areas where they can make the best contribution to ending violence and abuse. They do this by making sure that survivors get the help and support they need in the here and now, through providing innovative training that has a proven direct impact on the professional practice of people supporting survivors of violence and abuse

developing a range of toolkits, e-learning and other material that supports professionals to provide effective and appropriate support to survivors of violence and abuse

using our influence and networks to ensure survivors voices are heard. We work closely with AVA in many areas including the Pathfinder project

https://avaproject.org.uk

SafeLives
SafeLives
SafeLives

SafeLives are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving co-ordinated support annually. SafeLives are members of the Pathfinder consortium.

http://www.safelives.org.uk/about-us

IMKAAN
IMKAAN
IMKAAN

Imkaan is a UK-based, Black feminist organisation. We are the only national second-tier women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls i.e. women and girls which are defined in policy terms as Black and ‘Minority Ethnic’ (BME). The organisation holds nearly two decades of experience of working around issues such as domestic violence, forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ violence.

They work at local, national and international level, and in partnership with a range of organisations, to improve policy and practice responses to Black and minoritised women and girls. Imkaan works with it’s members to represent the expertise and perspectives of frontline, specialist and dedicated Black and minoritised women’s organisations that work to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. Imkaan delivers a unique package of support which includes: quality assurance; accredited training and peer education; sustainability support to frontline Black and minoritised organisations; and facilitation of space for community engagement and development. They are a part of the Pathfinder Consortium.

https://www.imkaan.org.uk

The University of Bristol CAPC
The University of Bristol CAPC
The University of Bristol CAPC

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research.  It is part of Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching.

A dedicated team of researchers at the Centre work on domestic abuse projects and IRISi is a co-collaborator and partner on some of these projects including ReProvide, HERA and DRiDVA.

The Health Foundation
The Health Foundation
The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. The Health Foundation’s Exploring Social Franchising programme aims to generate a deeper understanding of the potential of social franchising models for scaling effective health and social care interventions within the NHS.

We are one of four project teams participating in the programme to develop a social franchise to enable the sustainable spread of our intervention, the IRIS Programme. We receive funding and support from the Health Foundation, including technical expertise on social franchising, and attend programme learning events. The Health Foundation has also commissioned a programme-wide evaluation to support understanding of the use of social franchising in the UK health and care system. We and our franchisees will support the evaluation through co-designing data collection requirements, providing access to data as requested, hosting site visits and attending learning events.

https://www.health.org.uk

STADV
STADV
STADV

Standing Together Against Domestic Violence is a UK charity bringing communities together to end domestic abuse. They bring local services together to keep people safe

Most public services weren’t designed with domestic abuse in mind, and they often struggle to keep people safe. Poor communication and gaps between services put survivors at risk.

STADV aim to end domestic abuse by changing the way that local services respond to it. They do this through an approach that they pioneered, called the Coordinated Community Response. The Coordinated Community Response brings services together to ensure local systems truly keep survivors safe, hold abusers to account, and prevent domestic abuse.

Their model of a coordinated local partnership to tackle and ultimately prevent domestic violence is now widely accepted as best practice. They are also a part of the Pathfinder consortium.

http://www.standingtogether.org.uk

Spring Impact
Spring Impact
Spring Impact

Spring Impact is a not-for-profit social enterprise born out of the frustration of seeing social organisations constantly reinventing the wheel and wasting scarce resources. Spring Impact uses a combination of tested commercial and social principles and extensive practical expertise to support organisations to identify, design and implement the right social replication model to scale their social impact.

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