Initiative Member Spotlight: Steve Baker, Development and Relationships Manager at inHope

Sam Harrison
Marketing Executive | Business West
10th January 2024

Every so often we like to shine the spotlight on our members, and in this case one of the members of the Bristol Initiative. We sat down with Steve Baker, to talk about his role as the Development and Relationships Manager at inHope and their relationship with the Bristol Initiative.

Sam Harrison: Tell us about your role – what do you have responsibility for? What does a typical day look like?

Steve Baker: I’m the Development and Relationship Manager at inHope, which means I have responsibility for the charity’s marketing and income generation.  As a member of the Senior Management Team, I also have responsibility for our people, including recruitment, training and staff wellbeing.  

The five years I’ve been in the role have been a time of incredible change for inHope, which has included a rebrand, a pandemic and a cost of living crisis, all of which have massively shaped the size of the organisation and the nature of our work.  The charity has more than doubled in size in this time, as we have seen the levels of financial hardship and subsequent need for our services increase.  

InHope has multiple income streams so no two work days are the same.  I can be working with one of our fabulous Bristol business partners one day, writing a grant application the next and taking a school assembly about poverty the day after that.  The golden thread that runs through all of my work is that of building partnerships – working with people, businesses and organisations who want to change Bristol for the better.  

SH: What does your organisation do? Why do you like working for them? 

SB: Since the late 1980s inHope has supported people experiencing hunger, abuse, homelessness and addiction in Bristol.  We are a Christian charity, started by local churches, but now working in partnership with businesses, schools, universities, trusts and foundations.  Today, the charity employs 45 staff, supported by over 350 fantastic volunteers.  Together, we have a vision of communities where everybody can reach their God-given potential, free from injustice and insecurity.  

The charity’s services provide practical support (food, clothes etc), offer shelter (including a women’s night shelter), teach life skills and support people to access housing. Our engagement workers support people with issues like benefits whilst also signposting them to health and financial support.  We help people with their employability including through setting up work placements with our business partners.  

Within Bristol, inHope plays the crucial role of providing emergency support for people at their point of crisis.  We served 23,209 hot meals last year, whilst also giving 7,175 people emergency food parcels through our foodbank.  Having supported people through their crisis, we then work in partnership with other organisations, including Bristol City Council, commissioned services, partner charities and businesses to help people navigate the support they need to move away from poverty.  

SH: Why have you joined the Bristol Initiative?

SB: Many of the insecurities that inHope’s clients experience can only be fully addressed through partnership.  Issues like homelessness, food poverty, addiction, abuse or mental health cannot be tackled by any one organisation, or even any one sector.  A collaborative response is needed between charities, businesses, governments and others.  By joining the Bristol Initiative, inHope is seeking to be proactive in its collaboration with businesses across the city.  

We know from our current business partners that there is a great willingness to tackle deprivation in Bristol.  Many businesses allow their staff to spend a day volunteering with us, including through serving food, organising warehouses, whilst other businesses run workplace fundraising activities, donate financially or organise food collections.  However, we are also aware that businesses could use their own expertise and skills, such as marketing, ICT, or healthcare healthcare to make a difference.  By joining the Initiative, we hope to be proactive in starting conversations that enable this to happen!  

The opportunity to learn from others was also an important reason for joining the Initiative.  The variety of events and discussions offered by the initiative inspired us to want to contribute, enabling the voice of the people we support to be heard.  

SH: What are the key agendas that you’re looking forward to getting involved with?

SB: InHope exists to alleviate poverty and insecurity in Bristol, so we’re looking forward to getting involved in the Initiative’s agenda of tackling deprivation.  Too many people in Bristol are living with insecure or unsuitable housing, homelessness or struggling with the cost of living crisis.  Whilst inHope’s services tackle the symptoms of these insecurities, we want to be more active in influencing decision makers to address some of the root causes. 

We’d love to talk more with any business who want to get involved with our services on a practical level – whether through corporate volunteering, fundraising, pro-bono support or helping our services in other ways.  

We’re also really keen to support our clients with their employability.  Some of our clients, are ready to take their first steps into employment, but are often anxious or uncertain about doing so.  Last year we have worked in partnership with a couple of businesses who have offered work placements for our clients – one of whom has progressed into permanent employment.  We’d like to have conversations with any business who are interested in working with us in this way, or who have other ideas about how they could support our clients into work.  

SH: Where is your favourite place to visit in Bristol?

SB: As it’s the home of Bristol City and the Bristol Bears, the answer has to be Ashton Gate!  I dread to think how much time I’ve spent there over many years, and although it’s brought me many disappointments, it’s also been the location of some of the happiest moments of my life!

You can follow InHope's work on LinkedIn and Twitter. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn

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