The Finnish Blue Ribbon, an umbrella organization of just over 100 member associations helps people who are facing difficulties in their lives.
The specific expertise of the organization and its 100 plus member associations, operating all over Finland, lies in substance abuse and gambling problems, addictions, mental health problems, long-term homelessness, and social engagement.
Our understanding of the concept of human
The Finnish Blue Ribbon’s activities are based on Christian views of humans, which see everyone as having equal value. Failures and difficulties are part of being human. And so is not having to deal with them alone.
It’s important to us that everyone has the right to hope, mercy and grace.
The purpose of the Finnish Blue Ribbon is to enable even those living in exceptionally difficult circumstances to trust in and look towards the future.
The Finnish Blue Ribbon’s vision is one of a fair society, and that everyone able to participate in its positive development.
The Finnish Blue Ribbon’s strategy has four pillars: helping people, supporting organizations, societal impact, and internal development.
Helping people is at the core of the strategy. It is also the aim of the activities of supporting organizations and societal impact, and the internal development of the Finnish Blue Ribbon paves the way for it.
1. Helping people
The lives of the people we will reach during the strategy period are overshadowed by poverty, which is becoming more common and having a deeper impact; a shortage of support service resources; an increasing supply of addictive substances and easier access to gambling; and the persistence of long-term unemployment. Many people begin their pursuit of well-being from a disadvantageous starting point, and for some, this is because of problems passed down from former generations.
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic made already challenging situations even more difficult. Our task is to help those who find it difficult to access services and support in other places.
We will help those who find it hard to trust themselves, other people, institutions, or the future. Those whose trust has been crushed because of things in their own lives or in the lives of their close ones; things such as unfair life circumstances, mistreatment, perceived failures, and stigmatization.
Our task is to develop and provide the right help and to increase and strengthen trust. All people are individuals, and they all have their own stories. Help is only useful when it is born from genuinely listening to and accepting people, and fully responding to their needs in a human-centred way.
Trust is built through human contact, co-operation and interaction; when people are treated with respect rather than indifference, belittlement or rejection.
Our strategy’s promise: We are ready to help those whom other services have excluded and who have lost their trust and confidence and confidence; to show them respect; to strengthen their trust and confidence and to find solutions to their problems.
How will we know if our strategy has succeeded? We will assess our customers’ trust and confidence to determine whether it has improved.
2. Supporting organizations
The operating environments of the Finnish Blue Ribbon’s member associations will be affected by major reforms during the strategy period, such as the launch of the new system of wellbeing services counties, changes in employment services, and the renewal of the funding system of the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA).
At the Finnish Blue Ribbon, we work to ensure that, regardless of all these changes, our member associations can still reach and support those living in exceptionally difficult circumstances and help rebuild their trust.
When those who have lost their faith begin to trust others and the institutions of society again, society as a whole becomes more stable and starts to thrive. One positive side effect of this is that it gives our member associations the role of peacekeepers in society.
We will specifically strengthen our member associations’ capacity to carry out low-threshold, long-term relief work. Building trust and capacity requires supportive encounters, meaningful communities, and enough time; trust doesn´t grow in rapid and detached services.
Day centres, meeting places, low-threshold activities, and employment measures are thus particularly important for supporting citizens who lack trust. To provide these, our member associations can put their specific strengths to use, that is, their ability to combine professional expertise, peer support and voluntary work.
Our strategy’s promise: We will support our member associations in the changes they are undergoing, and will work towards enabling them to offer long-term, low-threshold activities and meaningful communities.
How will we know if our strategy has succeeded? We will assess the development of our member associations’ activities and how they perceive the support we give them.
3. Societal impact
During the strategy period, structures and services are being renewed in an unprecendented way, as the new wellbeing services counties begin their operations. Our task is to make the voices of the people we reach heard in the discussion on the future, as they often lack the resources and channels to defend their rights. Our task is also to strengthen their voices, to encourage them to use their voices themselves, and if necessary, to act as their voice.
Together with our partners, we will influence legislation, services, prevention work, the reduction of disadvantage, and the allocation of funding. Decision-making must be based on fairness to all citizens; the power of the future must not be concentrated in the hands of the strong and prosperous. Services must be made accessible: also to those whose agency is limited by scarcity, shame, chaotic everyday life, and mistrust.
We will build a bridge over the empathy gap that has formed in society – the reluctance to empathize with certain groups of people. As this empathy gap is partly caused by the idea that some people have caused their problems by their own actions, we will explain the multiple paths that people take to end up in such difficult life circumstances, and how mistreatment, hostile attitudes, and inaccessible services have steered them onto these paths.
But as the empathy gap is also linked to experiential distance, to alienation from other people’s lives and from everyday routines, we will bring these lives and everyday routines closer again by listening to and respecting the voices of the people we reach and by passing them on. Toivo (Hope), our online media, will be our main tool for bridging the empathy gap.
Our strategy’s promise: We will work for the rights of the people we reach, together with them when possible; and strengthen our influence partnerships. We will influence laws, services and attitudes, and we will bridge the empathy gap.
How will we know if our strategy has succeeded? We will assess the outputs and collaboration of our strategic influence.
4. Internal development
The Finnish Blue Ribbon’s activities are based on work done by people. We will reinforce our strengths as a work community and make the Finnish Blue Ribbon an even better workplace.
We will ensure that we continue to have skilled, enthusiastic, committed, and healthy and happy employees, who all contribute to developing the Finnish Blue Ribbon. We want to be an organization of trust, because trust enables a safe, courageous work community as well as continuous learning and innovation. We value our employees and have faith in their professional skills and desire to share their expertise and ideas to improve our organization.
By fostering a climate of trust, we will support constructive interaction, the respect of unconventional ideas, and the courage to disagree and raise concerns. We will invest in transparent decision-making and internal communication, and in building a sense of belonging in our work community.
We want to be an organization that learns and innovates. Innovation is based on humility, curiosity and trust, daring to look at things in new ways, and exposing new proposals to the scrutiny of others. We are not afraid of incompleteness, nor of making mistakes.
Our strategy’s promise: We will strengthen and develop the Finnish Blue Ribbon and ensure that it is a safe, courageous work community that is open to learning more.
How will we know if our strategy has succeeded? We will assess how our staff perceives the Finnish Blue Ribbon as a workplace.