Last week I went to a very special celebration – an evening of mixed emotions, pride and sadness mingled together. I’d been invited by colleagues in Powys to join them in marking the end of their time with MacIntyre before they transfer over to new providers, the result of a recent tender exercise in which we had sadly been unsuccessful. A similar tender exercise in Hampshire means we will also be saying goodbye to The Summit in Eastleigh.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but what I experienced will stay with me for a long time. Over 70 people gathered together in a local pub restaurant to enjoy a sit down carvery meal, followed by live entertainment with a sing along.
I’m afraid we slip all too easily into the lazy shorthand of defining people by their roles; we are each of us supposed to fit neatly into one category or another, to be staff, or people we support, or families, or other professionals, or members of the wider community. However, last Wednesday I would have been hard pressed to make such distinctions even if I had wanted to, as everyone came together with one aim – to celebrate and mark the end of an era. It was clear to me that everyone had a reason to be there, everyone had played a part in MacIntyre’s story in Powys over the last couple of decades and everyone had a story to share about what they felt was so special about being part of MacIntyre.
I saw everything that makes MacIntyre an organisation I am so proud to be a part of. I saw people in mutually respectful relationships where everyone is valued and everyone is supported to fully participate. It was obvious that people were enjoying long term connections with their local communities where they are full active citizens with meaningful valued roles. We talk about Great Interactions and People Plus as an integral part of what MacIntyre is and that evening in Powys I could see first-hand the outcomes of that way of working – lives enriched and personal ambition stretched.
There was anxiety about the future of course and concern about no longer being with MacIntyre – my response to that was and is to say that MacIntyre is people, people like me and you. What we know, believe in, learn and put into practice is within our control, we are each responsible for our own behaviour and “it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it” will stay with every one of us as a core belief forever.
So while I am sadder than I can express to say goodbye to our colleagues and everyone else connected to us over the years in Powys – and at The Summit in Eastleigh – I have faith that people can draw on that experience and continue to achieve great outcomes for all. It has been MacIntyre’s privilege to have such outcomes achieved under the charity’s banner and so as I said at the beginning it is with a mixture of pride and sadness that we find ourselves having to say farewell.
Director, Adult Services