It has become somewhat of a tradition for the CEO of MacIntyre to write the end of year Great Interactions blog, reflecting on the past year. This is my first one since taking up the post of CEO formally in January 2016 and to be honest I was daunted by the task. Daunted because I have a hard act to follow as without exception the Monday morning Great Interactions blog, for me has been one of the weekly highlights. Each and every one blog has been written so well and profoundly depicts all that is important to us and all that makes MacIntyre unique. The most daunting of tasks however is to condense my reflections of such a remarkable year in one blog! So here goes…..
I am proud to have been appointed as MacIntyre’s Chief Executive, at a time when we were launching our 2016 strategy and celebrating our Jubilee Year. We kicked off the year by producing MacIntyre memories http://macintyrememories.org an interactive website that looks back over the last 50 years with news clippings, articles, photographs, videos and memories of people and friends present and past – a real trip down memory lane.
We attended the London Gala Ball where after weeks of practice Jo and Katherine performed amazing dance routines on centre stage with their professional dance partners
Many people up and down the country contributed to tea party weekends and “Go Purple” days and in recent weeks we have held our first fashion show and enjoyed a night of entertainment at our jubilee variety show all of which have raised funds for local projects.
These celebrations have been a testament to MacIntyre and our rich heritage. We have achieved so much over the past fifty years, all made possible because of the people involved and because of the distinctive characteristics that define everything that we do. These characteristics are today embedded in MacIntyre’s DNA, a value base that has Great Interactions and Person Centred Approaches at its heart. Behaving in a facilitative way and being person centred in our approach enables us all to develop relationships that are warm, kind, respectful and equal, and it is the richness of these relationships that is so uplifting especially against a challenging social care backdrop.
Pictures tell a great story and this was certainly the case for the wonderful Great Interactions book. This book and the associated photography exhibition launched this year were the culmination of an extraordinary two year project undertaken by the award winning photographer Polly Braden, portraying stories and pictures that captured everyday moments, warm and reciprocal relationships and achievements that challenge outdated representations of disabled people. The exhibition, with text from the book, was featured in the Guardian supplement and is now touring key areas across the organisation. Pictures from the book can also be viewed at the Central office and at Great Holm and are available for all to view when visiting.
We can all be proud of the catalyst role that MacIntyre takes to ensure that strong and fruitful relationships and friendships extend beyond the MacIntyre “bubble” to families, neighbours and wider communities. This is all so evident in Warrington where our community café is at the heart of the local community and where local people who have dementia their friends and families can meet at the new memory café. The Garden Enterprise goes from strength to strength as does the Shared Lives project. The volunteering project undertaken by the Duke of Edinburgh group contributed to them achieving their GOLD ward this year, an achievement captured by the group in their home made video that I was lucky enough to view at a recent unveiling – Buckingham Palace here they come!
I took the plunge and attended the “The Big Hike” this year and witnessed first-hand the strength of the relationships that exist between all those who joined the Hike. The power that these relationships have to encourage, to help push personal boundaries and to keep each other going when the going gets tough was truly remarkable. I have to admit that I was only able to walk on one of the days so I remain in awe of all those who persevered in the rain, wind and cold to walk and camp for an additional six days. This is a wonderful complete outdoor experience and I would urge others to join up for 2017.
The Roadshows are always a great showcase for sharing the very best of what we do and an opportunity to celebrate the rich networks of relationships and connections that exist up and down the country. This year did not disappoint with over 800 people coming together over two days in Warrington and Towcester. If you were not able to attend and have not yet seen the videos here they are:
These stories depict why Macintyre is so unique and all showcase the warm and rich friendships that have been forged up and down the country. Please do continue to read the weekly Great Interactions blog and to read the news feed on the MacIntyre website http://www.macintyrecharity.org/
To finish I would like to thank everyone who has made this landmark year such a success and by extending these thanks to everyone connected to MacIntyre for their vision, resilience warmth and commitment. Our current success is down to our people and I am confident we have a great network and many friendships that will set the scene for the next fifty years.