The Fire Within

Guest blog by Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland

 

This morning I was lucky enough to attend the launch of Scotland’s Fire Starter Festival: ‘a series of collaborative learning events, illuminating creative, disruptive and innovative ways in which we can all transform ourselves, our organisations and the wider system’. Although still a relatively new event, it has grown rapidly in content and profile. This was underlined when Nicola Sturgeon gave the opening speech, emphasising high quality public services and community engagement.


The event then took an unusual turn as we were invited to put on headphones for the ‘silent launch’. As someone who has watched W1A, my first thoughts were of the creative PR agency Perfect Curve. However, my anxiety was unjustified and it was a refreshingly different experience to listen to inspiring speakers whilst wandering around the exhibits of Kelvingrove museum.

FSF launch 2

We are lucky to have passionate leaders like Kate Polson, chief executive of Rock Trust. She spoke of the aim to end youth homelessness in Scotland within the next 10 years – not just a vague ambition but a concrete plan to do herself out of a job. Other contributors spoke movingly of their own struggles to overcome adversity and their subsequent determination to give something back so today’s young people have better chances than they did.

 

The final thought-provoking input was from Fiona Duncan, CEO of Corra Foundation and independent chair of the Care Review. She considered how the perception of a ‘fire starter’ shifts with age. A middle aged fire starter is someone who challenges the system and hasn’t lost the spark of youth but a young fire starter might simply be viewed as idealistic or abrasive.

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Fiona talked explicitly about power and how we need to challenge the established rules, systems and language if we really want to shift the balance in favour of the people we are aiming to support. In the Year of Young People these are powerful messages for all of us to continually challenge ourselves if we are to truly transform the lives of Scotland’s most disadvantaged children.

 

This blog was originally published on Barnardo’s website.

“I Know Your Dad Isn’t Really With Us”

As 30 May – 4 June is Dementia Awareness Week in Scotland, Karen Lawson, Programme Lead for our Pioneering Collaborative Leadership Programme, wanted to share her own experiences of dementia care, and reflect on what this means for how we can approach public services in Scotland.

 

“I know your Dad isn’t really with us.”

dementia blog1These were the words my cousin wrote to me in relation to my dad and his dementia. Of course, I knew what she meant, but it doesn’t really convey the complexity of what life is like for my dad or the changing relationship of those who are close to someone with dementia.

This is Dementia Awareness week, so I thought I would share a personal story that I hope conveys that each person who has dementia is unique and needs support and care tailored to their individual strengths, interests and needs.

Bring Yourself to Work

#BringYourselfToWork

 

What does it mean to Bring Yourself to Work (BYTW)? Surely, that’s something we all do every working day?

 

Or is it? We may bring our bodies and our minds to work, but many of us find it difficult to truly be ourselves in the workplace. Working conditions and workplace cultures vary hugely but in the majority of work settings there are rules, implicit and explicit, that we often find ourselves conforming to that can make it difficult to be our best selves, the people we aspire to be.