Paula being the voice of Future Directions

17th October 2017 |

Today I gave a Keynote speech at the ACEVO Health and Social Care Special Interest Group in Manchester. I was amongst some of the most expert speakers discussing topics for the wider health and social care community in the country. The theme of the forum was From Rhetoric to Reality: Making a Difference to Health and Social Care. My speech was to finish the conference, as Future Directions was deemed to be an organisation who could show how we had put 'rhetoric into reality'. Our work is finally being recognised by winning awards etc and I was going to put into words our journey, from the start to the present day.

Whilst being absolutely bowled over at being asked to give such a speech, with no exaggeration I was somewhat nervous. The public speaking was fine, as MD of such a fantastic organisation as Future Directions, I do this with ease, what we do encompasses everything I believe, so I can talk at length about our achievements. The difficult part was sitting down and reflecting on some the negative times when setting up a CIC, from our origin as a subsidiary of Calderstones NHS Trust, to our evolution into a fully fledged CIC with 750 staff providing care and support to over 350 people with complex needs across 70 locations in the North West.

I found the writing very therapeutic from the point of view that, day to day we are often dealing with here and now, or planning for the future but it was really positive to take time out to just reflect on how far we have come, how despite the cuts to the sector and the changes with 'sleep ins' etc, we have managed to pay back our loan of £1.6 million, clear our negative balance, double in size and I had chance to reflect on what made this all possible. It was embedding values at level of organisation, practising active and visible leadership at every level, being creative about developing new business models, using social media to communicate externally what we are about and internally to build sense of purpose and most of all learning from our mistakes.

The journey hasn't always been easy but where we are at present is pretty spectacular, we are living out our values each and every day. The people we support are at the forefront of everything we do, they are Future Directions. So in reflection of whether I have enjoyed the task of closing the conference with my speech, I'd say a resounding yes, it has been a brilliant experience. I'd like to thank all of my fellow speakers:

Steve James - CEO,Avenues Group (Chair)

Vicky Browning - CEO, ACEVO

Jamie Foster - Corporate and Commercial Partner, Hempsons

Aimie Cole - Consultant, Richmond Group

Dr Tim Cockle - Head of Digital Strategy, Eduserv

Sally Gretton - Head of Area (Yorkshire & Humber/North East), Skills for Care

Gill Hall - Partner, Hempsons

Anthony Kealy - National Programme Director, Better Care Fund

Rhodri Davies - Programme Leader, Charities Aid Foundation

Gary Wallace - Public Health Specialist, Plymouth Council

It was a pleasure to be in your company and listen to the amazing work and changes taking place in Health and Social Care, I am proud to be part of this amazing community.

I'll leave you with the following:

'One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals' Michael Korda


At Future Directions, we keep going, we strive for greater goals each and every day.

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