Towards 2021: Alan Jefferson's Message (07 January 2021)

7th January 2021 |

A great deal has already been asked of you – and you have responded magnificently

A very Happy New Year to each of you from myself and the members of Future Directions Board. Let's hope that 2021 proves to be a much better year than 2020!

Unfortunately, the year has not got off to a good start has it? The daily news appears to get more gloomy with every day that passes and our Prime Minister has been telling us that in order to control the spread of the virus, things will need to get tougher before they improve as the vaccines roll out. Indeed, in the middle of me writing this, he announced the latest lockdown arrangements. A great deal has already been asked of you - and you have responded magnificently - but it looks as though the pressure is going to continue for a while yet.

I know that many of you are tired from 'going the extra mile' day in and day out and anxious because of the risks that you have to take every day to provide good quality care to the people we support, and it pains me to think that you will need to continue to try to handle these pressures in order to carry on the good work for the foreseeable future.

I continue to be full of admiration for the things that you are achieving. The posts on Facebook that I have seen have demonstrated how much creativity and selfless effort went into ensuring that people had an exciting and rewarding Christmas. Paula's message last week referred to our CQC 'Outstanding' rating and the fact that the way you have responded to the demands of the pandemic has demonstrated how richly deserved this rating was.

I would like to echo those thoughts. As a former CQC Regional Director I know, first-hand, how high a standard must be achieved to get this rating. Furthermore, as some of you know, over the last 10 years since I retired from full-time work, I have done a lot of consultancy work with care services and this has brought me into contact with many different care settings. This has confirmed just how good the care that Future Directions provides is. Often, I have asked care providers about things that you would regard as completely the norm in your work and met with blank looks or incredulity that I would even suggest such a thing. For example, I recall a provider saying that there was no need to cover arrangements for holidays for his service users in his financial procedures because they wouldn't be having them!

Through your efforts the people we support have had experiences and achieved things that a few years ago people would have not thought possible. I am sure that this has often required a lot of effort on your part, but you made that commitment and as a result you have improved other people's lives. I hope that when you are tired, and it's been 'one of those days' you are able to gain some satisfaction from knowing this.

Finally, I want to emphasise the importance of looking after yourselves as well as looking after the people we support. Make time for yourselves and to be with your loved ones. Opportunities for enjoyment may be more limited at the moment (it's many years since I have been reduced to watching Jools Holland at midnight on New Year's Eve!) but there are still options. If things are getting a bit on top of you, don't bottle it up, talk to someone: to your manager, to a colleague or to someone outside of work. As my old granny used to tell me 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. Also, as I have said previously, if anyone has any bright ideas about how we can do things better, don't keep them to yourselves, tell one of us about your ideas.

Although times are tough at the moment, we need to hold on to the light at the end of the tunnel that the vaccine represents and to a time, hopefully in the not too distant future, when we can begin to live full and more normal lives again.

Keep well and safe and thank you again for all you are doing.

Kind Regards,

Alan Jefferson,
Chair of the Board,
Future Directions CIC.

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