Chief Executive Blog: October 2014
The edges of Autumn/Winter are certainly upon us. We had the heating on in our new offices the other day.
Yes you heard right, our NEW offices.
After nearly three years of ‘squatting’ within Victim Support’s Victim Care Unit, we have moved to our own space further down the road and its fantastic! Located at the very bottom of the main shopping alley, just over Deansgate, our new space allows us the privacy of our own space and ability to house all our services under one roof. The Safe Room has moved location too and the two groups are settling down into the new premises perfectly.
As our new Group Room fits approx. 10-15 people, we will soon be delivering our training programme, looking at issues such as ‘Working with Male Survivors’; ‘From Report to Court – Understanding the Process’; ‘Vicarious Trauma – Staying Safe’; and ‘Male Rape – The Unspoken Truth’. We are so excited about this and look forward to welcoming you to our premises.
Moving has been a key moment in life over the past few months but it hasn’t been the only one. We have had a few months of packed moments.
To begin with, as part of the Spirit of Manchester Awards Festival, we held our first ever public event with the #breakthesilence Exhibition. Opened by James Sutton, Hollyoaks’ John Paul McQueen, the preview event was a huge success with everyone talking about the importance of our work and how they want to support it. We couldn’t have pulled off such a fantastic event without the best designers in the world, JAM Creative. Dave, Rich and the team made the Virgin Money Lounge space on King Street look absolutely amazing!
The same week we opened the exhibition as part of the Spirit of Manchester Awards Festival, for which we were nominated for Best Campaign, we bloody WON! It was a such surprise. Our Project Worker Danny, graciously accepted the award from the Lord Mayor of Manchester.
A week later, at a swanky London venue, our Safer Streets project won the National No Offence Justice and Redemption Award for Partnership working. Our partners attended on our behalf and by all accounts, the black tie event was wonderful.
Then to top off the awards run, I was personally honoured to be given the LGF’s HomoHero Award for Outstanding Contribution to the LGBT Community for my work with male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. It was a huge shock but a great honour to receive, particularly as it had come from my peers.
It really feels like all the hard work is being recognised and the effort the team is putting in is changing lives. Any Third Sector CEO knows that the success of an organisation rests largely only the strength of the team delivering services and I can honestly say that it is a real honour to work with my whole team. The group, run by Danny, is going from strength to strength and he is just in the main throw of developing our ‘No Appointment Necessary’ sessions (taking place Thursday’s from 1pm – 4pm).
Tom is working hard with our new volunteer, Counselling Psychologist Trainee – Glenn, on the Group Therapy pilot that will begin in November and Ian W is continuing to volunteer his therapy services for 1:1.
Our ISVA Ian is taking the criminal justice support service from strength to strength with over 25 individuals now getting support through the court process.
Our Admin Intern, Keith, has been busy helping input all our data into our system in order for us to be able to produce accurate performance reports for our funders.
The fantastic Safer Streets Volunteers, Donna, Andy, Edd, and Lee have been pounding the streets in all weathers and providing some great interventions to young people in identified problem areas and safeguarding a number of young boys.
Having such a strong team behind me makes my job much easier and enables me to take on the challenges of keeping the needs of boys and men as victims of sexual violation on the agenda at a local and national level.
Over the next six months, I have a mammoth task of ensuring that we can secure enough funds to keep the service delivery at the same level, if not increased, to meet the ever growing demand. As the repercussions of the latest high profile cases are felt and more silent survivors are finding a way to speak out and ask for help, we must ensure that locally, we are there to provide that support.
We will continue to pressure decision makers in to formally recognising the needs of boys and men and we will support our colleagues in other services to make sure the services for girls and women are not squeezed any further; we will work with the authorities to help those that want to report do it in a way that they feel supported and their welfare is at the heart of any decisions made; and we will continue to support the families and friends of survivors to ensure that the support network is holistic.
I would like to thank everyone that has helped us along on our journey over the last few years, this really is a team effort.
Chief Executive Officer