Service Director Blog: June 2014
It’s been quite a while since I wrote my blog, in fact far too long (sorry). I had had this idea that I would sit down every 2 months and write down what has been and is happening within our little charity, so you know what we’re up to and how everything is going. But with so much happening since January, I’ve literally been paddling hard to keep our head above water and try and ensure that the organisation keeps running and delivering services.
Right this second, I’m sat on a train typing this (thanks to EE mobile Wi-Fi) from Edinburgh to Manchester after attending the 15th European Conference for EMDR – more on that later – and am thinking to myself “f%!&@#?g &@%l, how have we managed to do that and still be here?”
Well i’m so glad we are and here’s a run dowpn of what has been happening behid the scenes.
To begin with, there’s been significant changes within the team with a few goodbyes but more hellos.
I am so lucky to have such an amazing team, both staff and volunteers, behind me. With Tom as my Clinical Lead and Danny as my Project Worker, I’m more than confident that the guys that come for support are absolutely in the most safe and supportive hands possible; and then with Trainee Counselling Psychologist, Adam, and our newsest volunteer counsellor, Ian, the therapy team is really strong. Soon it will be stronger still as we welcome Glenn, volunteer Psychotherapist and Trainee Counselling Psychologst. Over the next 6 months, it is my aim to further develop our therapy services and will be introducing better access to EMDR treatments and am charging Tom and Glenn with the task of developing a formal Psychotherapy Group (if this is something you would be interested in joining when it starts, then email email@example.com and add New Psychotherpy Group in the subject line).
Danny has been working hard on our Peer-Support Group, The Safe Room (there’s two now) and we are hoping to open a weekly informal ‘drop-in’ session. our group volunteers, Jim and Jason, have been a fantastic source of support to Danny and the group and from this month, our newest volunteer, Keith, will be joining the team to help facilitate and develop the groups. Keith helped develop and facilitated the hugely successful Safe Room pilot project in HMP Risley (download our report on this project by clicking here).
We did have two fantatsic volunteer Admin Workers, Chris and Stuart, but they were so brilliant and organised that they both got full-time jobs (even though we can still see and spy on Chris through the door in the Victim Support office). Both of them deserved to get full time employment and even though its our loss, its two other organisations gains. They are lucky to have two committed staff members.
Our outreach project stalwarts, Donna and Jim, have recently been joined by Andy, John and Lee, making our Safer Streets team really strong and well skilled in delivering outreach sessions and engaging with young men selling sex and those at risk of sexual exploitation (speaking of which, have you read our Safer Streets Report, written by Dr Michael Atkins PhD? If not then click here, its so worth it).
Behind the scenes, our board are working hard to ensure the organisation has a bigger strategic vision and focus; Christos is still helping with our HR needs; and new to the team is JJ, our Volunteer Support, who is finding spare time in his busy schedule to help us develop our volunteer programme and manage the next phase of the Safer Streets volunteer programme.
If that wasn’t enough development, we have also been working alongside NHS Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups to help, alongside other providers, transform mental health and therapy services across the city. This is a huge task for the Commissioners in the City but one that they are not shying away from. They have even engaged our service users in an event back in March that was a huge success. 15 guys that use our service came along to an evening event where they got to say what was wrong with mental health services and what they would do different. I was blown away by the way that they took control of the conversation and were really honest about what they felt. I even took some of their comments on as my responsibility and am currently building a list of all GP’s in Greater Manchester and will be sending a copy of our Survivors Guide, Referral Form and information on our service to them (that was a comment from a few different people that GP’s need to know how to deal with a lad coming into their surgery and asking for help).
We have also been talking with our first funders, Zurich Community Trust, about how we can better work with the other two Community Fund partners. We have delivered a few different workshops with the Post 16 Group at Reach Out and are looking to do more, but with Manchester Mencap now on board, I am already thinking about a few different exciting projects and in the next few weeks will be meeting with Mencap CEO, Kate, to talk partnership working (did you know that a disproportionate amount of individuals with learning disabilities and development needs are sexually abused). Zurich Community Trust have also announced that we will be Community Partners again, securing our Peer-Support Group and online activies until 2017! Plus Underwriting Service Manager, from Zurich Manchester Branch, has become Danny’s Business Mentor, whilst Matt is still mentoring me (despite now having a new job as UK Head of Corporate Insurance and travelling all over the UK, he still finds time for me).
and thats not all…
We have been working alongside Lime Pictures to assist in the development of the now award nominated John Paul Rape storyline in the now Award Winning and official Best British Soap Opera, Hollyoaks (see our Hollyoaks page).
We have also been working with the Ministry of Justice on what is now an award winning campaign #breakthesilence, and with Survivors UK, Mankind and First Step, helping develop the Male Rape Support fund we campaigned hard to get.
But most importantly, we have been busy delivering 1:1 Emotional Support sessions, Psychotherapy sessions, email support and answering the telephone when it rings. Since the start of the year, we have had 79 referrals (thats 15 more than in the same period last year, and 32 more than the year before). We have seen some incredible transformations of our service users, and using outcomes measures we are able to prove change more than ever.
So hopefully that brings you up to date with the goings on at Survivors Manchester HQ – its been a struggle and it will only get harder, but we are so positive as a team and an organisation and I believe we are in a stronger place now than we have ever been.
In May, I took the decision to relinquish all my other commitments and focus soley on the development of Survivors Manchester and it is the best decision I have made for a long time. I hope that with a single work focus, I can help drive forward the issue of breaking the silence on the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and rape of boys and men; whilst continung to develop services as well as securing more funding to deliver the services we have.
So here is my commitment. I vow to write a bi-monthly blog from now on (I’ve scheduled it in my diary) but if you have any queries or questions, or want to know something about the organisation then you can contact me direct on 0161 236 9025 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I look forward to writing again in August.
Warmest wishes as ever