Led by You Blog
Led by You Cailain helps young people get involved, have their say and provide opportunities to influence how we do things at MACS. Our 2nd issue of the Led by You Blog is again written by Cailain, a talented writer and Young Leader at MACS.

Belfast is a city defined by colours – from the green of City Hall’s domes to the clear blue skies that many Belfast inhabitants have heard rumours of. It makes sense, therefore, that the city is gaining a reputation for the rainbow-fest that is Pride.

MACS, never one to shy from the spotlight, was represented at the event by Led By You Young Leaders and other MACS staff on the day. Our very own Young Leader Robyn was  great in bringing people in and who promoted MACS with the vigour of David Beckham sponsoring a new hair gel. The other Young Leaders played their part by marching in the parade and showing banners proudly (there really isn’t a synonym that works).

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Usually Leaders don’t appear out of thin air, but are instead formed from a mixture of charisma, emotional maturity, real-world experience, and extensive training. (However, apparently going to Eton is a fine substitute for having any of those qualities)

Recognising this need for training, MACS Young Leaders recently completed a bespoke course that included group work & leadership activities, values training courtesy of team leader Trevor, which was both challenging and full of banter, and perhaps most excitingly an Enneagram test which identifies the personality archetypes into which we fall, in order to understand the tasks to which we are best suited. Similar tests are available from psychological consultancies like OkCupid and eHarmony, we are just not sure MACS will pay for you to do them!

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As a huge Lord of the Rings fan, you can’t imagine how excited I was when I heard that MACS organised an annual Orc Day, nor my disappointment upon discovering that people were actually talking about an “Org” day out, that had little to do with vicious fictional goblins. Yet for most people besides me, the day was anything but a disappointment, and the MACS staff would like to kindly thank Christina for helping them to set up the circus on the day day. Credit is also due to Jack, Amit, Robyn and Trevor for time out of their day to hold annual report interviews with young people!

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Cleopatra was 18-years old when she became Queen of Egypt. The members of the MACS Shadow Board arguably have fewer responsibilities, but nevertheless deserve a pat on the back for their great work on the Annual Report, which they are continuing to work on and which is nearing completion.

She may have been #girlpowergoals, but I don’t think she was volunteering for free

The Young Leaders have also been hard at work helping to replace the Exit Questionnaire with online feedback forms by reviewing questions and helping to streamline it, and Led By You hope to pilot this from November.

Whenever somebody mentions the Belfast Housing Model to me, I imagine Mary sitting in an office trying to build an apartment block using Lego pieces. It’s fair to say that this isn’t entirely accurate, but hopefully Trevor and Deirbhile have a better idea, because recently they were doing a group consultation and 1-2-1 follow up meetings with young people to review the Belfast Housing Model.

Some of Mary’s finest work

With all the interviews and editing meetings taking place for the Annual Report, it would be fair to say that the average MACS volunteer is busier than a one-eyed cat watching two mouse holes. Yet within all this activity, a couple of particularly tireless volunteers have started leading participation sub-groups as well, with Amit heading up the Belfast one and Jack captaining the ship down in Lisburn, with respective start dates on the 27th and 28th of September. While we’re on the topic of participation, the Participation Strategy has been reviewed by the Young Leaders and will be launching on the 13 October alongside Newry’s outdoor space launch (which I still believe is fertile territory for NASA jokes).

Whenever we learned about charities in primary school, we were told that they were groups who basically “asked people for money so they could give it to people who really need it”. And while it was a bit simplified, it’s a good explanation of why most charities have to fund raise. And so, to obtain much-needed funds for Led By You, the young leaders will be organising a raffle and a cake sale, with the goal of raising some dough (I only agreed to write this if I was allowed one awful pun per blog). All support is very welcome (as is, presumably, a new blogger lol)

Led By You Sub Group

A lot has happened since April, from Brexit to the Summer Olympics, and things have been no quieter at MACS, especially for the folks at Led By You; and to celebrate all the hard work that’s taken place since then, the young leaders had a dinner at Cosmo’s on the 29th September. While no wine was to be had on the night, I’ll raise a metaphorical glass to all the work done, and yet to come from Led By You!









Fortunately our dinner was good craic unlike below, when it became clear someone mentioned Brexit halfway through dinner!










thats-all-folks That’s all from me til next time! Hope you enjoyed reading, and don’t forget if you have any young people who you think would be a good addition to our merry clan, make sure you tell Trevor so he can contact them!