Mary's Blog

Firstly, I would like to wish all MACS young people, volunteers, staff, and board members a very happy (or at least a tolerated!) Christmas, and I hope that the new year ahead brings you lots of good fortune.

MACS BabyCan I extend congratulations to Emma (McCourt), Ciara, Stephen and Nick on the births of their new babies and I am sure that it will add much joy to them especially over the Christmas period. I would like to welcome Laura (Reilly) and Sinead (Cassidy) who are covering maternity posts in Belfast Floating Support.

Amy is back among us again after her maternity leave, and now working in the Wellbeing Team. Over the last few months there has been a lot of internal appointments, with staff moving around the organisation, so can I say a huge well done to all staff who got new posts within MACS. We love home grown!

Praise indeed this month goes to Megan in Downpatrick Floating Support who has recently undertaken an Open University course and got a massive 84% in her first assessment. She also attends a life skills group with MACS, & encourages other young people to come along by offering lifts – well done Megan you give other young people hope & motivation.

Doing a placement this month with MACS for 2 weeks as part of her social care course is Robyn. She is one of MACS young leaders and she is a real credit to the organisation, and more importantly to herself. Her maturity and confidence really struck me and I think she will make a great leader of the future and society needs more of these bright lights.

Led By YouI would like also to take this opportunity to thank all our young leaders who have been ably supported by Trevor in Led by You. I had the privilege of attending their Christmas meal, the craic was good, the young leaders were great company, witty, insightful with a great team bond between them.

Over the last few months we have been lucky to have on placement a youth and community student from Ulster University. Aiden is a great support to MACS particularly coming into his own in relation to informing practice on Led by You.

Also, Laura (Cooke – we have 3 Lauras now!) in Downpatrick went out of her way to send an email of praise to her manager Catherine in relation to a colleague she works with. She said – “Siofra is a real pleasure to work with, her energy and enthusiasm is infectious and she always goes the extra mile for young people e.g. doing several shopping trips in the one day to ensure they have everything they need”.

Great news this month from Downpatrick who received a cheque for £750 from Councillors Andrews and Walker who completed a charity cycle ride and donated funds to MACS. Also Newry received special praise for hosting a visit from Moldovan Social workers who learnt loads about how to do supported housing with care, compassion (and let’s not forget style) and forthrightness from Claire and Stephen.MACS Staff Awards 2

Laura (Cooke) & Sarah (Degan) from Downpatrick worked their cotton socks off to pull off such a lovely and heart-warming event and I really appreciate all the additional hours they put in to have such clever attention to detail.

So I think you will agree with me that MACS staff awards on the 23 November were a tremendous success. The cup cakes with the little message attached about each individual member of staff was a stroke of genius and I got both my daughter and husband to read out aloud that night what had been said about me!! I was really touched by the kind words from Kate, and as I pointed out, if they are only half true then I must be doing something right!

Also thanks to our comperes for the afternoon Brenda and Andy from Downpatrick standing up and keeping the flow going in front of such a big crowd – that is no mean feat.

Point to ponder – On Channel 4 news a few weeks ago a news item reported that 9 million people in the UK have experienced loneliness regularly, and for many that is on a daily basis.  This is a staggering number of people and I really do believe that it’s an emerging scourge on society.  Of course this blight particularly effects many of the young people we work with. A lot we know have no real connection with others, and often they fall into negative friendships and relationships, and are at the heart of it deeply isolated and lonely.

In the new year ahead, MACS needs to get its thinking cap on, on how we tackle this growing disease and find new responses and interventions that reduce isolation for our young people.

Mary Ryan