Mary's Blog

Well get me to the top of the highest mountain because this needs some shouting!!  Yvonne in Uni St sent me some amazing outcomes about how well our young people are doing in relation to training.

Glenavon sponsored by The Bytes Project

They are currently working in partnership with the Bytes Project and wow is that collaboration thriving. Take a look at our truly inspiring, humbling, unbelievable young people succeeding against the odds:

  • Tony just completed his CSR card and we are working on a plumbing placement to compliment training.
  • Michael has a business admin placement in Carillion (they adore him) and it seems he will become a full time staff member when he completes.
  • Declan just achieved a placement in Carillion in business admin.
  • Cameron is completing a 14 week accelerated essential skills course.
  • Jamie is doing a personal training course.
  • Conlieth is sourcing out a joinery placement as he is already doing a joinery course.
  • Prudence & Chantelle signed up to a health and social care course.
  • Jack is in Bryson doing I.T.
  • Lisa is in 6th year completing A-levels and we are looking at a sports coaching course for her additionally.

In Downpatrick Housing I heard two lovely stories. Bradley one of our young people has been cooking Sunday dinner for staff and young people for three weeks in a row, this is what a good community of people does – helps and care for each other. Bradley said:

I love making the Sunday dinner as I enjoy cooking and love having the craic when everyone is together

Also Jeanine (Sessional Worker) and Tim (Support Worker) were instrumental in getting two of our young people to go rowing in Strangford. Thank you Tim as you did not have to have MACS in your personal space. And Laura Cooke received high praise from a parent who could not thank her enough for the support given to his daughter, stating that Laura has made a huge difference to this young person’s life.

In February, Jake O’Kane and Comic Relief visited MACS Wellbeing Service to find out a bit about how we support young people.

Jake, Sarah and Robyn were interviewed on Radio Ulster to promote MACS and our support. After this, we received a call from the Head of Mental Health Services in RQIA to say how amazingly Robyn spoke and how wonderful her story is. She has now asked if Robyn would speak at their conference in March to talk about what works and what inspectors need to be aware of in terms of quality of mental health services. This is a fantastic achievement for Robyn and really emphasises what an ambassador she is for MACS.

Amanda is going great guns as the new Wellbeing Service School’s Worker.  She has reviewed and rewritten aspects of the programme and feedback from the schools she works in has been really positive.

We have recruited 18 new volunteers since January – which if you know how hard this can be – is a phenomenal feat!

And two young people went to Educating Rita at the Lyric with staff and took from it the theme that you have to grab life by the horns.

We have attended 3 workshops so far in relation to social innovation. It was great to get input from Sarah, Amy H and Cathy, three of our young people who attended one of the workshops. Their views and insight into life in care was invaluable and I am looking forward to some more lively chat especially with you Amy!

If you get a chance, have a look at +ACUMEN a worldwide charity set up to bring people together to activate social change.  And that’s what we are doing at MACS.  The MACS Social Innovation team are forging ahead – and luckily we are on a very tight time frame so there will be no – ‘ah sure we can leave that for another day’!

MACS celebrated #CareDay with great style in Lisburn Housing, music was supplied by Shane from Newry and impromptu singing from two of our Belfast young people.

There were also imaginative displays of artistic work outlining our young people’s stories in care.

And Cathy, one of our young leaders, spoke about her experience of being in care.

A flyer on the conference will be going out soon, so get your thinking caps on for invitees.

The MACS conference group is also alive and kicking.  We have confirmed three speakers and workshops so far for our conference on approaches that can work for young people. This is a brilliant opportunity to promote MACS but also to increase our buying power if we partnership with other organisations.

And yes she is back – by popular demand! Ashleen is taking over accumulating training plans and organising training dates. So hopefully in the next few months you should see a significant improvement in how training is organised.

Finally, can I give a huge sigh of relief – we have our annual report.  It was well worth the wait!  I think it’s truly fantastic, the design is breathtaking. A real tribute to the hard work from Trevor and our young leaders. Also the congratulations to Robyn and Deirbhile who conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism when completing the service reviews with Trevor on getting feedback from our young people.

Point to ponder – recently I have been thinking about how my moral compass is set?? I came to the conclusion that it was heavily influenced by my mother who managed to fluidly gel right wing catholic ideology with ultra-left wing thinking! As I journeyed through my life the influence of peers and books also informed my morality, but I can safely say that it was the early years and the teachings from my mum that has set my moral compass. How is yours set?
Mary Ryan