Mary's Blog

Well that’s me! I am done with the turkey and ham Christmas dinner! From now on its steak and chips and no presents! There is nothing I need – if we had a low key Christmas wouldn’t we all be so much happier? Expectations of the perfect, snow filled, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘ scenarios are just impossible to live up to, and leave people feeling their Christmas was just not good enough. That’s my yearly festive rant done with.

At MACS we have as usual begun the year with high spirits and a feeling that we will all do our best to find creative ways to work with our young people. Already we are gearing up to look at innovative ways at how MACS can support young people whilst still in the care system. We were really fortunate to obtain a place on the Social Innovation programme. A working group of staff at MACS and young people will attend a series of workshops to bring an idea to fruition. This is an incredible opportunity and will be a new approach in relation to project planning.

The first workshop took place on 26th January. I don’t want to brag but our young people – Amy, Kathy and Sarah were a real credit to MACS and their insights and views made the day really worthwhile.

(L-R) Laura, Hannah, Amy, Kathy and Trevor

It was also really gratifying to learn that this concept in design thinking is not new to us. We are doing quite a bit of it already – namely – user engagement from the very onset, research, free thinking, and ask the experts.

At a recent contract meeting Liz Stevenson (Social Services Newry), enthused about the amazing work being undertaken by MACS staff in Newry, She praised the approach to managing risky behaviour, and spoke with great passion for the level of acceptance of risk that was managed by Newry workers. Well done to Claire and her team for their exceptional work.

Also for special praise this month – I was completely lobbied by Catherine (Manager in Downpatrick), who sent me many emails on how fabulously Laura S had taken to her new role as Integrated Housing and Floating Support Worker. Catherine enthused about her commitment, energy and the whole-hearted way she has thrown herself into her new role. She really is a positive energy, and I also have found her to be very engaged in our social innovation group.

Voypic care day invite University St are doing an interesting piece of work on exploring their heroes and demons, and how would they look on canvas. They are hoping to be able to display their master pieces in connection with celebrating Care Day 2017. And speaking of which there are loads of activities going on all over MACS to celebrate care day in February so check it out on our Facebook page.



Led by You , Wellbeing and Floating Support services are doing work with young people on the new Children’s and Young Peoples Strategy over the next few weeks. It’s really important that we influence  the direction of this strategy as much as we can, and its vital that we get the views of our young people.

Point to ponder – Before Christmas I spoke about loneliness being our modern scourge – to add to this I read an interesting article about our need to make meaningful connections. Basically the assertion made was that to live a fulfilled life and stay relatively sane then we need others around us both in terms of family and friends. But also there is a need to make connections with others that are a bit more profound! The writer told of a lovely encounter on a train journey with an elderly stranger where they shared their views on the meaning of life for an hour.
Mary Ryan