Mary's Blog

This month, it is our very special Volunteers we need to be praising, and shouting their achievements from the rafters.

I had the pleasure of attending two events where our volunteers shone. The Wellbeing Support Service organised a lovely evening in recognition of our mentors, who give freely of their time to support and engage with our Young People in many lively and creative ways. The evening in our Lisburn office was well attended by both MACS Volunteers and Staff from across all the different services. The atmosphere was warm and very relaxed and the food was exceptional! All homemade by Pauline in the Wellbeing Support Service.

The other event was a fundraiser organised by Madeline – a Grease sing-a-long at the Strand Arts Centre in Belfast. The MACS Singers did us proud and sang four songs before Grease began. I have to say the tone and texture of their sound was remarkable, and their rendition of “You Raise Me Up” (a song that usually hurts my ears!) was subtle, sensitive and sincere in the hands of the MACS Singers.

And while I am talking about fabulous people I would like to mention in particular Roz and Jules from Finance. Roz has kindly come in while still on her maternity leave to spend many an hour pulling together our accounts for the auditors.

She never complained once, and gave abundantly of her time ‘with a glad heart’ (as Tess, my mother, would say).

Jules stepped up to the plate after Joanne left, and rather than complaining about having to do a lot more extra work, asked how could she improve the situation of being down a staff member in Finance. Both women are a pleasure to work beside, are highly professional, and very skilled at what they do, but also they are funny and witty to boot.

While I am at praise, particular mention was given at the last managers meeting to Nick in Admin for his support and going out of his way to help staff, Dan in Newry Housing was also mentioned by Claire as going well beyond the call of duty when supporting Young People – she waxed lyrical about you Dan! And Sorcha in Uni St Housing (Yes..again!) who was described as “amazing and phenomenal” by a visiting CAMHS team.

And much praise must be given to our MACS Mens Football team who participated in a football fundraiser for MACS. Apparently our young men were a real credit to MACS, not only did they accept defeat graciously, but went around asking other teams for a friendly kick about afterwards. They were courteous and well-mannered throughout this football tournament.

MACS 5 Aside - June-1613

This month we have loads of new faces, so, can I welcome Beth, Conaire and Roseanne to Uni Street Housing, Angela, Brogan, Cara, Christina & Claire to our soon to be opening Lisburn Housing.

On 16th June, Kate, Sinead, Emma, Trevor and Myself got our glad rags on to attend the Irish News Business Awards, I have never seen so much bling in one room! MACS were nominated in three categories as I mentioned in last month’s blog and… wait for it… we didn’t win – but guys, not to be deterred, we will be bolder and better when entering next year. It was a great experience and I was so proud (and unsurprised) that MACS got shortlisted – as we all know MACS is a great place to work – we just need to promote this even more to the outside world.

Madeline, our fundraiser, was also nominated very kindly by New Life Counselling for fundraiser of the year at the NI Fundraising Awards.

Again a big plug for our Young Leaders led ably by Trevor. As you may know, Participate Now has been changed to Led By You. The Shadow Board are currently beavering away with writing the Annual Report. This is very exciting, and I don’t want to brag (I will anyway) but how many charities are encouraging the people who actually use their services to write the annual report? Groundbreaking!

Point to ponder – “Why failure is key to flying high”. As you know, at MACS we talk a lot about making mistakes, taking risks and failing at things. I read a really interesting article by Matthew Sayed from his book Black Box Thinking. His basic analogy was that evidence from the skating world is that top professional skaters fail more than the average professional skater, they are willing to fall over more make more mistakes and take risks and basically fail a lot of times before they reach the top of their game. Lower level skaters don’t take risks and keep doing the same moves that don’t take them out of their comfort zone and therefore resist failure and ultimately don’t progress to become Olympic champions!

And just finally, MACS were invited by Simon Community to speak at the homeless summit in Stormont on the 30th June. I think we gave a compelling case with our partners Simon Community and Extern in relation to outlining tasks the government need to consider, in connection to ending homelessness.

And really finally, the new Programme for Government has had no outcome in relation to Housing and the crisis we are in, so this needs to be lobbied. Watch this space…

Finally finally final, A BIG WELCOME to MACS LISBURN HOUSING who officially got the keys on Thurs 30th June!

Mary Ryan