Mary's Blog

This month has been phenomenally successful for MACS. The big event of the month was the OSCARS which celebrated all our achievements of young people throughout the year.

Willy Wonka ChocolateDifferent from other years where teams nominated individual young people for an award we decided that all our young people were worthy winners and in this spirit each team presented a video or placards highlighting our young people’s successes. The atmosphere at the event in the La Mon hotel was electric! And there was a huge sense of well wishing, warmth and general joy de vivre!

Oscars 2017

The comperes on the evening – Kieran, Roseanne and Young Leader Robyn came across as very professional, funny and well prepared. They even managed to keep composure during the usual technical hitches! Well done to Led by You and the subgroup that pulled the event off.

Oscars 2017It was no mean feat and the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ theme was inspired from the candy stalls to the choir down to our little oompa loompa’s, courtesy of Take a Bow with Georgia.

I am so proud to be part of such a thriving organisation and this is starkly evident in the amount of staff and young people who attended and feedback from both Billy and Barry from our BoD who were there and commented on the great atmosphere, the positivity of our young people and the high level of engagement and good humour from staff.

Team MACS with the Irish News award

On 7 June a group of staff attended the Irish News Business Awards. We had been nominated in the category for Workplace Wellbeing. As humble as ever, I do not think that any of us thought we would take away the gong. How wrong we were when Patrick Kielty announced that we were the winners from amongst a very prestigious and high powered group of businesses, well Emma nearly fainted! The whoops and cheers from our table was deafening. And again, MACS staff at the event were a credit to the organisation.

Mary & Emma

This award is of course the culmination of 27 years of hard work from all of us, supporting and encouraging each other to be the best we can be.

We are now a multi award winning charity striving each year to do things differently and better from the year before. We should all be very proud of the place we have created and values of interdependence, making mistakes, taking risks and promoting autonomy and leaders that underpin all the work we do.

As you know a group of staff and young people have been beavering away at developing our therapeutic community for children through the social innovation project. Well we had to present a bid to the Building Change Trust to take this idea further. Kate, Stacy and Cailian (from Led by You) presented a pitch to a packed audience which had an atmosphere of a cross between Dragons Den and The Hunger Games!!! They had to beat the clock to present a five-minute presentation.

Their pitch was amazing and it was no surprise that we won the funding bid of nearly 15K.

This means that we can now do a comprehensive feasibility study and work with an architect to produce a virtual representation of what the home might look like. We also have study trips planned for 21st/22nd July to Limerick and Tipperary to meet experts in the field who are doing partly what we might like to emulate. This is a really exciting opportunity for MACS and I know that we will create in the future (not too distant) an environment for our children to thrive in.

This month we welcome Andy (new administrator), Kathy (new support worker) to Downpatrick Housing and Linda, Jasmine and Sean (new support workers) to Lisburn Housing.

I had the pleasure of attending a service Housing day in June. The staff were lively, very positive and really engaged both in improving support for young people in their own service and in wider organisational developments.

Led by You have been beavering away as usual and so far this year the young leaders have volunteered 357 hours collectively – truly giving back to the organisation.

Point to ponder – Check out Frederick La Loux – management consultant (reinventing organisations) – His research on several innovative and successful companies came up with the same main themes.

  1. Self-management and encouragement of autonomy
  2. Wholeness – concentration on intuition, and the emotional and spiritual nature of the company
  3. Evolutionary process – throw out a ‘predict and control’ culture and place more emphasis on the theory that we naturally evolve to find the correct state
  4. Making decisions – Everyone in the org is a decision maker, as long as you have sought advice from experts and have had meaningful conversations with those effected by the decision

Big ideas but essentially simple and humanistic in approach.

And finally, I love this achievement from Coleen (young person in Downpatrick). She travels to her work placement which is a 12 mile round trip 4 times a week – Norman Tebbit (Tory MP in the 80s) would be proud of you!! (you have to be old like me to get this joke). Coleen is also a member of a cycling club and completes exhaustive marathon races!

Mary Ryan