Mary's Blog

I got a lovely email from Conaire in Belfast Housing who was singing the praises of the managers in Belfast Housing – Suz, Yvonne and Mark – they really supported him through a tough period.

Conaire said that he has never worked in an environment where the Culture, in relation to caring for staff, is truly practiced and in being compassionate, fully understanding of how difficult the work can be and being one hundred percent supportive.  I can emphatically say that it was one of the best emails I have ever received and makes me be very proud to lead an organisation that is so value driven.

And speaking of fabulous staff, our staff video is now up on the website and has snippets of our lovely people talking about what a great place MACS is to work in – some of us look more frightened than others when a camera is put in front of us! – but I can categorically state that no one was bribed, bullied or tortured into promoting staff welfare and what it feels like to be part of MACS.

Our young people are doing some really exciting things currently: here is just a flavour of some of the activities.  Anna in Downpatrick is completing her A-levels and is then heading off to Camp America for the summer.  Chelsea in Belfast Floating Support was awarded the Development Award through the Princes Trust to develop an on line clothing company especially for young adults with physical disabilities (wow!) and Andrew also in Belfast Floating Support ran as part of a relay team in the Belfast Marathon for a local charity.  

 Amit and the forumAmit one of our young leaders facilitated his first MACS Young Peoples Forum.  This is no mean feat, as keeping up interest and bringing a group of people together is at times like herding flies! And feedback from staff and especially young people was that they found him completely inspiring.

Dan, Diane and Natasha in Slieve DonardDan in Newry Housing was very busy taking two young people Dianne and Natasha up Slieve Donard. Feedback is that they displayed great team work skills, motivation, resilience and immense camaraderie in the gruelling trip to the top. These are great examples of our young people giving back to society and creating a better world for us all to live in.

Dan, Diane and Natasha in Slieve Donard Dan, Diane and Natasha in Slieve Donard

Wellbeing Service are doing a six-week summer programme starting in July for our young people on the school’s work programme. This sounds really innovative as we know that the summer period can be long and boring once we get over the initial thrill of being off school. Also they are busy organising a volunteer bbq on 1 June. The theme is to bring a friend/family member along in the hope that they might in the future volunteer for MACS.

Our annual staff survey is now complete and it’s so heartening to see that we got a 94% response. This is phenomenal and shows how high staff engagement is in MACS and the will to continually improve our working lives.

And it’s this time of year when the Oscars is approaching celebrating and recognising the achievements of all our young people and volunteers.  This year we are doing it a bit differently in not singling out certain young people and volunteers for an award but acknowledging that all our young people and volunteers contribute and are striving to improve their lives.MACS Oscars Invite

And the buzz is starting to happen in relation to MACS first ever conference on practice (10 October 2017). The theme of this is stronger together/for the many not the few! Possibly have been watching too much coverage of the forthcoming general election!

Seriously, we will be running workshops on approaches that we think work in relation to interventions for young people.  The key then is that if we collaborate together we have more buying power. The programme for the day is shaping up to be really exciting and engaging – so guys spread the word and encourage other professionals you engage with to come along.

This month we welcome back Kathy to Downpartick Housing from maternity leave. And well done to Laura Spiers who is now part of the Lisburn FS/Housing day team.

Point to ponder – A group of us at MACS are doing coaching training and in the course of my coaching endeavours it struck me that – goals are only ever achieved if they are actually ACHIEVABLE.  The coachee actually sees a clear benefit to their circumstances in achieving their goals, and to state the obvious has a desire and is motivated to reach the goal by using identifiably tiny steps (DUH!!) How does this apply when working with our young people?

And finally, we have been shortlisted again for the Irish News Business Awards in relation to being a great place to work, we will find out whether we have won in our category on the 8 June – fingers crossed this time around. 🤞

Mary Ryan