Island House Blogs
IH Website blog by Centre Director Steve Hill
TIMES OF CHANGE
Times of change can be daunting as well as exciting. We all have a natural tendency to prefer stability and to continue in the things we are comfortable with (or is that just me?). Sometimes change is planned, and at other times unexpected or even forced on us, but change can bring new possibilities, stretch us in positive ways and bring new outlooks that improve us in ways we might never had imagined, even if we hadn’t wanted it at first.
Earlier this year, I got married, which was planned, but that involved having to move house twice in 3 months, which was much more stressful than planning a wedding (!), and then living with the consequences of having to become a commuter with a daily round trip of over 100 miles. But even the unwelcome commuting has positive benefits, giving me more time to think, pray, and chat with friends (on hands-free of course!).
At island House, whether it is a change of Chariman due to a resignation, an unexpected change in funding for our projects due to austerity cuts, a change of minister following an inter-regnum for our church tenants, or a staff restructuring due to planned reviews, it feels like Island House is in a time of transition. Thankfully, after several years of good housekeeping by our Committee, astute financial management and an ever increasing good reputation with our stakeholders and funders, we are well positioned to ride the waves of these changes and come out with our head well above water. But mainly, this is due to the outstanding quality of people in our team.
So Hugh’s resignation, after 14 years as the URC minister and most recently as Chair (thank you Hugh for all your service over such a long period of development for Island House as a charity, Hugh), brings the exciting new appointment of Tony Alderman as our new Chair of Trustees. Tony brings many skills, contacts and exceptional personal qualities to the role; he is very popular with all our staff and has shown great dedication to our charity. Welcome Tony.
We also welcome Reverend Val Pyper to Island House as the new minister of Quaystone Church after a rather turbulent period of change and transition for our tenants. Val has already made herself known to everyone in a very positive way and we look forward to developing new partnerships and seeing our ecumenical work develop strongly with Val now in post.
The austerity cuts have forced us into frantic and ongoing fundraising attempts to replace the sudden loss of some local authority commissions, affecting our Can Do and Community Parent projects in particular. Many of our project staff team have had to live through much uncertainty about their contracts and the position is still not entirely clear, but I have to thank every one of them for their patience, understanding and resilience. What a great team I have to work with! Despite many going through their own changes and challenges in personal lives, some extremely difficult and unwelcome, no one has taken their eyes off the importance of the work our charity does and the impact it has on our clients and users.
Whilst we may long for the turbulent waters to be calmer, let’s remember that there is One who holds us, sustains us and can bring us through periods of change to become stronger in character and better positioned to face the challenges the future will no doubt also hold. Change is here to stay. Thank God we are well positioned to face the future with confidence and excitement at the adventure ahead.
Steve Hill, Centre Director (October 2016)
PBB Project - Community Parents
Pregnancy and birth are often key periods of transition in an individual's life and can be the driver for making important choices and changes. We see this period as an ideal opportunity to offer effective support that can enable a positive experience to be had and also help prevent future difficulties from arising. A Community Parent is there to offer informal support and useful information to an expectant mother and/or father through pregnancy and the first year of family life.
Here at Community Parents we are excited to be continuing this project and to be put in contact with women who are in need of an additional listening ear, support and a connection into our bustling community.
We are incredibly proud of our 24 active volunteers who bring so much colour, enthusiasm and care to the parents that they support and to us as well! We really would be lost without them and are looking forward to finding more ways this term to show them how valuable they are.
We are thrilled that 15 new volunteers (our fifth cohort) are being trained at the moment and should be ready to be paired with a family in November.
Over the last four years we have supported 93 families on a one to one basis and have provided hundreds more with advice and information at our weekly outreach sessions.
Families are referred to us from many sources and we are enjoying strengthening our relationships with our local GPS, midwives, Children’s Centres, voluntary organisations and Health Visitors. We are relaunching our stakeholders group in the autumn where professionals and families can meet on a quarterly basis and look at ways of working together more efficiently.
We love hearing from the stakeholders that they “really couldn’t do what we do” and that they really value the way in which we can offer a listening ear to the families that need it.
We are launching a new ‘Quick Response’ to referrals from the Gateway Midwifery Team to enable us to meet some of the more vulnerable mothers to be at their midwives appointment, and we’re also producing a short film to showcase our service to parents, volunteers, stakeholders and potential funders.
Finally, our free antenatal and postnatal pilates classes and our Bumps & Babies coffee morning both continue to offer a place for pregnant and new mums to meet others, share experiences and improve their wellbeing.
Isle of Dogs
London E14 3PG
T: 020 7531 0310
Reg. charity # 1110519
We are currently recruiting new volunteers to train as COMMUNITY PARENTS on our next course starting in June 2018. Click here for more details.
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