Saturday, November 28, 2009


A week. This is as long between posts as I have left it recently. The reason is that life has suddenly gone up a gear, two even. The main thing is the potential merger I am working on. It's getting close to final decision-time and, as you'd expect, there is a lot of last minute stuff to do.

On top of this, my other juggling acts continue. Impetus Trust. Futurebuilders. School Governor. Writer. The Council. Thee latter is fine but takes a steady day or so of my time each week, including evenings and weekends. Not least here my efforts to kick-start a local development trust to take on a building currently owned by the council.

My role here is to use the role of Councillor as broker/bringer-together. What I notice is that people do kind of accept your right to act. If I was doing this just as a new person from the community, it would definitely be more of a struggle. More on that another time.

The week has brought me into close contact with a wide arc of people, which kind of says a lot about what is good about my life.

On one side of the arc sit the folks currently managing Southgate Community Centre,the local people I meet every week during my Street Surgery sessions and the young "MPs" with learning difficulties recently elected by their peers in Suffolk.

At the other side of the arc sit Phil Hope, Minister of State for Social Care, the new CEO of Mencap, Mark Goldring, Peter Holbrook, the new CEO of Social Enterprise Coalition, Phillip Blond, the Tory policy guru, and, next week, Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems.

At various points of the arc in between I meet people running our services, like Amy Jones, our incredible HR director and Paul Morrish, my talented Director of Business Development. Like Steve Cook Editor of Third Sector, Kevin Curley who leads the umbrella NAVCA for small organisations and Richard Corden who runs the Compact Commission and Simon Duffy, the inspiration behind personal budgets in social care.

I am very lucky to have the opportunity to hear from and speak with all of these people. That my job and various roles gives me this unusually rich picture of how life looks now.

What do I take from this fish-eye lens? One thing stands out. That we're at the end of something and the beginning of something else. Quite what that new world looks like is unclear but the parameters of recent years are starting to shift - and fast. From the 46 year old IT technician formerly on 50k who can't get near a job to guys running major organisations, everyone feels very uncertain and also fairly anxious about what lies ahead.

All we know is that it will be different. Making this feel like an opportunity is, for those with nervous dispositions, like myself, hard-going at times. While part of me is entrepreneurial and loves a challenge, a less publicised side of me actually likes the routine and predictable. The Danes have a word for it - hygge. Cosiness, stability, security.

The next few weeks look like being very important. Both are busy as hell and all feature very importantly in terms of the long-term outlook. I need to be at my best. December is often like this for me - a make or break feel to it. So I have been there before.

Doesn't make it any easier though, somehow.

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