Friday, 22 June 2012
Getting it Done
Day 4 of my trip was spent starting to work up the detail on what the 5 areas of Open Talent mean in terms of operational delivery for a new Foyer service. We had a head start from the inspire workshop the day before, and settled in to focus on Opportunity as the one area that connects most with everything else. It’s so exciting to be able to draw out the pathway for a service that is trying to do everything the right way round, and we tried to push the boundaries of what that means through some radical thinking on the entry process. At the same time, we kept a separate sheet to note down any key values that emerged, to form the basis of an overarching set of principles for the service drawn from across the 5 areas.
As the four of us present drew, talked, typed, walked around the room, and opened our minds, we touched on some fascinating ideas, from creating a game-based approach to a young person’s transition and development of assets, to a ‘Foyerversity’ of short online videos showcasing key skills for and by staff and young people, which could easily be made through collaboration from our current network of services. Everything is possible.
We spent the day in a room named after the founder of The Brotherhood of St Laurence, Gerard Kennedy Tucker. Shamefully, when I heard we were going to the Father Tucker Room, a childhood of Robin Hood films meant I was getting ready for when the Sherwood of Nottingham might come to get me. I was grateful to be able to read a bit about the man on the walls, and realise that this was a remarkable person about whom it was said ‘He got things done’. I made a note to reference this in my speech the next day. The ‘getting things done’ included a long list of actions, such as reform of the Landlord and Tenant Act, setting up housing schemes for unemployed men and families, campaigning against slum housing, establishing the first family day care service, and pioneering a network of Opportunity Shops. I know from personal experience that there is a only small group of leaders who really believe in ‘innovation’ as a key purpose of charity, and this, alongside a passionate belief in advocacy and social justice, marked Tucker out for me as someone special. I felt in my heart that he would not only have approved of Open Talent, but probably ask why we were taking so long to make it happen. We need to get it done, because we need to get things done too. Sometimes you have to travel to the otherside of the world just to feel at home in yourself.