Just three weeks ago we had our annual staff and volunteer conference. We had chosen the theme of hope. The specific underpinning quote was, ‘Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again’ from the diary of Anne Frank who died in Bergen Belsen when she was 15 years old.
We had some excellent speakers – who work with some of the most abandoned, excluded, vulnerable people in the country. Each said they had been given a hard task – to encourage us, to inspire us, to help us feel that we should carry on despite the tapestry of misery. Basically, to help us hang on to the hope stuff. Each one of them did a great job!
Naturally, besides concentrating on wanting the Conference day to go well, you begin to think what inspires me? What gives me hope?
And for me, it is the resilience of the people we work with. Whether it’s the homeless young people, especially those from overseas, the people facing losing their home because their benefits have been delayed, the people in the asylum system who are destitute, the children who have never had a present before.
Day on day they face enormous barriers, getting higher and tougher – and hearing themselves being described variously as ‘feckless’, ‘ illegal’, ‘ cheats’, or ‘foreigners go home’ – and in many cases, knowing their children are hearing those things too.
I am so very proud of the staff and volunteers here who carry on doggedly -doing what they are so good at, listening, supporting, problem solving, advocating, and the back room staff who make it happen.
I am proud of our supporters and donors – you all – who trust us and invest in us.
I hope you are proud too, because without you, it simply wouldn’t happen. And I’d love you to find hope from what happens here.
May I wish you and all those you love a peaceful and happy Christmas, and a very, very hopeful New Year.
Cathy Corcoran, Chief Executive