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Juno’s January Blog: Passing on a legacy and a promise


Hello everyone and welcome to the New Year – by the time you read this we will be half way through January and no doubt the Omicron numbers will still be the subject of daily scrutiny.

For me this is the strangest New Year that I can remember.

Normally I am focussing now on how the budgets will roll out operationally in April, which KPIs need tweaking, what the end of year figures will be, what work we have to do to plan for our next regulatory and compliance visits, what new services we need to consider, what policies need reviewing against practice and changes etc

All of the things that contribute to the healthy housework of any organisation.

This year however I am wrapped up in trying to make everything shiny and clean for the handover to a new CEO.

Or ‘Steve’ as we like to call him. Because, well….his name is Steve!

I have to remind myself daily of the truth – we are trying to run a care charity in the middle of a global pandemic and a sector wide staffing recruitment and retention crisis.

Therefore shiny and clean may be an aspiration but, in reality, there will be some elements that will still need sorting out. I have created a handover document that is nothing if not comprehensive but it’s so hard to know how much information to give someone.

Having worked five year blocks in different organisations for the last 35+ years I am used to handing jobs over.

But I have never before handed over with one hand and then not picked up with another – this feels strangely lopsided and out of balance.

For I am taking a year off. A year out. A semi-retirement. A sabbatical.

Call it what you like – I will be living off my savings and not going to work in the traditional way for the first time since I took up my first Saturday job as a florist’s assistant when I was 13 (I can still turn a nifty buttonhole for weddings in case anyone is interested…).

I'll still have to get up in the mornings – I have a dog who will see to that. I so want to see more of my family who have been very patient with my work ‘hassles’ over the years, and I have a few voluntary commitments and I will enjoy these all the more for not having to squish them in around work.

And I have a pile of half-started fun bits like writing silly stuff about the dog and playing the saxophone to the dog and training the dog to do what I’d like him to do rather than him training me to do what he likes me to do. But that is it.

And so, over to Steve

You’re going to like Steve. All the Rose Road staff who have met Steve like him – and this is a jolly good start!

Steve will no doubt introduce himself to you in due course so I won’t spoil his thunder but I will say that he has a great sense of humour, is refreshingly human and compassionate, has read the handover docs before starting (always a bonus in my view) and demonstrates a brilliant understanding of Rose Road and what we are here to do. And also what we are not here to do which is half the battle.

Oh and Steve has two dogs – always good.

Steve and I have a one month handover during which time I suspect he will kindly allow me to still feel useful whilst heartily wishing I would push off. I will try and be both supportive and yet unobtrusive – I’m known for sticking my nose in so this may be a test for me!

This is not a usual handover, this is the passing on of a heartfelt and intense commitment to some of the most incredible staff and families that I have ever had the good fortune and privilege to know.

This is the passing on of the legacy of those first half dozen families, 70 odd years ago, who had the courage to say ‘this is not good enough for our children and we can do better’.

And this is the passing on of the guardianship of a powerful message of hope and optimism for a brighter future for all of the children and young people that we serve.

I have every confidence in Steve, I have had the pleasure of getting to know him a little since his appointment, he is really going to be great and he will do a better job than I could in this next phase.

And for me – it feels fitting that this is the job I really cannot replace, the role that will never find it’s match in my heart, the organisation, and most especially the staff team, that really, finally, cannot be surpassed.