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Life is a celebration…..

9 July 2018

Image from The Kids From Fame Media Blog

Kids from Fame was the fodder of my early teens, and I unashamedly rewound the soundtrack until my mixed tape was nearly worn through. The vibrancy of life, the diversity, the humour and the spontaneous dancing in the canteen seemed a world away from 1980’s Croydon. One of my favourites was ‘Life is a Celebration’ – a massive tribute to living in the now.  

I found myself humming away to this as the last week unfolded, where at every turn there seemed to be a reason to celebrate life. The first of these, was of course, the opportunity for members, friends and partners of NCF to come together to celebrate 25 years of the organisation.

Over bubbles and afternoon tea, we were inspired by Sharon Allen, CEO of Skills for Care and Professor Bob Hudson from the University of Canterbury. Invited to reflect on the journey that social care has been on so far, and what the future might hold. Professor Hudson particularly asked us to reflect on a number of significant anniversaries for social care, somewhat masked by the intensity of the 70 year NHS celebrations.

However, as he reminded us, 70 years ago the National Assistance Act came into force, creating the social care state, and 50 years ago the Seebohm report was launched, providing us with the model of modern day social services.

The NHS celebrations kicked in properly on the official birthday, 5th July. Whilst there was some valiant pushback on social media, reminding the world of the birth of the NHS’s partner in provision, there was little of note about social care within the mainstream. However, the contribution of this magnificent NHS to the health and wellbeing of our community as a whole was a cause worth cheering – and I noted a wide range of members sharing their own personal tributes to the NHS including this nice clip from OSJCT CEO Dan Hayes.

Fast forward to Saturday, and the celebratory mood went on. London was host to the 46th annual Pride March. This key event in the LGBT calendar was recognised by a number of NCF members, with Hanover, Homegroup, Hestia and others marking the importance of this in showing support for LGBT staff and people they support. Last week saw the release of the largest ever survey into the experience of LGBT people living in the UK, and showed that there remained high levels of discrimination in every walk of life. Therefore it is also important to note in June, Open Doors London launched its Pride in Care Kitemark to support care organisations in providing a positive and welcome environment for members of the LGBT society.

In between these two events, I found myself strutting my stuff in Blackpool. I was invited by NCF Member, Making Space to join their annual Celebration of Happiness. In the awe inspiring setting of the Blackpool tower I was privileged to join hundreds of the people Making Space support, and team members from across the country in a bonanza of happiness including singing, dancing (with the Strictly stars), tea and cake, mindfulness and relaxation. It is so important to take time out to have fun together and Making Space certainly know how to celebrate.

We have had a little taste of what it is like to do celebrate as a nation again, around the national obsession of football. In amongst all of the parties in pubs, and bonanzas in bars – I suspect for a period of time there were also some real celebrations being held across Whitehall – where the political bounce from such a win is a great way to soften difficult news. (However, based on this morning’s announcements regarding the resignation of David Davis and the appointment of Dominic Raab as Brexit secretary – I suspect the bounce may go. Next week’s headline might not be quite so upbeat…. If you’re interested in hearing more about Dominc Raab, I recommend listening to The BBC’s Nick Robinson podcast which came out last Thursday.

So, whilst times are most definitely hard, let’s remember that  – in the fine words of Coco and Danny from the Kids from Fame – Life is a Celebration…….and in social care we must ‘celebrate now, celebrate, life’ – and for those of you old enough, or curious enough to revisit the Kids from Fame here is the link – and I challenge you not to tap those toes!!

(Image from The Kids From Fame Media Blog)

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