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Irrepressible Optimists

Well what a year for Community Links…full of highs and lows, but we are not alone.
Key findings from a review of Third sector trends in the North of England show that the sector :

• Is a powerhouse
• has strong relationships, incl. with business
• has considerable resilience
• has experienced a fundamentally uneven impact of austerity
• are Irrepressible optimists?

Are we as a sector really irrepressibly optimistic or are we pragmatically optimistic?  Can we maintain our belief that we will prevail with the ability to acknowledge our current situation, whatever that may be. (Jim Collins, Good to Great)

The festive break provided for many the perfect opportunity to take stock on the last twelve months and plan for the year ahead. The first quarter of 2017 organisationally was truly challenging. We lost a contract and another was taken in -house, we had to restructure our central services and there were a number of significant changes in personnel. With hard work and determination from many of our wonderful employees (you know who you are) we kept the faith that we would continue to be successful and made plans to ensure this.

We succeeded. We ended 2017 in a great place being place 9th in the top 50 most inclusive organisations, finalist in 3 categories of the third Sector Care awards and re-gaining our 2 * best company status. We were also successful in winning tenders to deliver dementia services in Kirklees and Leeds.

All of these things are important as they enable us to reflect on and recognise the great work our employees do on a daily basis, recruit and retain the best employees, who in turn can provide the best services to our service users, and to expand the number of service users we work with in order to support them in improving the quality of their lives, inspiring hope and change.

All this in an environment of great change and uncertainty, were it ever any different? With great change comes great opportunity, the opportunity to be better, more effective, to be a game changer.

Our future at Community Links is a positive one but it’s not without its challenges and we must not be blind to these. Re-tendering of services, budget pressures, inflation, complexity of work will all be present.  A New Year gives us the opportunity to imagine a positive future putting behind us all our difficulties but it seems that we may be more successful if we accept our difficulties rather than trying to forget them.

Happy 2018!

Ruth Kettle, Chief Executive