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Looking back, moving forward

2016 certainly proved to be an unusual year, with major political upheaval in the UK and the USA, the impact of which we haven’t even begun to feel, and the murder of Jo Cox MP.  For Community Links it was a year of gains and some losses but we approach 2017 with enthusiasm and the promise of new beginnings that a new year offers, even if symbolically.

We had many major achievements and successes in 2016 some of the highlights of which were our “Life through Lenses exhibition” attended by Emmerdale stars, we restructured our sub-committees, launched a new website, refreshed our vision, mission and values, retained IIP gold, are still a Best Company and were highly commended in the Charity Awards for our Community Interventions Team.

We gained business in Barnsley, York and Leeds, launched our social prescribing partnership “Connect Well” and held a number of events for our service users including summer galas, Black history month celebrations, Eid, Diwali and Xmas parties, we joined in Carnival and Pride in Leeds and York. We said hello and waved goodbye to a number of colleagues. All of this puts our setbacks into perspective.

What does 2017 hold for Community Links? I predict another year of “change – no change”. With the external environment being so turbulent and we can feel dizzy with changes that do happen, we can find that in reality not that much changes on a day to day basis.

So let’s get back to basics. First and foremost, 2017 will be a year of continuing to focus on achieving excellence in pioneering life-changing mental health and well-being services; forging partnerships with other organisations that are working for change. We need to continue to focus on supporting our employees and volunteers as they are our greatest asset, at Community Links we really do “value people”

Clearly we will be saying goodbye to some of our lovely colleagues at the end of March, it wouldn’t be right not to acknowledge this and to mark this ending. There are also many, many opportunities that surround us at the moment; the time is right to be prepared to take full advantage of these whether it be new business, new partnerships, new areas to work in. We need to be flexible and agile in order to respond but at all times – and I am sure this will be tested – behave with integrity. If people feel they can trust you they will want to “do business” with you, they will feel safe being supported by you and this will enable everyone to flourish. I want 2017 to be a year where we can all thrive, not just survive which is the danger when resources are scarce where we can all at the end of the day still go home feeling that we have done a good job, thinking of ideas as to how we can make things better tomorrow and continue to take a real pride in what we do.

Looks like our refreshed vision and values really do hit the mark.

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