The opportunity to take time to learn, reflect, pause, reach out to others, connect, support and bring it all together has been amazing! Thanks to the funding from Power to Change we have had resources that have allowed us to support the building of the movement in the co-operative and care sectors, learn alongside others and take steps towards realising our vision of great care that works for everyone involved. Here are a few things we have learnt that feel worth sharing…
We’re holding this big slate.
Sue, one of our board team members, our Nominated Individual, and also one of the researchers on Sharing Care has coined this sentence and we have all felt it land. Each of us is in a corner of this complexly shaped thing, sometimes others join to support us holding it as well, and the moment one of us lets go, it gets that bit heavier. We’ve been through all sorts of pinch points – minor crises, and what felt like major crises. We’ve also been through great milestones, achievements, leaps forward. And the team dedication means we are still here and moving forward.
The pit of challenges can feel bottomless.
When we started we thought agreeing on the type of PPE we will use was the hardest thing we did – exploring waste management in our area, finding out innovative new products, debating cost versus environmental impact. It was a very long debate that has helped us set ground rules for our environmentally aware procurement. And then the pandemic arrived. Everything shifted for everyone in many ways. The ripples are felt throughout the societies and systems globally as well as locally. Recruitment. Procurement. Financial pressures.
It’s worth looking at finances again and again...and again.
We held our second AGM on 25th November 2021 and we have been able to tell our members that things are going...we are still here. We are now registered, offering care and support in the community, have a committed team of staff. When we were preparing for the AGM to be able to discuss the current financial situation, we realised that we were on the track, slower, yet moving in the right direction – the hours, days and weeks of looking at, reviewing, throwing out of window, starting from scratch, reviewing again of finances is paying off. The time of so many of our members, experts, supporters, advisors has contributed to this and we are so grateful for all the support. We shall continue to review and reshuffle and again and again.
We are not alone and people want change.
Running learning webinars, holding meetings with community groups, local authorities, being invited to speak at events and conferences has been really affirming. The day to day doing of setting up the care co-op has been hard work and it has been uplifting and re-energising that we have been able to see that others feel really inspired by what we know. We have been speaking with peers from other organisations who have gone through similar struggles, have been able to share our creative solutions to some of the challenges and recognise ourselves that, as pioneers, we are doing what we can to make the care co-op a success.
Most importantly, we hear from people that they want change in care and when we have been able to offer care and support in our community the way we want we have had great feedback!
We don’t have it all worked out it – far from it – we are committed to keeping learning, consulting with our staff and volunteers, getting our members engaged and drawing on the support of the community when we can while offering our learning, wisdom as well.
Great care can make living good lives possible.