“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to” – TLC, 1995.
The TLC girl band hit, Waterfalls, coincided with my first year at secondary school and until 6 months ago I probably associated the acronym TLC with two things – the lyrics above from the pop song or the term Tender Loving Care.
For me TLC will now always mean Talk, Listen, Change - Greater Manchester’s own relationships charity which officially launched on 1st April 2017.
Whilst sticking to the same rivers and lakes that you’re used to can offer comfort and security, isn’t it good to also embrace the new? The new which can be exciting, progressive and innovative.
Well, that is what we decided to do.
Welcome to our new charity TLC: Talk, Listen, Change - Greater Manchester’s own relationship charity. Filling the gap for an integrated relationship organisation that offers a range of support across the board, we’re excited about all the potential people we can help.
"My diary is packed full of meetings to attend, decisions to make, opportunities to consider and partnerships to develop"
This blog will tell the story of a year in the life of TLC: Talk, Listen, Change – through the eyes of me, Michelle Hill, Chief Executive.
It will be full of my hopes, my fears, the highs, the lows and hopefully an underlying sense of belief and passion in what we do: improving emotional wellbeing and personal resilience through supporting safe, healthy and happy relationships.
So, what are we going to be doing?
TLC: Talk, Listen, Change is a relationships charity. We will focus on improving emotional well being and personal resilience through healthy and happy relationships.
We believe that everyone needs to be surrounded by a circle of support around all areas of their lives and as such we are interested in supporting all relationships. It could be the relationship with yourself, the relationship with a partner or previous partner, with friends or family, with school or work or with the wider community.
We offer a whole range of support, therapies and programmes of work to enable us to do this. We deliver services to people of all ages. We deliver services to individuals, couples, families and communities. We are based in Greater Manchester but not limited by geography. Currently, we offer services in Manchester, Stockport, Salford, Tameside, Trafford, Oldham and Rochdale.
Who came up with the name?
We had over 50 suggestions for our new name from members of staff and trustees. The person who suggested the name TLC: Talk, Listen, Change sent me this covering note with her suggestion:
"Whatever you need, we offer a proven pathway to change. Healthy, desirable change. The kind of change that will enable you to feel and to be at your best. The kind of change that leads to genuine happiness and genuine wellbeing."
How do we know we can help?
First, because of the skill and experience of our many therapists, counsellors and other specialist staff.
Second, because we truly do understand the things that will support you on your journey to change.
You need the space to talk – not just to anyone, but to people who will really hear you. You need the opportunity to listen – even when listening can feel difficult to do. And you need a safe, confidential environment to do it in – helped at every step along the way by people who, you can be certain, will always have your best interests at heart.
Talk, Listen … Change. By now you’ll be able to see how we arrived at our name. TLC.
Of course, TLC also stands for Tender Loving Care. And we’re happy about that. As you get to know us, you’ll discover we offer you plenty of that too.
It resounded with me then and it still does now. After this suggestion, there was no need to consider anything more. And I am so proud, that the suggestion was from a member of our team too.
"I feel so privileged to be leading us through this new first chapter of our organisation."
So, what happened on day 1?
After 6 months in the making, we finally launched on 1st April 2017. (Definitely not an April Fools joke)! 1st April 2017 was a Saturday but that didn’t stop the text messages and tweets of excitement from everyone involved. I don’t think I had ever experienced a sense of euphoria in work before like I did when I woke up on Saturday morning and realised we’d done it.
The last 6 months or so have probably been the most challenging and most rewarding of my career to date. All our trustees, our staff and volunteers voted unanimously back in December 2016 that we should become the new organisation TLC: Talk, Listen, Change (we used to be part of the Relate Federation) and knowing that everyone has been fully bought in to the vision and strategy of change has kept me uplifted when the going has been tough over the last few months.
I have been continuously blown away by my team who have worked SO hard, SO quickly, SO creatively and SO consistently to enable our launch to be a reality. I feel so privileged to be leading us through this new first chapter of our organisation.
We have now started in earnest our journey as a new charity. My diary is packed full of meetings to attend, decisions to make, opportunities to consider and partnerships to develop. I am looking forward to a pace of work which is a bit less frantic than the last 6 months have been, but most of all, I am so excited about the year ahead as we strive to establish TLC: Talk, Listen, Change as Greater Manchester’s own relationships charity.
I hope you will join us on our journey.
Thanks for reading.