I’m sat here writing this on a dark, very wet May morning. Back at home after walking my girls to school. Sat in a bedroom with furniture piled up around me as we are mid-way through yet another DIY lockdown project.
What a snapshot this morning brings into the year that we’ve all had - As we’ve moved from being based in offices to being based at homes, to challenging the limits of where home and work start and end, and where family life and work life have never been more integrated.
It’s with a huge amount of pride that we launch our annual report into what TLC: Talk, Listen, Change achieved over the last 12 months and I am constantly blown away by the journey that all of our team have been on. Like most organisations across our fabulous sector, last March saw us totally transform our organisation from one that was based on face to face delivery to one that over a week became an organisation able to deliver services remotely and digitally.
I couldn’t be prouder of the journey we have been on as an organisation over the last 12 months. Every member of our team has worked so hard to adapt as we’ve continued service delivery throughout all of the last year.
“I would love to get to the place where our charity is no longer needed, because everyone is surrounded by a circle of safe, healthy and happy relationships”.
We’ve learnt new skills, we’ve adapted how we communicate, we’ve delivered differently and we’ve grown and mobilised new work. We’ve worked flexibly, as we’ve juggled childcare, home schooling, caring responsibilities and bereavement. I believe in the power of authenticity and the beauty of being able to bring your whole self to work and this year we’ve done that in bucket loads.
We’ve laughed together, cried together, held each other up and learnt together. We’ve also made mistakes along the way and made huge decisions about our organisational shape and footprint. There is so much I am proud of over the last year and so much I am grateful for.
But also, launching our annual report makes me sad.
Every charity has a mission and vision they believe in, aiming to make the world a better place for those we are here to serve. Ours is to support safe, healthy and happy relationships for all. I would love to get to the place where TLC: Talk, Listen, Change is no longer needed because everyone is surrounded by a circle of safe, healthy and happy relationships and our services no longer serve a purpose.
But this year, I’m sad, because demand for our services has been higher than ever.
Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be prouder of how our team have adapted and risen to meet that demand but I’m sad that the demand is there in the first place.
We’ve seen first hand how the pandemic has impacted on relationships. We’ve worked alongside people who have been lonely and isolated, those in couple relationships which have strained to breaking point and with children and young people who’ve struggled with the constant change. We’ve seen levels of risk in some of our domestic abuse work escalate and heard heart breaking stories of loss.
But we’ve also seen hope, strength and resilience. We’ve seen people start their journey to change, make new choices, forge a new path and start feeling stronger. We’ve been able to play a part in the stories of many people this year.
As we move into this new stage of life, with restrictions starting to ease and things beginning to open up again, we move forward with a spring in our step. Determined to keep working our very best for all those in need of relationship support, proud of what we have achieved in the year that has gone but also ready to meet the challenge of what is still to come, whatever that may be and however that may look.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s report and the opportunity to take some time to reflect on what we’ve learnt on the way. I hope you’ll join us on our journey.