Thank you. Two little words that hold such great strength. Thank you to everyone at NJH. The young people, their families, the NJH team, the Directors; Julia and Stewart Cowan, Dr Irene Stevens, Maureen Anderson, and everyone who I have come across during my NJH Journey. A huge thank you to the Residential child care community and all the organisations that have supported us and me over the past 3 years. I am profoundly grateful to be part of such an inspirational community.
NJH has been a place of great learning and growth for me. It has been an opportunity to embrace residential child care in a way that encompasses all of my beliefs about loving, caring, encouraging and believing in children.
The list of memories is enormous, but these are more than moments. These are feelings. NJH is a really special place and is filled with a host of extremely special, kind and wonderful people. From the children and young people who have allowed us to love them, care for them and to be part of their journey to the team of carers who are dedicated, committed and willing to learn and grow to ensure they give their best selves. I don’t think any words would be able to capture the true essence of all that NJH is.
It’s different to each person who walks through the door, it holds unique meaning and purpose and will inevitably hold different memories and experiences. But for me NJH is and always will be a little bubble of hope and belief.
I joined NJH in March 2018 and have been privileged to watch it grow and develop. The team of carers have evolved, took on challenges and have created opportunities at every possible moment. Our young people have also evolved. Some have moved on; some have kept in touch and some continue their journey with us. Fundamental to all of this has been an unwavering appetite that every young person will feel loved, at home and supported to become the person they want to be. To experience the opportunities they desire, and to look forward to a future where they are surrounded by adults who believe in them.
Residential child care is about to undergo the biggest challenge of it’s time in Scotland. The Promise is going to encourage, push and ensure that the future care we are able to provide to our children and young people is first class. NJH already fully embraces the importance of the role we are honoured with and this in itself allows me to move on to my new role feeling extremely proud to have been part of the NJH journey. NJH will #KeepThePromise. Of this I have no doubt. The Team are clear on their vision and values and are committed to embracing every opportunity to succeed for our children and young people.
In the summer of 2019, we embarked on a journey. Together. We created, alongside our young people, our vision and values. We wanted to be clear about what we represented and what we wanted ever person to walk through our doors to feel. Love, Live, Laugh, Learn, Nurture, Joy and Hope. These are perfect. They clearly define what NJH brings to the lives of our children and young people and also our carers. In March 2021, our young people decided to revamp one of the rooms in the house. They were given free reign and they chose our shield of values to go on the feature wall. Make of this what you will. But for me it’s meaning is very clear, very powerful and very heard.
The last 14 months have been filled with challenges and moments where we have all felt overwhelmed. In the midst of this, NJH, the young people and the team created opportunities! We learned together, grew together and most of all, just were together. Our biggest lesson……..the value of time. Taking the time to take in our surroundings……because trust me, this matters.
Being able to work with our team and young people to write a journal article for SJRCC during such a chaotic period really was the icing on the cake. Capturing all that learning and understanding. The realisation of the wider world, the recognition of our young people that they are part of this and can and do contribute………..well, there are no words for the pride I feel for them.
My time at NJH has been a real journey. It has challenged me in ways I hadn’t expected and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone on many occasions. I have failed and then picked myself up determined to get there. Not for me but for all of those who have stood by my side at NJH and dusted themselves off ready to go again. I’ve watched our young people trip up and quickly feel the arms of the carers around them, reassuring them that it will be ok. I’ve watched the carers falter and witnessed their colleagues boost them and our young people remind them that mistakes are inevitable.
My biggest lesson – failure is so important in the journey to success and how you measure that success can only be determined by you. We are all individual. All unique. There is a diamond in all of us and sometimes we need a hand to polish it. Residential child care is the best job in the world. Of this I have got no doubts. Just make sure you have your cloth ready.
Lots of Love