The Joy of Planning

Each winter Cyrenians gets everyone involved in taking stock and refreshing our vision and plans. We’re just concluding that process. As ever, it’s been fascinating and invigorating. Our trustees will sign off the up-dated Corporate Strategy in the next few weeks. And then, whoosh!

In November we had Professor Jo Armstrong from the Centre for Public Policy for Regions at our Trustee Conference. She confirmed what we thought: it’s going to be tough times for a long time ahead for people on the margins and those needing funding to try to help them.

Looking at our annual results in December gave us quite a lift. More people helped and with greater effect. January and February were filled with many great conversations with our customers, practitioners, volunteers, partner organisations, funders and allies.

To some this extended planning process every year might seem a bit indulgent and introspective. I need to say that the pace of day-to-day work in helping people and innovating new ventures never slackens. It somehow all gets done.

It’s been a real joy to share knowledge and insight with such a range of people who are passionate about making a difference for people in tough times and making Scotland a more caring community. There are some great ideas coming through into the plans for the future. And what challenges we have!

– Welfare reforms will push some our most vulnerable citizens into more fragile circumstances. We’ll be launching a raft of initiatives to provide more practical help as a hand-up, not a hand out (More of this anon)

Trainees at Cyrenians Farm

– With more people just one mistake or one bad break from losing their home we’ll try to roll out our unique prevention service across Scotland

– We’ll be stepping up our efforts to prevent the most challenging and yet vulnerable young people from rejecting and being rejected by society, and helping them turn things around for good

– With there being little real prospect of sustainable jobs for the least employable and a punishing welfare regime, charities like Cyrenians play an important role as advocates in preventing unjust decisions and helping those left near destitute, but our big push will be in helping them to become more employable and creating jobs through our enterprises.

– The second NHS Community Garden gets underway this summer at Midlothian Community Hospital with the prospect of the model continuing to replicate further, providing great places for communities to grow together in well-being

Probably our biggest challenge will be finding new ways of achieving all of the above (and more) with much less public sector funding about.

Please consider becoming a regular supporter of Cyrenians

Des Ryan (CEO)


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