Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2011
Update April 2012
Since being interviewed for the Clore Social Fellowship, the organisation I lead, Comas, has grown, with a 100% increase in turnover and many new leadership challenges. We have been awarded two separate grants from the Scottish Government in recognition of the national contribution of different areas of our work, which endorses our capacity for innovation whilst bringing new thresholds for the reach of the social leadership and the scope of the social change we aspire to achieve. We remain a small organisation with the attendant challenges of financial instability and low staff capacity, but these are offset by a hugely committed team who really love to work here.
During this period, having the Fellowship behind me as a resource of inspiration, advice and support from staff and other Fellows has been a solid scaffolding. It has given me the opportunity to step back from the day to day tasks and reflect on my own leadership and my organisation’s leadership, in a context of healthy questioning, prodding and reminder: there is a world outside the Comas window. Like most busy people, without the structure of residentials and action learning sets provided by Clore, it is unlikely I would have protected the time to do this. Now that the structured first year is over, continuing to make time for this during the second year of the part-time Fellowship will be, perhaps, more challenging than completing the research and secondment components of the Fellowship.
In the coming year I look forward to learning, through my practice-based research project, more about prevention of burn-out of front line workers in services for vulnerable people. I am aware of how much ‘helping’ work tends to be undervalued, and by contrast, what a high value investment the Fellowship has been in me and by extension, in Comas. The coming year is the year of ‘giving something back’ through my research and my secondment, after the previous year of enjoying receiving the stimulation and support of the Clore Social Fellowship.
Personal website/ blog: comas_scotland.silvrback.com/
Current principal role: CEO and Founder
Current principal organisation: Comas
Research: Keep the Vital Spark - burn out in lifeline services in the third sector
Research topics: Health and well-being;
Secondment host: Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council