Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Over the starting line at last

Yesterday evening the Street Carers' Forum first training evening took place at long last, four months later than planned because of the difficulties that needed to be overcome. The Forum is now a lot clearer about its working policies, and the training evening as delivered was much improved for all the additional thought that went into it.

I had nervously hoped that we'd get as many people turning up as we did for the first few meetings of the Forum this time last year. To my surprise and delight there were double those numbers - 68 volunteers, and seven Council professionals, who did the occasion proud with the presentations they gave. I gather they were pleased as well, because some of them wanted a partnership of this kind since well before the Street Carers themselves realised it was both necessary and possible.

I gave a brief introductory talk about voluntary and public agency partnership, (read it here) citing St John Ambulance as a long established example of partnership, and the Street Pastors as a very new example, barely a year old. People have been engaging in street care work since time immemorial, in both spontaneous and organised ways. There's every reason for it to benefit from closer working with the professional social workers who are out there.

Apart from this I spent much of the evening videoing the proceedings, just in case some of the material could be of use for training in future, or at least as a taster for people hoping to come on the next training evening. I arrived home high on success and stayed up very late video editing unsophisticatedly to preserving as much of the evening's real content as possible. I ended up with eighty minutes of footage, which is over-long for You Tube, so now I have to think about how I can condense this and post it so that Cardiff Street Carers blog readers can access it.

Now that we have the success of an initial training evening behind us, I feel that at last we have crossed the starting line in a really constructive social initiative.

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