Community Newsletter | 2nd November 2020

Alderney, Guernsey | November 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope this this finds you safe and well. I’m back to our weekly newsletters after a very long break.

I think the global pandemic has affected us in so every many inexplicable ways. As we entered lockdown in April, I received many emails and messages from our community and I wanted to keep in touch much more regularly than the ‘three times a year’ newsletter. I loved the weekly diary between March and mid-July that most of you remember. Then, I just didn’t feel like doing it anymore. It’s so hard to figure out why, but recently I have been reading and listening to podcasts exploring ideas around vulnerability, courage and leadership. On the one hand, it might seem a little grandiose to be claiming difficulties with ‘leadership’ when Children for Health is such a small organisation – albeit with a huge and growing network. But as a founder, as well as the CEO of Children for Health, I am its leader!

By July, I felt exhausted by the hours and days and weeks of the seemingly endless chase for funding to replace the contracts and events we expected and lost due to Covid-19. So, I decided to start my annual August retreat early and now it’s the 2nd November and this is my first newsletter since July. It’s not that I am not working – it’s just that I didn’t feel like communicating when I was feeling as I did.

The leadership lessons I’m learning – and most especially from Brené Brown – is about staying IN and WITH uncertainty; using risk and emotional exposure to find creativity. It’s not about – trying to do all I can to find my balance and feel better and when I do, get back to leading – I see now that it’s about making vulnerability PART of leading. This takes courage, I know.

Today was a dreadful day, a close ally rejected a proposal for an idea we have been working on with them for many years – when the time could not be better to develop this idea. So, this newsletter is sent on a difficult day of disappointment but on a day when I have to live into my values of community (YOU), creativity (this) and courage (leading right now).

So – HELLO! And please let me know if this is resonating with you. Please get in touch and let’s talk about it.

Some highlights from the months I’ve been away from you (apart from recognising vulnerability and figuring out a way to be at peace with its constant presence anyway!) have included:

  1. My son DANIEL – getting the results he needed to get to the University of Bristol where he is studying Film and Television Production. Dan’s university days started by getting asymptomatic Covid-19 and staying in isolation with four flatmates he had never met before for three weeks. He proved himself resilient.
  2. My daughter BEATRICE is back at university to do her second year. The whole situation has been so tough on university students including her.
  3. Number 1 and 2 on this list are very relevant to 3; I now have two children living away from home. This has liberated me to travel back to Alderney – an island in the British Channel and one of the few places in the world where there has been no Covid-19. So, after a strict 14-day isolation I am now living a normal life. My elderly mother (93) lives on the island with my brother. So, I am able to enjoy life with family and friends here and NO virus.Here is a favourite photo that I took a week after I came out of isolation which seems symbolic of the treasured peace I’ve found here, for now.
    The rainbow looks as if it ends on a pot of gold. This is in fact one of many sand balls sculpted by Andy Goldsworthy for an art installation created nine years ago! See here for more details
  4. There is a lot more news to share with you given my 3-month absence BUT I think this is almost enough for today. Almost because it would be careless not to send you links to our TWO NEW STORYBOOKS both published last month. Both storybooks feature characters from other Children for Health storybooks. They are aimed at children aged 9-14 and is for children of this age to read to younger children. In the back of the story books there are activities sections with lots of questions and fun activities for teachers and older children to use.
    • Unlocked! is a story about a group of friends whose lives are affected by a global pandemic. When they are asked to go into ‘lockdown’ their greatest problem is the boredom, sadness and worry they feel for themselves, their families and their friends. Through a magical adventure, the children learn how to increase their feelings of well-being and resilience and how to help others do the same.
    • Shooting Stars is a story about girls supporting each other to participate in sports. A group of girls overcome their feelings of shame for wanting to play volleyball. They are helped by a professional volleyball player who inspires the girls and the school community. The girls learn that through sport they can develop their self-confidence and life skills as well as having a lot of fun together.

Thank you for reading!


P.S. See below a picture of me (two hats – far right) with my swimming group. I’m swimming each day at 07:30 whatever the weather and we all take it in turns to make soup for the group, which we have on the beach before returning home for a hot shower.