Of relaxation and change

How to start a blog after two weeks of holiday? Do I tell you about music festivals and weddings and time spent playing mobile phone games, of traffic jams and burnt out trucks and the taste of German lager? Should I talk about avoiding the news, all news, for nearly two weeks? How about my reaction to the appalling assault on Owen Jones, to the ongoing political situation which means that on top of everything else the long-awaited reform of the Gender Recognition Act is most definitely kicked into the long grass? So many things to talk about but I think that perhaps you are most interested in what’s going on with Chrysalis and so perhaps returning after a holiday is the best time for a bit of reflection and a catch up for everyone.

We are nearly two years into my tenure, I hope that you are pleased with what I have achieved. It has been a fantastic journey and one that we are still only at the start of. As everyone knows transition is a process and we never really stop changing and developing. In life and work I like to obtain a consensus, find the best possible path that meets the needs of the majority, taking both a short term and a longer view. Consulting and questioning, checking and balancing. Working to our strengths and developing where we need to. The help and support Chrysalis has received over the years is beyond incredible: the dedication of our volunteers and staff, the amount of hours everyone gives; donations from those near and far; offers of support and advice from a wide variety of professionals; grant funders who have seen what we offer and trusted in our vision for the future.

This would be a very long blog if I listed every achievement and change so here’s just a few: the office is now open Monday – Friday 9:30 -3pm; thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund we have funding for over 50 staff hours a week, taking us to just over a whopping two full time equivalent members of staff; we have recruited a new Fundraising and Social Media Officer and Project Coordinator; our support is available to all trans+ people, binary and non-binary, and their friends and families; we have new groups open in Portsmouth and Bournemouth with more on the cards; we have funding and security for five years and the breathing space to develop a sound and robust charity fit for purpose and with flexibility for the future; we have advisors and management consultants who have worked across the globe volunteering for us; we have an incredible team of volunteers at each and every group with a great mix of qualified and developing counsellors and facilitators; we have a new financial management system; lots of robust policies and procedures; and yes, last but not least, we have Office 365 and a coherent, connected communications system.

If you want to find out more, are interested in getting involved or want to join a group then why not come to see us at SouthamptonPride.org on Saturday 24th August or contact the office for an invitation to our Bournemouth launch on 6th September?

What’s on this week?

Well firstly I get to catch up with Super Dawn, can you believe it’s been almost a month since we have spoken? It is real testament to how much we have developed and strengthened as an organisation that everything continued to run smoothly in her absence. I get to catch up with everything that happened here in the last two weeks, I can see some shredding occurred, so I know we’re working towards clearing out the debris of many years. It was Carole’s last day on the 14th, I wish her well in her new endeavour and [secretly] hope to welcome her back as a volunteer in the future. The diary shows me that Laura was in on Friday so I’m looking forward to finding out how that went. Laura joins the team as our Meeting Centre and Volunteer Coordinator, working three days a week and soon to be attending a group near you.

Tomorrow I’m over in Bournemouth meeting with the team and Bournemouth Uni. It’s great to be building relationships in our neighbouring county.

Wednesday it’s time to focus on Portsmouth, thanks to Rosie we have a new Portsmouth area champion watch out for posters and flyers and a launch event coming your way soon.

Thursday and Friday are two days of supervision. Can you believe it’s nearly the end of August already? Then last but definitely not least it’s Southampton Pride, I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there, thanks again to all our volunteers who will be staffing the stall and thanks to the Southampton Pride team for all the support they have shown Chrysalis over the years.