After more than eight happy, and I hope fruitful, years I am leaving Adfam at the end of this month. When I joined the organisation in 2010 Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, Paul Hayes was CE of the National Treatment Agency and Fabio Capello was the England manager. None of them wore waistcoats.
Many things have changed since then in politics, policy and football. Government interest in our agenda has waxed and waned. Policy initiatives have been born, died and resurrected. Gareth Southgate has become an exemplar of modern leadership and moral courage. As someone who remembers schoolmates stabbing his newspaper image with a compass after that penalty miss in 1996 this has been quite the turnaround!
Others things haven’t changed at all. There’s still many people in our society struggling with drug or alcohol use as a result of trauma, fragile mental health and their precarious social and economic environments. There’s still millions of people affected by their troubles. And there’s very many parents, children, siblings, partners and friends who love those people dearly and who go through a daily purgatory supporting them to become healthier and happier. The resilience, humour, compassion and insights of the many family members I’ve spoken to, and worked with, over the years has been incredible. And I believe that Adfam, with its fairly rare mix of direct and strategic work, has made a significant contribution to the issue, and certainly been a wonderful organisation to work for.
Most surprising for me, perhaps, is that I’m now succeeding Paul Hayes in the leadership of a national organisation. I’ll be starting my new role at the helm of Collective Voice in mid-August and hope to continue to advocate for families within the wider context of support and treatment. If you'd like to keep in touch feel free to connect on twitter or Linked In or Medium.