I am, for the first time in a long time, writing these from somewhere other than my house.

Watchet East Quay development.
Watchet East Quay development.

I am in Watchet to see Onion Collective and the Watchet Coastal Communities Team talk about the next phase of their Place Based Social Action work, that we are supporting them with. I used the opportunity of a morning meeting to come and see them on Sunday, and what a pleasure it is to see a wider circle of friends in real life. I’ve had the return of local friends, and immediate work friends, and longer trips to family, but that next scale outwards of non-local friends has been greatly missed.

It also gave me an opportunity to see the progress at the East Quay development. It’s impressive to see just how much has been done in the last few years.

People and projects

In looking back at my diary, I spent a very large chunk of the week spending time with new colleagues, talking to colleagues about new projects, winding down old projects, or rejuvenating long-term projects. There was nothing in my diary that felt ‘big’ this week, but it felt like one of those weeks where all the wheels are turning and things are progressing.

I said it last week, but it’s so great having new people coming into the team – it feels so invigorating.

My network

This time, three years ago, I was coming to the end of a leadership course with On Purpose. I was part of the second cohort (ultimately there were only ever three cohorts) of social sector leaders who went through a six-month leadership programme with On Purpose, as they branched out from their usual business model.

Whilst it didn’t work for On Purpose, it was amazing for me, and I have stayed in touch and good friends with the eight people who were on that course with me. Most of us are still in the same roles, and we’ve heard about all of organisational and personal ups and downs in that period. We’ve had ongoing action learning sets, and then more informal meet-ups and lunches. To be able to talk to people who are in a similar position to you, and who you trust, is an incredibly powerful thing. I feel very lucky to have them. It was lovely to meet up in St James’s Park this week after work, and see where everyone was at. Not all of us could be there, but those who couldn’t make it were messaging in. I feel very fortunate to know them.

Also, the elephants in the parks are amazing.

A large wooden elephant in the park.
100 life size elephant sculptures have taken up residence in London’s Royal Parks for 6 weeks.

Reading, listening and watching

Despite not really caring that much about England (I’m a club over country fan when it comes to football), I have enjoyed watching a few of the games in the Euros.

I also watched Our Friend. It’s not the best film that you’ll ever watch, and reaches for a lot of emotional cliches of other health/ family films, but the fundamental story of a friend giving up their life for as long as it took, to just be there for his friends was genuinely incredible. The film is based on this essay by Matthew Teague. I haven’t stopped thinking about that incredible gift, and just how amazing it is to do that for somebody else.

John Hitchin CEO