Farewell, everyone - Tom Scott
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost six years since I walked into the National Resource Centre to take up my role as CEO of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland.
In that period a huge amount of work has taken place and, together – staff, service users, members, Branches, volunteers, funders, and Board – we have achieved so much. At times we have been able to punch well above our weight, securing grants, benefitting from fundraising, and winning awards that are usually the experience of much larger organisations.
We have achieved this through honest, and sometimes difficult, discussion, through thinking creatively, and by being the most professional organisation we can be in light of the limited resources we have at hand.
Combined with my time at Shine (in England, Wales and NI), I have now worked with spina bifida and hydrocephalus for a decade. I have seen first-hand the complexities involved with living with one or both of the conditions, and I have worked to do all I can to take on the most significant challenges faced by those who know SB/H to be a reality in their lives.
The approach has been strategic, building on layers of improvement year on year so that SBHI is in a position not just to make temporary improvements, but to move towards permanent change. I don’t need to tell you all that this is an incredibly difficult process. So much is against us in terms of the lack of understanding around SB/H, yet we can never allow this to be our main focus. Our sights must be on the positive, on what can be changed, and on seeking out the ways to make this change happen.
The various teams across SBHI all have this as their focus, every staff member is dedicated to the mission, and everyone involved understands the need for greater advocacy, accountability, and achievement in realising these goals.
There is no doubt that the requirements of better governance, for increased funding, and for the need of greater professionalism present challenges additional to those defined by SB/H as conditions. Every charity in Ireland is united by the reality of these processes, and the leadership of SBHI know that there is no other way to run a contemporary non-profit organisation. It will only be by pulling together in all these different areas of SBHI that sustainability will be maintained, and that ongoing change for those living with SB/H will be realised.
My hope is that the platform built since 1968 and then developed over the last six years will be the foundation for the full potential of everyone involved to be realised. In the coming weeks you will see a few exciting developments revealed which will take everyone another step closer in realising this potential, and I look forward to seeing how this develops as an ongoing member of the SBH community in Ireland.
To end, I wish to thank you all for everything, all the events, meetings, fundraising, laughs, tears, and everything in between. Never give up the fight for equality, never let anyone tell you that you are worth anything less than the very best – and always remember, it is YOUR potential, never let it go.
- Tom Scott, 29/04/2021