Win some, lose some

Those of you following the CIH Rising Stars competition will have seen that last Monday one of the other finalists was crowned the winner (here we are just before the announcement was made).

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I’ve said for a few weeks that I wouldn’t like to call who would win as I thought all three of us did a great job of the tasks we were set and have a lot to offer the sector. I also said I would be completely gutted if I didn’t win.

So it came as a shock to me when I felt relatively ok when it wasn’t my name that Martin Hilditch and Grania Long read out. I think this is because being a finalist has opened up so many doors and opportunities already, I wasn’t relying on winning to provide these. And what has been important to me throughout the competition is that I can promote my work at Futures Homesape and also my idea of getting out there and working in new and creative ways with partners to meet housing need rather than waiting for Government funding and policy announcements. It was less important to me to have the glory of winning and the achievement for my CV.

In fact I think not winning will have its advantages (I would say that though wouldn’t I!) as there will be less pressure and expectation and I will have the freedom to quietly pursue my chosen interests.

So free of the responsibility of winning, I enjoyed the rest of the awards dinner on Monday night with my lovely work mates, fellow Rising Stars, CIH and Ocean Media colleagues. The dinner featured Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomspon as the speaker and presenter of the Housing Heroes awards and one thing in particular that she said resonated with me: “I’ve lost more than I’ve won”. I find Olympic and Paralympic athletes incredibly inspiring due to their unbelievable determination, enduring motivation, resilience, physical and mental strength, commitment to their sport, etc. I think it’s amazing what they go through and amazing what they achieve. This is something I need to remind myself of more often when I think some insignificant, easily-addressed issue is the end of the world!

Following the awards dinner, I stayed in Manchester to enjoy the full three days of the CIH conference. I’ve been to the conference before but only for one of the three days and previously it’s been quite a lonely experience as my network was quite limited. Due to my involvement with CIH East Midlands and HQN, for the first time this year I found myself bumping into all sorts of people and having a quick catch up. I even met some Twitter friends in the flesh!

I’ve still to digest the notes I made at the conference before I could say what I got out of it, but a couple of things spring to mind:
– discussing PRS policy and good practice with CIH colleagues and hopefully I will be spending a day with them to find out even more and contribute my insight to their work;
– hearing David Cowans from Places for People talk about their approach: ‘the best way to predict the future is to invent it, we can do it, lets get on with it’, I agreed with everything he had to say and he was the best speaker of the week in my opinion. I’d like to learn a lot more about the PfP approach;
– being completely uninspired and quite annoyed by Kris Hopkins MP and Eric Pickles MP who deny all sorts of facts and figures that everyone in housing knows to be true;
– sharing good practice on Health and Housing with Gentoo colleagues which I will feed into the November CIH East Midlands event on that very topic.

However, by the end of the three days I was itching to get back to the office and do something practical, all the endless debating, commenting, political arguing and talking about talking to ourselves too much (!) was taking its toll on me.

So whilst the Rising Stars competition and the CIH Manchester conference are done and dusted for another year, their impact will be long lasting and I’ve plenty of things I want to do as a result of them and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with future blog posts.

For now, I will leave you with a picture of me meeting Lewis the Dulux dog (yes the actual one from the advert!) :)

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