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Farewell from Programme Manager Lindsay Henderson

What Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead has meant to me
By Lindsay Henderson, FLNG Programme Manager


Today was my last day at Fulfilling Lives Newcastle Gateshead (FLNG) after four amazing years and what a lovely send-off I have been given by all the amazing people I’ve worked with over the years. Cards, gifts and the biggest balloon I have seen in my whole life! I feel a bit weird, it hasn’t yet sunk in and I’ve been asking myself what those four years have meant to me……LOADS is the answer to that.

As I said to the team earlier, I have experienced the very best and the most challenging experiences of my working life during this programme; it’s been both joyous and really hard in equal measure but so, so, so, so worth it and what did I expect?!? I’m really proud of the team and what we’ve achieved and hope to continue to work with them in my new role at Your Voice Counts!

Today was wonderful and I’m so grateful for all the effort and gorgeous food people brought in however I’m going to reflect on yesterday because, well, because I want to!

The day before your final day in a job is full of all the really boring stuff like sorting out your emails. It’s doing all those things that will help you enjoy your last day and makes you promise to yourself that you’ll be more meticulous with filing in the future (I probably won’t be).

I had something else on my agenda too yesterday so with my filing (mostly) done, I rushed over to Newcastle to catch the end of my very last Experts By Experience (EBE) Network session because I wanted to say goodbye properly, give them a gift and tell them just how amazing they all are, as well as thank them all for their amazing commitment and what they’ve achieved!

The EBE Network is amazing, I love it, and it’s been the best part of this job to watch it grow over the last four years. At their meeting yesterday there was a mixture of new and long-standing members as well as visitors from a local social prescribing service, invited by Ged the EBE volunteer who they met at an event (love that!). When I got there it was great and there was the usual buzz in the room; sharing their ideas and info about upcoming events and things they are involved in….so much stuff going on!

I was given a slot at the end of the meeting for ten minutes so I was all ready to get started with my gift giving and thanks but how genuinely surprised was I to be interrupted with a tap on the shoulder. I turned round and realised I was about to become the recipient of some gorgeous cards and really thoughtful gifts…… look at these!

I was supposed to be the gift giver here and something happened to me- it really, really moved me. Why was I so moved? Well I’ve thought about this and I was moved because the EBE wanted to do that and in that moment, I witnessed a truly equal exchange of gratitude between team members for hard work and commitment in this system change platform we call FLNG!

To me it represented how far we have come as a programme, how far the Network has developed and what true co-production is. Positive things happen when we truly share power and that moment will stay with me forever – as will my delicious Frida brooch and the lovely night out in the toon that followed with some fab colleagues – (less said about moonwalking the better!!).

I am not sad about leaving, it’s change and I’m a bit used to that in this role! It feels right, it’s in safe hands and I’m ready and excited to help carry on the legacy of FLNG somewhere else – THANK YOU TEAM, you total and utter legends!