Whenever you meet someone for the first time, you can't help but imagine beforehand, what they might be like, and I suppose the titles 'CEO' and 'Director of Operations', had me imagining two very aloof, unapproachable people, turning up in a very big car and using wet wipes after they had shaken hands with me. Not at all! Owen and Ruth dived off the train at Preston and sprinted most of the way to the meeting, pulling themselves together as they arrived at the hotel. Then again you might think, well anyone getting off a train at Preston might want to run for cover!
They are very nice approachable people who seem to have a genuine and passionate interest in the success of the Charity and for the cause that it supports. In short, I honestly believe that they are on our side in every way.
What did we talk about? Just about everything imaginable and I don't want to go into a 10 page write up on it today, but a quick list would be.....
The PCC… How it links in and communicates with the NHS
Training specialist nurses
Our own 'online community' of expertise
Skills available to the PCC within that community
Recognition for individuals within that community
The 'very good' and the 'could do better' stuff
Where the money goes
Prostate Cancer (everything!)
Involvement of Women
If you gave me an individual enquiry, these were all discussed and Ruth will be actioning if required and making improvements where needed. We talked about local support groups and how interaction could be improved between the PCC, especially in areas outside the reach of London and Glasgow.
Over the coming months I hope you will get to see some of the results of actions that we agreed on, some are only small and others a bit more 'ground breaking'. For instance, Owen is looking at coming onto a forum 'chat room' perhaps one evening every month so that you have an opportunity to contribute directly. Elise asked me to give Owen her Twitter details (nothing to do with chickens), she follows Owen and as the founder of our Ladies Support Group, she wanted to ask if he would follow her. Well before I had got home that evening, sure enough Owen is now following Elise. (As many of us do)
If you want to know more about individual questions that you asked then please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hook up on Facebook; I did cover ALL of the concerns and suggestions that you put to me.
Owen Sharp has just been in his position for 3 months and I was convinced after yesterday that we will see a more proactive charity going forward, with a team at the top who will be far more 'visible' and 'in touch' with us all.