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Farewell to our Inspirational Leader

Last Wednesday, we said good luck and farewell to Kylie, who has left Hope and Care Plus Group to take up an exciting new position with Provide CIC, who are based in Essex. The leaving presents were opened at an early morning team meeting, before Kylie met up with staff, service users and volunteers at the Hope Social, where there was a lot of reminiscing about Kylie’s time with Hope.

As most of you will know, Kylie and Pam co-created the Hope Specialist Service and it’s fair to say that Hope would not be the amazing service it is now without Kylie. She was first appointed as Falls Co-ordinator in 2004 and charged with reducing the number of falls locally. With virtually no budget to do this, she took a bus full of volunteers to an event in Blackpool and then the Falls Prevention Collaborative was let loose in the local community to do the brilliant work it has been doing ever since.

After hot desking in various places such as the old equipment store at the hospital and offices in Brighowgate and the Molson Centre, Pam and Kylie and their small band of staff and volunteers landed at Hope Street Clinic in the summer of 2006 and it was then that the Hope Specialist Service really began to take shape and develop into the service and family that it is today.

Many happy memories of the last seventeen years were shared at the Hope Social, from the early days at Hope Street when we were so poor that we had display boards made out of cardboard boxes and battled break-ins and antisocial behaviour, before engaging with the local community, to awards ceremonies in places so posh that they didn’t know what a pint of Bitter was!

During Kylie’s time with Hope, the service has won HSJ, NICE, Community Partnership, Advancing Healthcare and National Association of Primary Care awards and of course Kylie received the Patient Inclusivity Award at the NHS Leadership Recognition Yorkshire and Humber Region Awards in 2013.

It was well deserved because Kylie has been an outstanding leader, inspiration, motivator, mentor and friend throughout her time with Hope. In line with the All Blacks rules, which she introduced staff to in team meeting a few years ago, Kylie has never been too big to sweep the sheds, something that was particularly in evidence last year when she was doing the laundry, serving meals and taking in the meat delivery alongside that other inspirational mentor and leader Jay Sadler, as they and Dawn Albiston worked tirelessly to get the new Cambridge Park facility ready to receive patients.

Like many frontline workers, Kylie sacrificed a great deal during the pandemic in terms of being separated from her family for long periods to keep them safe, so her new job, which will mainly involve remote working, should happily mean that she gets to spend plenty of quality time with them.

Kylie expressed her regret that she was unable to meet up with staff and volunteers in person before leaving but has promised to drop in and see us when we’re able to get back together again. She commented that we’ve achieved some amazing things together and that there is nothing else like Hope in the country, in terms of our ethos and culture, although she hopes that there will soon be a Hope step-family in Essex!

Thanks for everything Kylie. We’ll miss you, but Sylv has an orange shirt ready for you if you fancy doing some volunteering!

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