“that’s not us…..”

Charlotte's Quote

by Charlotte Kirin 

A while ago I found a note that I’d written to myself – “our fears are in the boot of my car”. I had no idea where it came from. It sounded like a line written by my favourite band, The National, but it wasn’t that. Or something said by someone who was starting to lose elements of language, the links between concepts. We work with a few people who are facing that.

It came back to me when we were talking about some uncertainty with what will happen next regarding our team. We had got as far as writing down ours fears on a piece of flipchart paper, which team member Leigh had then put in her car. I’d written it down, liking the poetry of it.

This week we met with senior managers to talk about what we’d like to see happen next with Neighbourhood Cares. We talked about how lucky we feel to be able to work in the way we do, and  I was asked what I feared for myself if this role ended. I talked about a call I’d taken from the concerned neighbour of a woman whose husband, who provided her with care, had gone into hospital. The person didn’t live in Soham (our one and only criteria for involvement) but it needed a response that I couldn’t provide so I started to make calls to the areas of the organisation that I thought would be able to respond, only to be told repeatedly “it’s not us”. First call, second call, third call, “not us”.

My response to the manager who asked me what my fears were was to say that I never again wanted to work in a team where we would respond to a person with “it’s not us”.

Our fears are out of the boot of Leigh’s car, and on the table. And we would welcome any support or ideas about how we can keep working with this community, doing the job we want to do.


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