Chrysalis newsletter Summer 2017
Written by Dianne
Registered Charity No. 1116321
Welcome to summer 2017, there have been some good days when summer has been the beautiful expectation of remembered childhood dreams. There have been some bad days when summer has seemed more like the depths of winter. My holiday in Wales was plagued by those dreadful
dark and cold days of continual rain and strong winds. Soon after that experience of winter in mid-summer we had a holiday on the Isle of Wight when the sun shone every day (except one) and the summer lived up to its expectations. As usual our British summer is full of weather ☺
With the high rainfall and family obligations my garden has become sadly neglected. It is however continuing to flourish even without my constant care. It is as if once I have provided the basics and established the foundations, the garden has continued to grow and thrive without my constant input.
This is very welcome news as I am able to relate the progress within my garden to the progress within Chrysalis. As I work toward my retirement it is really gratifying to see that the office team are capable and able to continue to oversee the working of Chrysalis without my constant supervision and input. Like our British Summer Chrysalis occasionally experiences storms however this summer for Chrysalis has had a good amount of sunshine.
For the past three months we have had a new volunteer, Sheila, helping in the office. This is her story in her own words.
“I originally came to Chrysalis to look at taking over from Dianne for a small salary. I was asked to look at the procedures and working of Chrysalis, in doing so I quickly realised that I would be doing Chrysalis and it’s beneficiaries a disservice to take up this position.
I told Dianne that I would not take up the salary offered and instead would stay on as a volunteer to help find someone to take up that position. I started by meeting all the staff and telling them that I might not be the person but would look at stepping stones to enable Chrysalis to move forward when Dianne retired.
I met the Trustees where possible, and started putting together a proposal. It soon became clear that what we needed most was a move towards a paid Chief Executive Officer. Since then I have been putting together a presentation and gathering information for the Trustees. At the last Trustee Meeting I presented, with the approval of Dianne, a presentation on the merits of having a paid CEO.”
When I first set my retirement in progress, almost three years ago now, I did not really look at the future of Chrysalis after I had left. The steps I had initiated by having paid office staff that can now run the everyday work of Chrysalis efficiently were, I thought, sufficient to keep the charity alive. How wrong could I have been? It was only when Sheila pointed out all the extra things that I do that I began to realise the enormity of my retirement on Chrysalis and its beneficiaries. When talking to Sheila about the future of Chrysalis she stated that Chrysalis needs a ‘head’. It needs someone who is able to continue the outreach work that I do and to keep talking to the relevant authorities whilst promoting the needs of our beneficiaries.
Sheila pointed out that over the 12 years of the charity we have been influential in enabling changes. In the early years it was Laura who accompanied me all over the country to raise the profile of Transgender people. We had some fun on our trips which often took us to London or Exeter. We were a part of the government advisory team for Equality and Diversity from 2007 until it was disbanded with the change of government.
There are so many places that we have been and so much that we did to influence changes in policy. I remember clearly Laura heckling the speaker at a NHS Conference in Winchester who insisted on referring to six strands of diversity after the government launched the ‘Commission of Equality and Human Rights’ with seven strands of equality. It was due to our influence at a meeting with the commission advisors, hosted by Southampton Voluntary Services, that they realised that Gender and Sexual Orientation are two completely different things. After that questions were raised in parliament with the mention of the name of Chrysalis. As a consequence, the Commission launched with Transgender being taken out of Sexual Orientation and given a strand of diversity of its own. In 2007, that meant that Gender Identity Disorder Gender Dysphoria had to be de-classified as a mental illness and re-classified as a medical condition. That in itself is certainly a significant change to be proud of. And that is not the only influence that Chrysalis has had on the development of Government legislation. That however is a story for another day. Or it could be one that I will tell you in person one day.
The consequence of Sheila jogging my memory and encouraging me to re-explore our past achievements was for me to realise that without a significant person at the head of Chrysalis we would not be able to continue to influence changes and support our beneficiaries in the way we have. Our past achievements should be a legacy to be built on rather than to just sit back and say “We have done our bit” there is so much more that needs to be achieved to enable every single person we support to live full and active lives not hindered by produce or malice.
The Trustees listened to the proposal that Sheila had prepared and discussed the options for the future of Chrysalis. This was not an easy decision to make as the result either way would affect the future of Chrysalis. The idea of taking a step into the unknown and advertising for a person to be the “Face of Chrysalis” was very daunting. The Trustees however agreed that this was the way forward. We are very lucky within Chrysalis to have a wealth of experience within our Trustees and their input has been invaluable when it came to putting together a job description. When Matthew, The Chair of the Trustees, asked me to write down what I did I thought it would be a simple task. It was however quite challenging to try to assemble into one document a concise list of my day to day activities. This was then added to the basic requirements for a CEO to become a concise job
description for the person who is to succeed me.
A letter has gone out to all the Chrysalis Volunteers with the Job Description in the hope of finding a candidate from within. This would certainly be a bonus for Chrysalis as all our Volunteers already have an understanding of the work that Chrysalis undertakes. They also understand the ethos of Chrysalis and have a working knowledge of the principles of the charity.
Meeting Centre news
Basingstoke has said goodbye to Sarah who has been the counsellor there for two years. Sarah was sad to leave however personal circumstances dictated the need to move away from her Friday night commitment. There are now two counsellors at the group, Joel and Jo. They are travelling a long distance to fulfil their counselling roles and Chrysalis is very happy that they have joined our Basingstoke team. Hannah remains the Group Facilitator and has our great admiration for holding the group together for the past two years with little support. The latest addition to the team is Imale. She joined the team at the beginning of August as the deputy facilitator. Lionel and I have been supporting the group through the counselling changes. We wish you all a warm welcome to Chrysalis.
Portsmouth Group is thriving even though it has been without a named facilitator for some time. It has been a pleasure to step into the breech and help out at this group. They have now been returned to the safe hands of their former facilitator, Samantha. It is a pleasure to welcome her back to the Portsmouth group. We do still need a deputy facilitator to help with the group and are still trying to fill this vacancy.
Southampton has had a summer break during which time the venue has been changed. All the beneficiaries have the new location and we are hoping to have the first meeting in their new home on Friday 1st September. I will be there with the team. The counsellors remain unchanged and Lesley will be there to support everyone as usual. There is also a new facilitator who will be attending the group for the first time. Mary has a wealth of experience and I am looking forward to
working with her. The new venue offers the opportunity to have a drop-in evening as well as the Coffee group and we are in the process of recruiting volunteers to enable this to happen.
As well as the changes already mentioned we have had to say goodbye to Sally who was a trustee. She had also been supporting me, and facilitating the Portsmouth Group. Sally has moved to Spain so is unable to continue in her various roles.
Chrysalis is pleased that we are still able to offer comprehensive Gender Advice and Support. Louise is still fragile, however she is on call and able to support those in need remotely. Joanne also offers support in this role and continues to be available for one to one consultancies. Appointments should be made via the office team.
☺ Dianne is retiring! ☺
The culmination of my twelve years with Chrysalis will be a grand finale retirement party at the Cricketers Arms in Portsmouth Road, Woolston, Southampton. It will be on Saturday 4th November and start at 6-30 pm. This promises to be a great networking opportunity. Even though the official invitations have not been sent out yet, the office has received several communications from people who will be attending.
To be honest I am really looking forward to this event and to meeting up with some of the people who were the first supporters of Chrysalis. Twelve years is a long time and I have met with many over the years who have supported Chrysalis. I am hoping that as many as possible will be able to meet and interact with each other. Alongside those who have known Chrysalis for many years I hope to have the pleasure of meeting up with many of our new supporters as well. Everyone is welcome.
To ensure that I take the rest that I need my husband Lionel, has arranged for us to have a holiday in Rome starting on Monday 6th November. Rome is a magnificent city and I have dreamt of spending more than a day there at a time. So this wish will be made a reality to ensure that my retirement is celebrated to its fullest.
You are all invited to celebrate my retirement by attending the party. There will be food and the bar will be open. Although the official invitations have yet to be sent out please let the office know if you would like to attend. Chrysalis Trustees are doing their best to ensure that this will be a party to remember.
I look forward to seeing you all on 4th November
SUITE 1, OFFICE 3, MITCHELL HOUSE,
BROOK AVENUE, WARSASH, HAMPSHIRE, SO31 9HP
TELEPHONE 01489 589111
Chrysalis Telephone Numbers and Email contact details:
Southampton Group: 07716 218437
Portsmouth Group: 07400 653 163
Basingstoke Group: 07538 864671
Significant Others Support: 01489 589111
Dukes Keep: 07955 724493 07745 547715
Public email: email@example.com