Farewell to our CEO of 34 Years
Today is a reflective day for us at SBH Scotland as our CEO of 34 years, Andy Wynd MBE MIoD retires.
Anyone who knows Andy will know that he has dedicated his life to the charity - taking it from a service with only 2 family support workers (based in an inaccessible building in the west end of Glasgow) to a nationwide support and clinical support service run by a dedicated team and with a purpose-built family support centre, and head office, in Dullatur.
He has led the organisation through periods of transition and significant expansion which has culminated in a range of innovative developments and person centred projects from telehealth to Healthy Living, Inclusive Fitness and Play Projects; all of which contribute to ensuring that families affected by spina bifida or hydrocephalus have a wide range of choices and support networks to enable them to live lives to the full.
In 2014 his dedication to healthcare did not go unnoticed and he was awarded an MBE.
Last month at the charity's Annual General Meeting, Andy was asked to say a few words about his time with the charity and this is what he said,
"Things have moved on a little since I walked through the door of the converted butchers shop in Blackhall in Edinburgh, which served as the Association’s Head Office, back in the day.
The role then, was as General Secretary to a small parent led national charity, with 10 branches dotted throughout Scotland.
Each Branch had their own small branch committee, who were in turn represented on a national management Committee, which met regularly for all day Saturday sessions.
I was impressed then, by the enthusiasm of parents who were not only managing to care for and support their children, but were also prepared to go that extra mile, think of others and not just themselves, and support the Scottish Spina Bifida Association, as it was known then.
What became abundantly clear, was that their commitment to the Association was incredibly strong, but the signs of varying degrees of burnout were beginning to show, as it became more and more difficult to support the groups aspirations, based on volunteering alone.
In these early days, the organisation was entirely dependent on the branch committees to generate both funds for local activity and to support the national infrastructure of 4 paid members of staff - a general secretary, 2 counselling officers and an office junior.
The requirement to support staff costs was not entirely welcomed by the branches, who often referred to the contribution as a ‘Branch Levy’.
Over the years, this support disappeared completely and the embryonic development of the organisation we know today began to take shape.
Professional fundraisers were appointed and Family Support staff were employed to provide a nationwide service, based on need, irrespective of location.
Relationships were developed with the Scottish Executive as it was then, along with colleagues in NHS. We began to be a trusted charity in the sector delivering quality services and committed to real partnership with colleagues in the statutory sector.
In the early days, the highlights of activity were group holidays managed by staff and volunteers to a wide range of holiday destinations including Kielder Outdoor Adventure Centre, and the sports weekend at Tulliallan Police College. The core family support services mushroomed and became a mainstay of the organisation going forward. Over time we added nursing and clinical expertise to our team to broaden our each and respond to the needs of our families.
Despite the challenging years ahead, as branches, one by one crumbled and fell away, the management Committee and Trustees, influenced in no small part by its Honorary President Dan Young who had carefully guided the organisation since its inception in 1965, began to develop a vision of national charity providing professional services for all those in Scotland affected by spina bifida hydrocephalus or allied conditions.
I have been incredibly fortunate to be part of an organisation who were prepared to tolerate my insatiable appetite for never standing still, always looking at ways to improve, and fine tuning the services we offer to support families and individuals whose lives have been transformed from birth.
It is true that we have had many laughs together around the shared joy which our families experienced of major achievements and children being children.
We have often cried together, as we felt the pain of loss and bereavement and the tragedy over other events which blight our community, with apparent increasing frequency it seems, in the world in which we now live.
However, the organisation and its people are a resilient bunch, and I have every confidence that the traumas of the past will stand you all in good stead for the future, whatever it may bring.
It has been a real privilege to be allowed to share in many families and individuals lives within the organisation over the years. I hope you feel I have listened and guided the organisation to reflect your needs and aspirations as well as pushing the boat out a little from time to time to ensure that we never stand still and remain comfortable in our own little worlds.
Despite the challenges we face it is to the credit of all of you and our Board and staff that you have been willing to do the right thing for all those for whom we have a special responsibility.
On 23rd October, we will be welcoming Lawrence to take up the reins of this truly unique charity.
The strength of any organisation is in the quality of the Board, staff, volunteers and supporters it has been privileged to recruit over the years.
It is my genuine hope and prayer that you will find a renewed vigour and determination to take the organisation to even greater heights in the future in this new and exciting chapter in its history.
Each and everyone of you have a very special place in my heart (yes, contrary to public belief, I do have one!) both now and in the future.
I wish you, Lawrence, and your new team, my very best wishes for the future and to all of you, embrace change, look forward positively, and never lose sight of the reason for our being in this place. Remember the legacies of the past and use them to drive the vision for the future of this great organisation."
All of the staff and board at SBH Scotland wish Andy the very best in his well deserved retirement and we look forward to hearing what challenge he sets himself next, as we're certain simply sitting at home isn't Andy!
For those who have asked us what they could get for Andy, we have set up a dedicated JustGiving Page with any donations coming straight back to the charity as is Andy's wish. Should you wish to donate you can do so here.