Week 9: The CEO – The Mystery Cat #107days

As Week 9, which has focused on Art and Activism draws to a close, we’ve had an excellent piece of poetry, an adaption of T.S.Eliot’s Macavity (you can read the original here) shared with us. The author/adapter wishes to remain anonymous, but we have their agreement to share this wondrous poem with you all. The photo attached to this post is one of Jack’s cats, that were made and sold to raise money for LB’s Fighting Fund by Jack. You can read more about that in this post from Day 97 last year. Now though, we give you 

The CEO: The Mystery Cat

The CEO’s a Mystery Cat: she’s called the Hidden Claw
For she’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
She’s the bafflement of Monitor, the CQC’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime: the CEO’s not there!

The CEO, the CEO, there’s no-one like the CEO,
She’s broken every human law, she breaks the law like billyo.
Her powers of dissimulation would make an MP stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime – the CEO’s not there!
You may seek her in the unit, you may look up in the air-
But I tell you once and once again, the CEO’s not there!

The CEO’s an elusive bod, she’s very tall and thin;
You would know her if you saw her, for her eyes are sunken in.
Her brow is smooth with botox, her hair has shiny sheen:
Her coat is glossy with expense, her grin in public’s seen.
She sways her head from side to side, with movement like a snake;
And when you think she’s fast asleep, she’s always wide awake.

The CEO, the CEO, there’s no-one like the CEO,
For she’s a fiend in suited shape, to duty she says cheerio.
You may read her in a ghostwrit blog, for which she has much flair-
But when a crime’s discovered, then the CEO’s not there!

She’s outwardly respectable (they say she cheats at cards).
And her foot prints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s.
And when reserves are looted, and acquired estate is rifled,
Or when the staff are missing, and the truth’s again been stifled,
Or the ligatures are present, and the unit’s past repair
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! The CEO’s not there!

And when the investigation finds the records gone astray,
Or commissioners lose all integrity along the way,
There may be some scrap of paper from an FOI request
But it’s useless to investigate, at evasion she’s the best!
And when the crime has been disclosed, the regulators say:
“It must have been the CEO!” – but she’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find her ‘leading’, or a-licking of her thumbs,
On engaged in doing complicated renumeration sums.

The CEO, the CEO, defies the laws of gravity,
There never was a cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
She always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place – THE CEO WASN’T THERE!
And they say that all the cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention NAME REDACTED, I might mention LAWYER, PHONE!)
Are nothing more than agents for the cat who all the time
Just controls the operations: Viral Leader cat of crime!

Day97Cat

Day 104: Voices to be heard #107days

Today is another three way share, this time between Sunnyside Rural Trust, Bringing Us Together, and inControl.

First up, Sunnyside Rural Trust who adopted today to share a report of the celebration and launch (yesterday) of a special and innovative Memorial Garden. The garden, which is a physical representation of the poems collected in The Memoir Garden, has been created as a place for remembrance.

A group of 18 trainees from Sunnyside Rural Trust, who all have learning disabilities, worked with local author Emma Claire Sweeney. She explored their reminiscences and collaborated with each one to produce a poem. The resulting book, The Memoir Garden, was well received both by literary critics and by the learning disability community.

Day104Garden1

The participants valued this all too rare validation of their experiences. At the launch, Roxy Simmons, one of the 18, read a speech prepared by the group, saying “We thought it was important for people to understand about our lives. We don’t want people to think that we are thick. We want people to know that we have the same feelings, relationships, and experiences as everyone else. We will maintain the garden together as a place of peace and quiet where we can sit and reminisce. In particular, this is a space where we will remember our old friend’s Leon and Marie”.

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The garden was completed within 107 days to support the #JusticeforLB #107days campaign. The work on the garden has been carried out by the team at the Activity Centre along with volunteering help from Berkhamsted Waitrose. Painted glass bottles, depicting images from each poem along with the poet’s names, hang from the trees. The garden’s centrepiece, a wooden sculpture of a book, was unveiled at the launch. The sculpture is engraved with the words ‘Voices to be heard’.

You can read the full press release from the event yesterday here. Next up, Bringing Us Together:

The #JusticeforLB campaign highlights our fears as parents. It has had a profound impact on many of us and has brought us together as we reflect, feel emotional and share our fears. Each of us knows that this could happen to our own son or daughter.

We are fearful that our young people’s voice will be lost, that they will not be listened to and that we, the people who love them the most, will be left out of vital decision making. We have huge concerns about the following questions:

  • What happens to our young people when we are dead or no longer able to look after them ourselves?
  • How do we keep them strong and supported to make decisions that have a huge impact on their lives?
  • How do we keep our young people safe as they grow up into a world that is full of prejudice, fear, abuse and discrimination?
  • How do we keep their voice at the centre of all planning and decision making?
  • How do we convince others that our sons and daughters, whatever their level of impairment, have a voice that must be listened to if they are to be happy, strong and safe?

For many of us our years of involvement and knowledge of our own children and the systems they encounter brings us a deep insight into our children’s well-being. We know what makes them happy, how they communicate and what support they need. We know what they are trying to say and we work hard at sharing that information with others.

However, only too often our understanding is ignored; our young people are misunderstood and problems arise. We want our young people and adults to be independent and safe. We want our children and young people to grow up knowing and feeling what it is like to be in the ‘driving seat’ and to understand the real power of making decisions, what good looks like, and what support they need to be part of their communities.

Our event to mark Day 104 of #107days of action for #JusticeforLB will give families the opportunity to come together to talk about and share stories of:

  • The madness of the system and what we can practically do amongst such madness
  • How can we make the system less mad? We will look at what is working and what is not working in the current system
  • How do we keep ourselves strong within the current madness?

Through telling our stories and using positive ways that families have used it plus ways in which it has been abused will enable families to learn from one another.

The event is a collaboration between The Cameron Trust, Bringing Us Together and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Last, but by no means least, is In Control:

For the past eight years, In Control has been working with a growing number of services, children, young people and families. Although this work often focuses on the systems needed to make personal budgets work, the real drive to this work is ensuring good support for all children and young people, and the recognition that some may need more support than others. We never loose sight of what this is really about…valuing and cherishing every child’s right to aspire, learn, enjoy and take part in the life of their family and local community in ways that make sense to them, and for families to get the support they need to provide a healthy, happy and nurturing home for their children.

The experience of LB and his family is one of many recent reminders that we, somewhere along the line have a gone a bit off track, have forgotten why we are supporting children and young people and have ended up with systems and support that lead to tragedies like those of LB and his family. We are starting our day (Day 104), chaired by Miro Griffiths, with a presentation by two parents, Nikki and Tricia. Nikki Delgarno, mum of Ethan, and Tricia Nicoll, mum of Ella and Cieran, both share a powerful story of the challenges of the system and the resilience needed to keep going.

But what does the future hold for Ethan, Ella and Cieran? With over 100 people from children’s services, including many parents, we have a chance to discuss and set out how we can change the future for these and many other children and young people, for us and the community we work with every day. Day 104 is an opportunity to step towards ending such experiences as those of LB and his family, of Josh and his family in Cornwall, of Nico and many others.

Following Nikki, Tricia and a group discussion we will be hearing from those involved in leading the Winterbourne programme and from Action for Children who will share a great example of what is possible if everyone commits to working together and supporting a child and their family. We will share presentations and notes from the whole morning and as suggested by #JusticeforLB we will be asking everyone to commit to taking one action which will make a difference for children and young people they know.

With so much awesome happening today, we’re feeling ever more confident that #JusticeforLB really will result in improvements for all dudes. Thank you all.

Day 73: His life honoured #107days

Today, Day 73, is the day of the party night to end all #JusticeforLB party nights. Two options are available, an English Country Dance at Bletchingdon Village Hall, or the LB Fighting Fund Party at Oxford Sports and Social Club, more details on both here.

Caroline Jordan is organising the Country Dance and here’s why she is supporting #107days and #JusticeforLB:

LB was loved, nurtured and cared for by his family, so much love surrounding him. When their family needed help and support, they were all let down tragically. I want to help raise awareness, so that more and more people can stand and say ‘This is wrong, this must never happen again’.

The Party Night is very much a collective effort, organised with the support of many people, including Jenny O’Loughlin (General Manager at OSSC), NansforJustice who have covered the cost of the room hire, Vic, Sam and Trev from Identica who designed the best tickets ever after researching London Transport with superb attention to detail, LNS Print for printing the tickets for free, and Alan, the bacon and egg bap man from outside Oxford station for providing the nosh.

As we prepare for an evening of celebration and fun (alongside some awareness and fund raising) it felt like a perfect time to share this contribution from Carrie Morgan. Carrie adopted her birthday, Day 70, to share with LB. Here’s what she sent us:

Day73BusBeach

My birthday shared with LB

For a day,
I held Connor in my heart and mind
Reaching for awareness of his life and laughter
Only guessing at the grief for its loss.
We took a toy bus to the beach..
..and we laughed
We leaned over a wall, watched city buses
busy about their business..
..and we laughed,
my dear daughter and me.

I shared LB’s story and art in the pub
Shocking folk and prompting bitter words.
Is it apathy, neglect, lack of care, inattention?
Switching off awareness so a young life ends.
Then their wonder at the alchemy of love,
Tragedy transformed, his life honoured
Enthusiasm, hope, vision for a better deal
Generated and inspired by loving family and friends.

Go well, justice for LB

Day73ExeterBus

Hope everyone enjoys some love and laughter tonight honouring LB. Thanks to all those working behind the scenes organising both nights.