The difference some people make… Ann, Cliff and Tom, Dick or Harry

I’ve just got back from attending the funeral of Cllr Ann Metcalfe in Rochdale.  It was a moving event and a fitting tribute to Ann, held at the farm where she grew up, out on the open moors above Norden, with showers of sleet and snow providing the back drop to the occasion.

Ann MetcalfeNot only was Ann a Councillor at Rochdale MBC, a champion for the community she served, she was also a Board Member at Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale for a good number of years. As a Board member she was committed to the Groundwork cause – changing places, changing people – and helped the Trust develop the excellent reputation it has today. She gave up her time because she firmly believed in the work that Groundwork does and could see the difference we were making to the lives of local residents.

Ann was a lovely lady, dedicated, passionate about doing the right things and making a longer lasting difference. She also had a great sense of humour. I know from the reaction of staff and trustees to the news of her death that even though Ann stepped down from the Board in 2011, the time she spent with us had a lasting impact and that she made a big difference to our lives.

There were hundreds of mourners there today – all there to recognise and appreciate the contribution Ann made within local communities. I wonder if Ann really recognised the difference she made to people’s lives?

IMGP5824aOn a very different note, I also attended in February another occasion where a large number of local people gathered – to appreciate the work and achievements of Cliff Ellison, our former ED who retired at Christmas. Oldham Council presented Cliff with the Civic Appreciation Award in recognition of his outstanding services and dedication to the voluntary sector. Cliff had been Executive Director at Groundwork since 2007 and made a huge contribution to making it a successful organisation by ensuring that its work – covering environmental issues, regeneration, youth and community work, business support, employment and training – is effectively connected with projects and communities across the Borough. Cliff is a truly worthy recipient of this annual reward and was humbled when the honour was presented at the start of a very packed Full Council meeting in February. From joining the Trust in December, it’s been easy to see the legacy that Cliff has left. He certainly made a difference, left some lasting impact and will be a hard act to follow!

All this has got me round to thinking about reward and recognition. Do we sometimes wait until someone is no longer with us before we recognise their contribution? How often have you recognised or rewarded someone today? Yesterday? This week? I am keen to understand how others like to be recognised and rewarded. It’s not always about grand gestures – but the small things that make a lasting difference. Words like ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ are not used enough…

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