It’s a strange feeling to say goodbye to Time to Shine after so many years. I have been involved in the programme since funding was awarded in 2015. Many others, mainly older people (the committed bunch they are), have worked tirelessly since the rigorous planning phase in 2014. I have always felt honoured to work on a programme to which so many are committed. I must admit that the level of commitment and ambition for the work has at times felt daunting.
As a programme, Time to Shine has worked with 131 projects, through which over 21,000 people took part – amazing!
Last week I attended a farewell event with our funder (the National Lottery Community Fund). We were asked to bring along a photo which we felt represented the project and something we were proud of. What an impossible task! We have worked with so many people and had the privilege to hear so many stories of older people getting involved in their communities and finding their sense of purpose. How could we choose one?! In the end I chose a photo of my son, born in 2016 in the early stages of Time to Shine. He’s now five, a little character of his own, attending school. To me this photo signifies how much he and the programme have changed in this time.
Time to Shine was never just my baby; it was the culmination of a huge amount of hard working and dedicated people across Leeds. The common saying – “it takes a village to raise a child” – springs to mind. Now it’s time to wave the child off to fly the nest. What a strange feeling that is.
- Relief: we did reach those massive targets!
- Pride: yes, we did do a good job
- Fear, mixed with anticipation: what will happen next?… what will the legacy be?
There are too many people to be grateful to for their contribution towards the work and legacy of Time to Shine, and for this reason I know that the work will continue. Projects across Leeds have worked together to create outstanding outcomes for older people, providing a sense of purpose, belonging and connection with other. This will not disappear with the end of the programme. We know we are stronger together and as a city we can work in partnership. We also know the huge strength of a test and learn approach, where trust is fostered through relationships and openness. I know LOPF will take all the learning onwards, as will our wonderful partners both in the statutory and third sector.
I could go on… As a little tear wells in my eye, it has been a privilege to be a small cog in Time to Shine. I wholeheartedly thank every single person for their commitment, energy and trust they have shown in this wonderful programme.
Time to Shine Programme Manager (Learning)