One of my very favourite songs is’ Changes’ by the incomparable David Bowie. In the song he exhorts us to, ‘turn and face the strange’. By this I think he means changing what you’re used to into something which is new, exciting and uncomfortable! So, I thought I’d use this, our first blog, to set out some of my current thinking on the importance of change and where the impetus for change has to come from.

We know for a fact that our communities on the Fylde Coast where we operate, face many and real challenges. Just check out the excellent website and you’ll find out lots of information about that. However, my passion is always about finding solutions to these challenges and … empowering people to make the changes themselves.

When I think about most of the changes that I have been involved in, here at Empowerment and at other charities, I have to be honest that the overwhelming majority of them have been changes instigated by people like me! Is this the right approach? I am now convinced that it is not, real change and development has to come from the grassroots, from the people who have lived experience, who daily struggle with life’s toughest challenges. These are the same people who are especially vulnerable to service provision which is just not good enough!

Empowerment’s key objective in 2018 (aside from everything else we’re seeking to achieve!!), it to transform our charity by enabling people with lived experience to shape and develop our future, not just tokenistic involvement but meaningful involvement which brings about fundamental transformation to the way we do things.

Across the Fylde Coast, Empowerment strives to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’, in 2018 we want to make that a reality for the people who use our services. I’m relishing the challenge, but it will not be easy and it will mean stepping outside of what we’re used to. Bring it on…!

– Mike Crowther, CEO of Empowerment.

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