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5. CALIBRATING THE FULLER ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PROJECT: Paddling underneath

Recognising what the project has achieved in a fullest sense, and how the Heritage Lottery Fund support has been crucial to this, requires a look at some of the less visible and less obvious contexts which have influenced the course of the project: What was going on in the background? How was this managed? If they were, how were potentially difficult or even disastrous events transformed into what have so obviously been positive outcomes for the Trust and benefits for the project?

 

There have been a series of very complex contexts behind the surface of the project. During the relatively brief life of the "Therapeutic Living" project, for example, the Trust has had three separate Chairs and two different Executive Directors. These transfers of leadership - crisis points in the life of any organisation - have been a serial, albeit planned reality behind the work of the project team; indeed, the project team has been asked to take an active role in supporting and facilitating each change. These predictable crises, with their inevitable disruptions and unpredictable flurries of chaos, are just one part of the complex set of demands which the existing Trust staff and new project team have negotiated together while realising the aims and objectives of the project itself. To understand the achievements of the project fully, it is necessary to understand some of the internal and external pressures which were also in play.

 

In this section we look at several of these, before turning to the Activities and Outcomes themselves. We will look at the serial changes in leadership and organisation, of course; but also at the potential problems in introducing a small group of newcomers on fixed contracts, hired to execute a specific task, into a long-established, stable and permanent staff team; the need within a very short period of time to bring together four very different people, three of them new to the Trust, with no prior experience of 'disturbed' children or therapeutic environments, and to forge from them a close-knit team capable of managing a range of highly difficult memories and complex emotional situations to a demanding schedule; and demands made by continuous technical change going on underneath - catastrophes, upgrades, technical collapses, new systems - running largely to their own time-frames, without reference to workloads or the schedule of events in the project above. As this section shows, an immense amount of what the project has achieved will not be seen in the statistics alone, largely satisfying as those are.