Hello, my name is Marilyn Mulberry.
I live in the city of Milton Keynes in Buckingham-shire south east of England. It’s a medium-sized city of about 230,000 mostly working class people.
I was very much inspired by a recent visit to your Faith in Families website. With your permission I would like to share some material that you as a practioner and your viewers might find inspiring. It’s not about healthcare or anything like that. It’s more on empowering local people to take ownership over decisions affecting their lives simply by embracing a few principles.
Participation, being inclusive, building capacity, encouraging local decision-making, meeting priorities of local community and building the individual’s self-esteem and skills that benefit the community are what empower people in a community setting.
This video, titled ‘Neighbourhood of Choice’, provides some concrete examples of these principles at work. It sheds light on how some very ordinary people living in Milton Keynes halfway across the world organised themselves to make a difference in their lives and others.
For as long as I can remember I’ve tried to introduce simplicity in my work. I just don’t understand why things are made complex.
Until recently, I worked in the UK National Health Service (NHS) for 25 years from the age of 26. The NHS is the third largest employer in the world. I’ve met thousands of people in my career in NHS – patients, family carers, nurses, doctors, managers and front line employees. I was repeatedly told the lan-guage used in the NHS is too complex. Front liners like me were often left confused, cold and demoralised by jargon and unnecessarily complicated ‘management speak’.
I am glad to hear about the recent launch of Whanau Ora in New Zealand. In other countries, some leaders make social services so complicated that they hope people will leave all the decisions to them. On the other end of the scale, others make it seem so simple that we can’t trust them to take charge. The real test, I believe, is to clarify the issues so people can acquire the confidence to decide for themselves. That is what I believe some of your own leaders are trying to do by launching Whanau Ora.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.