Yesterday, 16 October 2018, saw the return of YSS’ annual staff conference, which was held at the Wyre Forest Country Park in Bewdley.

The day included talks from Chair of Trustees, Lady Susanna McFarlane, and YSS Chief Executive, Lorraine Preece, as well as members of the Senior Management Team.

With a focus on health and wellbeing as well as professional development, the day also included two workshops delivered by author, life coach and NLP trainer Will Thomas, looking at the latest research in self-compassion and kindness. Lively, fun and practical the workshops provided great insight into self-care practices as well as tools and approaches directly useful to supporting service users and colleagues.

The conference was also joined by Pippa Goodman, widow of Mike Goodman, former YSS volunteer and employee who passed away earlier this year. To mark Mike’s brilliant contribution to YSS, the charity introduced an annual ‘Mike Goodman Award’ which was presented to Volunteer Tom Welch, who worked with Mike during his time at YSS and has made an exceptional contribution to the organisation. Lorraine said: “As Mike worked with wood and owned a saw mill, we thought it was fitting to make an annual tree dedication through the Woodland Trust. It was wonderful that Pippa was able to join us and we are pleased to be able to recognise Tom as the first winner of the Mike Goodman Award.” Tom also received a certificate and YSS made a donation to the Woodland Trust in Mike’s honour. The award will be given annually to a volunteer or member of staff who has done something exceptional to make a difference, or is exceptionally cheery and upbeat to be around.

The conference was attended by all staff at YSS, working across Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Telford & Wrekin, as well as five trustees, and provided a great opportunity to get together, network and reflect, as well as looking at what lies ahead for the charity.

Lorraine said: “It was a brilliant day yesterday with a great atmosphere. I’m so pleased we were able to get together and reflect on the work that we’ve done and the difference we’ve made and continue to make, as well as recognising the times we are working in and the opportunity for change and development. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Will for delivering two excellent workshops, and to all of our brilliant staff who attended with the same commitment and enthusiasm they always bring to the table.”

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