News & blog

Mirrors, signal, manoeuvre – ESS is 17!

Do you remember turning 17? Perhaps it was an exciting and scary time – getting your provisional driver’s license, taking your theory test, and, eventually, putting the theory into practice on the roads. You may have come up against some traffic jams, diversions, and roadblocks along the way. These might have felt problematic, irritating, or stressful at the time, but they are probably the things that ultimately made you a better driver – you learned from them, and that learning helped you to improve. In spite of the challenges you faced whilst learning to drive, you got there in the end and – hopefully – you celebrated your success!

ESS wants to use its 17th birthday as an opportunity to celebrate. Like all third sector organisations, our resilience has been tested over the last two years (and we don’t mean by lateral flow devices). The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to work in ways we never had before, and to quickly adapt our services to ensure that we were still meeting the needs of our service users. The virus felt like a big, unexpected obstruction on a road that we were otherwise used to driving smoothly along. We weren’t always sure how to get around this roadblock, and the diversions we had to take often felt a little scary and unfamiliar. But, two years on, we are looking in our rear-view mirror and reflecting on how far we’ve come along that bumpy road. If it wasn’t for the challenges we encountered and the detours we had to take, we wouldn’t have learned how to improve our services and even better meet the needs of the organisations we support.

Developing our services for online delivery means we can reach more organisations, some of whom told us that they wouldn’t have been able to travel to our events in the past. We now plan to keep online support in our arsenal, as well as offering in-person support as we always have done for those who would prefer it.

This is one of the best training sessions I’ve been on. Zoom has certainly allowed me to take part in all sessions without having to spend time travelling, etc. Being based in Dumfries and Galloway sometimes means that half a day’s training takes all day and makes for a very early start.

I was really impressed with this workshop – it was a great mix of explanation, demonstration, peer support and activities. I’ve been on a LOT of webinars lately and was starting to feel like there was just no way to do them well, but ESS has proved this can be done.

This course was brilliant. I was really struggling with how we could evaluate the impact of our volunteering. I’ve come away with so many ideas, a structure, the start of a plan, a list of evidence-gathering methods and real encouragement from having attended.

We are so pleased that, despite such a turbulent two years, we are still making a positive difference to the people and organisations we support. We hope that you, like us, can look back and take pride in the challenges you’ve overcome in the face of adversity. If that isn’t cause for celebration, we don’t know what is!

Check out our upcoming workshops and events here.