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Ewan Aitken’s Blog: More than the sum of our parts

Posted: 22nd June 2018

Ewan Aitken’s Blog: More than the sum of our parts

Our 50th anniversary event held last week at Queen Margaret University was a great success despite Storm Hector’s attempts to stop people attending!

Over 100 delegates explored what we’ve done for the last 50 years, what we’ve learnt and what we intend to do next.  We hope we are not needed for another 50 years but until then we intend to keep sharing journeys with people experiencing tough realities and working to stop people getting into that situation in the first place.

For many the highlight was Songwriter and Deacon Blue Frontman  Ricky Ross singing his powerful song Dignity. For others it was the sight of members of the Cyrenians City Community challenging Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP on his Governments policies. For others it was conversations with unexpected people or moments of insight from stories shared and experiences explored.

Over the last 50 years we’ve learnt the power of living our values, of building trusted relationships and of never giving up whatever the challenge faced by those we journey with.  We have also learnt the significance and the challenge of prevention; both why it works and how hard it is to really achieve it – yet without taking a preventative approach, we will simply never stop homelessness

Our work with our conflict resolution service is a case in point. Not only have we helped thousands of families in crisis through conflict to great effect, we’ve developed a real skill in helping people learnt the tools which will stop them getting onto conflict in the first place.

Our school workshops and thenationwide impact of our Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution  (SCCR) have helped thousands of people become more confident in anticipating and manage conflict in their professional and personal lives.  It is genuinely culture changing – but it’s both very hard to prove its impact directly and unless some key systemic thing s change, will not achieve its full potential. Though as the SCCR have shown again and again, the more we collaborate across sectors, professions and policy areas, the more we can achieve right now, not only in the area of mediation and conflict resolution but in every aspect of the work we do.  We, all of us, not just Cyrenians, already have great resources, experiences and wisdom; if we focus together on a common agenda we can achieve great things if we choose to travel together. And we don’t need to wait to be told to collaborate – we can start doing it now – if we are willing to be open, transparent and honest with each other.

I don’t know what the next 50 years will bring but I do know if we keep just doing what we have always done then we’ll only achieve what we have always achieved.  And that’s not much of a legacy.

Ewan Aitken
21st June 2018

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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