Transcript: ISBA 2016: Welcome - Donald Macleod

Donald Macleod, Conference Chair, welcomes visitors to the conference.

Podcast Episode: ISBA 2016: Welcome - Donald Macleod

Category: Carers 


What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

DM - Donald Macleod

DM Ceud Mìle Fàilte, a hundred thousand welcomes as we say in Gaelic. To those of you who have come from 17 other nations. Failte gu na h-Alba, welcome to Scotland and to you all Failte gu Dun Eideann, welcome to Edinburgh. Maidin mhaith, good morning. My name is Domhnall Eoin ma’klaud, Donald Ian Macleod and it’s a pleasure to stand here today to welcome you to the 10th International Short Breaks Conference.

It’s with some joy and some pleasure I’m sure that all of us come together. We’ve now been reflecting on our common need to come together across all cultures, across all nations, down through the centuries. We’ve had a need as a people, as human beings, to come together to confer, to talk to one another, to discuss, to share with them, to share our knowledge and understanding. To explore our problems together and to work out solutions together. Well today we come together in a very noble quest. We come to inspire each other. We come to challenge one another, We come to spread the links between one another as we explore together what short breaks means. Over the next three days we embark on this joint quest. A quest to explore how to unlock the potential of short breaks. The potential in our families and friends. The potential in our communities and the potential in and through our own work.

Short breaks are not a luxury, they’re not a luxury. They are a vital component of the support that is needed for family and friends who provide care, who provide care and those who are in receipt of care. The need to get it right was reinforced recently to me in a survey that we did in the Highlands of Scotland looking at respite. It’s important to get it right for the carer and it’s important to get it right for the person who is cared for and on my way here I had one of these proverbial conversations with the taxi driver and the taxi driver said to me that he had been caring for his father. His father had Alzheimer’s and his mother was persuaded that his father had to go into hospital for a week so that she could get some respite. He went in and the taxi driver said his mother spent all her time in the hospital and it was more of a stress being in the hospital, her visiting in the hospital than staying at home. That is an indication of we need to get it right for both.

Some people want to get a break together. You’ve come today I’m sure in anticipation. You’ve come with excitement and you’ve made your first telling contribution. You’ve arrived here and you’ve come with your questions, with your knowledge, with your understanding to share it. Above everything else I think we are trying to build and strengthen connections amongst us all. We’re united as a group. We are one with a common purpose. We have one spirit, one desire to make short breaks work for people effectively. You will be at different points in your journey but we all have this desire to strengthen links. We have a saying in Scotland, sometimes we say when we’re asking questions,

“I’m about to ask what might be a daft laddie or a daft lassie question.”

Sometimes we feel we’re going to say something that makes us feel stupid as we say it. Ask anything at all. Whatever is on your mind, do ask. It’s important. You’re questions matter. They can give people who have been working in the field for a long time an opportunity to reflect anew on what they’ve done. I’ve had fascinating conversations already in the reception in the City Chambers. There are many fascinating conversations I’m sure that will take place over the next three days. So with vitality and vigour let us begin our quest together and let us enjoy these three days.

I was thinking as I looked at this wonderful programme that has been pulled together and one of the things that struck me is that at the front you’re seeing some wonderful pictures, aren’t you, of the joy, the pleasure people get through the short breaks experience and it’s wonderful to see that. But what I was also thinking about, and I think we should bear it in mind at the moment as we think of carers and people who are being cared for across the world at this moment, we’re right at the vanguard of a movement to improve things for people but there are many who get nothing at all. There are hundreds of millions of people who are struggling on. I vividly recall the first time that I received respite for two consecutive nights. I was sitting in a room in Glasgow and I suddenly realised I wouldn’t have to pick up the rings of caring that day at any point and relief flooded through me and I felt I could just completely relax. There are many carers throughout the world who don’t have that and even as we look around this room, yes we’ve come from 18 nations but that leaves almost 200 other nations who are not here. We need to think of them and their experiences because before the relaxation was a strain. Before the laughter were the tears and before the relief was that sense of “I’m trapped. I’m not able to get out of this situation at all.” And when someone comes forward and offers their hand and says, “Come with me and we can make this better.” It’s a wonderful sense of feeling, “I’m not alone in this. You share it with me and you’re taking us on a journey together.” You’ve come emboldened I’m sure with your knowledge and your understanding so as we go forward let’s think of how we can reach carers and those cared for throughout the world and how we can strengthen connections with others, beginning with all of those of us who are here today.

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