Last week at home I laid turf – the final piece in a 3 year jigsaw to create a ‘garden’. Whilst I sweated and toiled in the heat it occurred to me in a flight of sunstroked whimsy that there were parallels with what had been happening at home to what had been happening at work, at ARC and in the sector.

First off was the actual act of transformation. As the space behind my house was being transformed, so too was the landscape that ARC and our members would be working in. As you know, we’ve been harking on about the Care Act for some time now at ARC, and finally the Act has landed. In response, we developed our ‘Care Act’ events, the first of which, ‘Pictures of Cats and other ways to health and wellbeing’, happens next week (still a few places left if you’re interested). This and our Housing and Transition events will give you the opportunity to explore what this new world we will be operating in looks like and where the opportunities are to flourish. Of course the added uncertainty of a general election and the almost certainty of further changes means we’ll have to engage in some horizon scanning as well.

Meanwhile, back at the garden with more sweating (I’m no Groundforcer) my thoughts turn to seeds and the need to propagate with the future in mind. At ARC those new seeds and future thoughts are our new membership offer, which hopefully you should have received, and how we plan to grow and meet the needs of the ARC community. In particular are those seeds/ideas that have begun to germinate around how we might deliver our offer in new ways, including the webinars we are planning to tackle the issue of National Minimum Wage and Sleep ins (that worrying weed) and other matters of concern too. Also taking root are the plans for our Annual Conference, which, later this year, will explore issues of diversity and human rights – and, perhaps most importantly, a focus on the regions and enabling organisations to share and network (as I write, Rod Landman, our man in the South West, is finalising dates for meetings in June involving commissioners and speakers from the CQC ) – watch this space for forthcoming shoots and leaves.

My final blossom of thought turns to nurturing and the need to tend for what we are growing. Sure enough my rolled up lawn came with instructions with how to ‘care’ for it – namely to just soak it with water – but it did make me think about our Care Certificate awareness sessions and our new Care Certificate Materials and how they link in with this idea – of nurturing the development of staff. The establishment of the Certificate and the materials we are developing to meet it are about going far beyond providing a simple set of instructions – supporting people could never just be that – but are about providing staff with not only the knowledge that they will need to grow and establish themselves successfully but also the first steps to a more deep-rooted understanding of what it means to support someone so that everyone in that relationship can flourish and bloom.

Our revamped ‘Getting Started’ learning materials are due out the end of the month. My lawn is coming along a treat.