Sun. Sep 26th, 2021

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Vectis View – Heath Monaghan

3 min read

Founder of Aspire Ryde and the Island’s first Pioneer Minister

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a data geek. Good quality data can tell you that something is going well or not so well. It’s like looking behind you at your tracks to help plot your future course.

Not only that, but often while I was the Leader at Aspire Ryde I would look at the worth, impact and value of what had been achieved. Working through that if Mrs Smith (random name but not random person) attended our over-70s lunch programme, it would have impact, she would have nutritious meals, be less isolated, have people looking out for her and all this would have a positive impact and potential reduction in longer term costs to GPs, hospital and the care sector overall. It wasn’t just guess work either; useful calculators and formulas have been developed by government and housing associations. I was introduced to it by the fantastic team at ‘The Eden Project’ in Cornwall.

The results of collecting data and calculating impact for Aspire Ryde, helped to celebrate the achievements with the amazing team of volunteers and partner organisations. The results were astounding; by the end of 1999 the impact benefit to our Island was just over a staggering two million pounds! The charity’s growing income of £230,000 was cleverly turned into over £2million of impact, that’s some 861% increase in value.

I wonder what would be shown if all charities and public sector organisations, or those they contract, had to show their overall impact benefit. Might it help to direct public funds better? It would certainly help to see if things were heading in the right direction.
However, value-based assessment it is only one valuable tool that can be used to measure. We must not lose sight of being person-centred and focused upon improving our wider community. It would be awful if data drove everything and the emotion of the situation was driven out (kind of ‘sorry Mrs Smith you have now had your allotted maximum time at the lunch club, Bye’).

Our emotions are so very important and help each of us develop our ethics and our values, but perhaps the danger can be the methods we use to share with others. Throughout this pandemic we have seen people genuinely afraid and scared, whilst others theorise that the whole thing is all a hoax and use social media to push their views and opinions on others, being derogative to anyone who doesn’t follow their viewpoint.

As a newly-ordained minister in the Church of England I see this very same pressure – from both sides! Radical Christians, full of passion wanting to share their faith, sometimes getting it wrong and those who are more anti-faith trying to extricate religion from our society.

I have to admit, I myself don’t get it right all of the time, but my own moral compass is drawn from my Christian faith and the Bible that talks about acts of love and kindness. Much like what we saw when neighbours, who looked out for each other, people taking care of those more vulnerable with shopping and chatting over the fence to check up on one another. From people who volunteered to collect prescriptions, hot meals and so much more that made life better for those around us. The value of those actions were clear, acts of love and kindness.

Our value is clear and easy wherever you draw your moral compass from, this week be kind to one another.