<![CDATA[DBC - Our Blog]]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:18:49 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[London Marathon 2017 (Done!)]]>Wed, 10 May 2017 12:47:24 GMThttp://daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk/our-blog/london-marathon-2017-doneAfter a long year of training, the London marathon finally arrived.

I was slightly thrown by the need to collect my race number from the expo event a few days before, but this proved to be an exciting prelude to the race itself. Having trekked across south London, overcoming my general fear of getting on the tube, I arrived at the weird and wonderful Expo.

It proved to be a massive event, full of excited marathon runners, many looking like they were keen to run that afternoon, including being dressed for a run. I wondered around the event for an hour resisting the urge to come away a new Garmin running watch, new trainers, socks, gels, snacks, running tops etc. So much running bling. I also managed not to sign up to a marathon in some exotic location. One marathon at a time I convinced myself.

I went to the Expo on the Thursday, and then has to contain my child like excitement until Sunday of the race. I’ve ran a couple of marathons but London is one of the world great marathons.

Sunday morning couldn’t come quick enough. Due to the wonders of the Northampton train timetable I ended up dragging my wife out at the crack of dawn to drive me to Milton Keynes to catch a 6.30 train. There was a great sense of camaraderie amongst the runners heading to London.  This continued all the way to Greenwich. I spoke briefly to a St Johns Ambulance Volunteer on the train, who I desperately looked for at his station mile 24. I guess he was either busy or I couldn’t see him, blinded by sweat and exhaustion.

Figure 1 Chilly start to the day.
I made away across London and walking through Greenwich was fantastic, huge buzz of excitement.
Figure 2 Race day Greenwich High Street.
Figure 3 Greenwich Park – making my way towards the start line.

After standing around for an hour or so, checking I had everything I needed and putting my bag of kit onto the ‘kit lorries’ I made my way to the ‘pens’ where everyone is sorted into the approximate time they think they will complete the race. As my Garmin watch had finally died a death I decided to get close to the 4 hour Runners world pace runners to ensure I didn’t go off too quick. These guys are great. They run the whole marathon at guaranteed time 4 hours, 3.30, 5.15 whatever with a big flag on their back so people can see where they are! Absolutely incredible people.

The London Marathon has three start points to ease congestion, and we all merge around mile 6. Despite this we still took 11 minutes to shuffle across the start line. This means that every time you hit a digital clock along the way, on the mile markers you have to do mental arithmetic to  work out your real time, as your finish time is calculated from when you cross the start and finish line.

London is also great as many of my friends and family where able to track me real time on an app, as your time is registered across various points during the race due to a timing tag attached to your trainers.

The race was the busiest I’ve ever been part of. Due to trying to stick to the pace runners, I was stuck in a huge crowd of people also trying to follow them! This was pretty exhausting as we were all intent on not tripping each other up, not running into the back of each other, or dodging round slower paced runners, rather than seeing the sights and enjoying the race!

Despite this crossing London bridge was a fantastic visual experience and a real highlight. The crowd was fantastic and cheered everyone on, all the way round. Even a group of squatters cheered people on, sitting atop the roof of their squat!

Due to the distance there were several areas the race cuts back on itself. MQ the charity I was running for was at the 21 mile point. This meant that I could see them on the other side of the road at mile 14 as well. I gave a very enthusiastic wave at mile 14 when I spotted them. Mile 21 I gave a weary and weak fist pump to the air, the previous 7 miles taken the shine of some of that enthusiasm!

People say the marathon is run in two parts. Mile 1-20 and mile 20-26.2 (.2 that last .2 is hard), I guess for some of the people flying round the route under 3 hours they don’t feel that, but for us keen amateurs I would say that’s true. It was hot, it was busy, and it was a long way. I was struggling that last few miles and even when the famous Mall finally appeared I didn’t have much more to give.

Having fallen back from the pacers I crossed the line 4 hours and 32 seconds. I hoped to come in under 4 hours but I’ll take that time, I was happy with it as I thought I would miss the 4 hour mark by closer to ten minutes.

The funny thing was as I staggered home and phoned my wife, due to the tracking app, she knew my time before I did! Amazing day and a massive thank you to MQ for securing my place.

Over all I raised a whopping £2’599 pounds for a fantastic cause and I’ve already signed up for the ballot next year.


Figure 4 It was all worth it!
Figure 5 No one wanted to sit with me on the way home, maybe I should have showered first?
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<![CDATA[Post-Christmas running. ]]>Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:38:31 GMThttp://daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk/our-blog/post-christmas-running
Christmas seems to come around quicker every year, and leave just as quickly. This year I was determined to not to lose momentum in training for the London 2017 marathon on behalf of MQ Transforming Mental Health.

I learnt some tough messages last year. The job I was working at that time was not going great, stress at home with juggling work and family commitments was putting a strain on my relationship, and this all combined to me eating and drinking way too much over the festival season. Whacking on around a stone in weight.

Tired, over weight and miserable I swore this year would be different. I made big changes to my life last year. I changed jobs. I had over three months off the booze and I hit the gym hard. I sorted out a few issues at home too, although I must keep an eye on that so I don’t get overly comfortable and stop trying.

I signed up to the London marathon because I knew I needed a goal. Going into December I was knocking out 18 miles runs on frosty Sunday mornings. I had a couple of weeks off over Christmas but Kept the gym up. I still ate and drank too much, cut adrift from the usual routine of work, but it was so much better than last year. I also made the public admission of no booze till London. Nearly three weeks in I feel good.

Running is back up to half marathon distance (13.1 miles), but I’m feeling it. It’s cold, it’s busy, I have 2 daughters with January birthdays plus we’re trying to sell our house, and I ache after every run (including my hips, makes me feel old) so it’s easier not to run than it is. But that’s not going to happen. I have people counting on me.

I have some friends on Facebook running races too, Silverstone half, MK half, London marathon, so I can be the wise old mentor to them now, with two marathons under my belt already, just like I was mentored through my first. It feels good.

Mental health continues to be a feature in my life, hitting close to home, as it has a way of doing. That’s why I’m raising money for MQ. Mental ill health can hit any one of us or our families without warning. If anything, I think it’s probably more likely due to the seismic shifts we are seeing across the world. Uncertain, scary times. Still at least I escape for a few hours, lost in my thoughts, enjoying my natural runners high, aching hips and all.

Thank you to all my friends and family that have already given so generously and thank you Terry and Daisy Bogg for giving me a new job, kick starting this marathon journey, helping me raise the cash, and for being generally good people.

If you would like to support MQ carry on the fantastic work that they are doing, just click on the link below.

Thank you.

Niall

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/niall-spencer
 

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<![CDATA[The story so far...]]>Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:11:13 GMThttp://daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk/our-blog/the-story-so-farPicture
About 6/7 months ago, I decided to run another marathon, despite the fact I was still feeling the effects of the last one in Milton Keynes.

This time I decided I’d raise money for a worthy cause, MQ Transforming Mental Health rather than just run for my own sense of achievement. Not to do things by half I decided on London as it’s arguably the best marathon in the world. Who knows if I’m lucky I’ll get on telly, unlikely to be looking my best mile 20 but that’s by the by. I was lucky enough to get a precious place in the run thanks to MQ and I’ve been training hard since then to get in shape and raise some much-needed money for the charity.  

Training (it’s hard!). 

The thing with getting ready for a marathon is, it takes a lot of time and effort to get fit enough to complete one, let alone complete one in good time. I find the moment you stop, the couple of weeks off you give yourself soon becomes a couple of months. The 18 mile runs become 6-8, then sod it I’ll go to the gym instead. 

I quickly become a fair-weather runner, the hint of rain in the air was enough to knock it on the head. But no more! I’ve gradually pulled myself out of the funk and gone from 8 miles to 12, to 18 in the last month or two. 

18 is hard, especially on a cold Sunday morning when most sensible people are still in bed. But the feeling of getting home after a good run with solid pace (8.30 minutes a mile on a good day) feels fantastic. I have 2, nearly 3 hours to myself, in my head. I need to keep half my mind focussed on safety (traffic, not stepping on a tin can and busting my ankle or stepping in road kill on the A45!) but the rest of me runs wild, thoughts bouncing around in my brain like a ping pong ball. It’s physically and mentally exhilarating. 

Why else do it?

I’ve seen first-hand in my professional and personal life the impact that mental health issues can have on people’s lives. Two of my friends have taken their lives, one recently. I’ve seen people crippled by anxiety and others knocked for six by depression. I’ve seen young people experiencing early onset of psychosis facing waiting lists, people feeling the only way they can show people their mental anguish is to hurt themselves physically and others self-medicating with drink and drugs as a way of coping with a bewildering and frightening world. 

Mental health issues can affect anyone of us, or someone we love, and we can feel as powerless to help as we would with a physical illness. Despite this, stigma still prevails and people can be frightened or ashamed to open up and talk about their feelings. They can fail to seek out the help they so badly need. 
Together we can make a difference. 

MQ is seeking to transform the support that people affected by mental health receive through research such as modelling the brain to better understand schizophrenia, improving treatment for PTSD and developing online tools for anxiety management. The potential to make a change is massive, but they need your support. 

We are running a BIA Refresher on the 4th April 2017.
All of our profits made from this day will be going to charity. Are you due for an update?
Email us at
enquiries@daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk
and see more info here http://daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk/news/bia-refresher-2017

Donating money is really easy, follow the link below and give what you can. Thank you, together we can make a difference. 


https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Niall-spencer 

Niall Spencer.
DBC Project Manager



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<![CDATA[Why, after all these years, I have decided to join BASW....]]>Sun, 17 Jul 2016 21:30:55 GMThttp://daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk/our-blog/why-after-all-these-years-i-have-decided-to-join-baswThere has been a great deal of debate since the closure of TCSW about whether BASW can take up the mantle of social work's professional body, one of our associates, Kate Johnson, who is currently working on TCSW Legacy Project for DBC, talks about why after thirty-eight years of being a social worker she is finally joining the association.


​I began my career in social work back in 1978. I joined a trade union, of course, and sort of assumed that doing that was enough to protect my interests. Frankly, I didn’t give much thought to the interests of the profession more generally, and if I was aware of BASW, it was only dimly.
Ten years later I moved across into social work education, which is where I spent the next quarter of a century. When TCSW was set up in 2012, I didn’t join that either. Like most other busy teachers, I rarely had time to lift my gaze to anything beyond a computer screen or a classroom of students, and TCSW seemed like yet another bothersome body whose hoops we might have to jump through.

I just didn’t get it, didn’t understand the need for a professional body, couldn’t see its relevance to me, or to anyone else.

But that changed in 2013, when I joined TCSW as their Education Advisor and began to mix in very different circles. As an employee, there was no pressure on me to become a TCSW member but soon enough that’s exactly what I did. And my reasons? Because it became supremely, abundantly clear to me that social work needed a body to champion its interests, to raise its profile, to give positive authoritative messages to the media, to question and critique government policies, and to support the profession in raising its standards. All this we tried to do, but in the end, as everyone knows, we failed. In June 2015 the Government announced it would no longer fund the College. Overnight, social work lost its fledgling professional body.

It has taken me another year to decide to join BASW. It has taken me that year to arrive at the increasingly optimistic conclusion that BASW is our best bet for a new professional body. And that’s because what I have seen in recent months is an organisation that has been both acting and talking like a professional body should:
  • They have taken on some of the residual functions of TCSW, which includes hosting the rather side-lined Professional Capabilities Framework;
  • They have appointed, in Ruth Allen, a new CEO who as one of the most active and senior members of TCSW, is perfectly placed to understand the culture and ways of a professional body;
  • They are producing statements on government policy which juggle the need to be properly critical with the sense to be reasonable and balanced.

Added to that, BASW, unlike the College, is established, settled, seems able to live within its means, and is not subject to the graces and favours of government.

Of course, that is not to say that it is a foregone conclusion that BASW will become the next professional body for social work, or even if they do that they will inevitably make a success of it. They have a historical legacy that is not to everyone’s liking. And although their membership is numerically similar to that of TCSW, it needs to broaden and attract a much wider range of social workers who, if they join, will come with an equally wide range of political and other views. Whether this is possible remains to be seen. The report of the Education Select Committee published on 13/7/2016 captures this issue thus:

Some of our evidence pointed to the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) as the natural replacement for TCSW. We heard that BASW already was a self-sustaining grassroots movement that represented 20,000 social workers, with the capacity to evolve into a wider role.’
‘However, support for BASW as a successor body was far from universal. We received some evidence that suggested a new body, separate from BASW, should be formed.’ 1

In my view, it would be a mistake to set up TCSW #2 and risk the outbreak of renewed hostilities between it and BASW: BASW has changed, is changing and will continue to evolve under the leadership of Ruth Allen, who I know, like and respect.

I am now confident that BASW has the potential to be an effective, unifying professional body for social work and social workers. Which is why, this morning, I (at long last) applied to become a member.
 
1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmeduc/201/201.pdf pp31-32
 

Kate Johnson
Associate
14th July 2016
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<![CDATA[London Marathon 2017, here I come!!]]>Tue, 12 Jul 2016 13:17:26 GMThttp://daisyboggconsultancy.co.uk/our-blog/london-marathon-2017-here-i-comePicture
Thank you to Daisy Bogg Consultancy for spurring me on and supporting me and thank you to MQ for Mental Health for giving me a valuable place in the best marathon in the world. 

Competition to do the London marathon is fierce, even with the huge number of people taking part. I'm hugely grateful to MQ for giving me the opportunity to run for them and raise awareness of the fantastic work they do.

The reason I threw my hat (should that be running shoes?) in the ring with MQ is that they are a mental health research charity. By supporting them I am helping them to create innovative new ways to tackle mental health issues, and therefore reach a huge number of people, both now and in the future. 

Why a marathon? Why not a bake sale or sit in a bathtub full of beans? 

I've been a keen runner for years but it was only when my mate Steve Kennedy, a veteran marathon runner, started dragging me out on freezing cold Sunday mornings that I started to increases both my speed and distance. Thanks to him in 2014 I ran my first ever half marathon at Silverstone. The following year I ran my first marathon in Manchester. 

My first marathon went like a dream, at least until Mile 22. Then it started hurting. I later discovered I had badly injured my hamstring and wouldn't be running again for a few months, on the plus side the adrenaline carried me over the line in 3 hours and 48 minutes. 

My second marathon was Milton Keynes this year. This went like a dream too, until mile 16. Then the too quick start and the heat battered me for the last 10 miles. 

Somehow I managed to scrape in just under 4 hours at 3.56. 

So I'm not expecting London to be easy. But then you don't do marathons because there easy, you do them because they are hard (thank you JFK for the quote). 

I love training for them, I love running most of them, but mainly I love completing them as it's such a massive achievement, made all the sweeter this year as I'll be helping other people along the way.


​Niall Spencer, Project Manager


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