Places and communities will emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the tragic losses experienced, writes Martyn Headley, chief executive of Clancy Consulting.
About six years ago, my Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the journey began, concluding in the strangest of circumstances with her passing away around two weeks ago. Very sad of course, but perhaps a blessing in the end.
Back in 2014, I decided I wanted to support the main charity undertaking research into Alzheimer’s. So the Clancy Bike Ride was born and it’s gone from strength to strength each year, with up to 80 riders of all abilities taking part. Many have a shared goal and common interest in the cause, as also tragic story familiar to many of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Roll on six years (probably about 22,000 miles, as far as I am concerned!) and we found ourselves approaching May with not a hope of hosting the event that we and many others had come to cherish, bringing so many individuals together from the industry and beyond.
We decided it would be wrong to permit the dreaded Covid-19 to defeat us on this, so we put in place arrangements to make the event bigger and better. A total of 70 riders joined us on our charity cycle this Wednesday- either on solo outdoor rides, or virtually through the Zwift app. Huge thanks to so many for joining in and raising funds for NHS charities while bringing a few smiles to faces.
The irony is that six years on, when communities across the globe are plunged into unprecedented depths, there is also the small matter of our now ‘Clancy Virtual or Solo Ride’ being sandwiched between my Mother passing away and me laying her to rest.
Add to that the fact that we have just celebrated VE Day, reflecting on the tragedy and heroics of so many from a different era but with some of those people still being with us to share their memories from those dark times – the likes of which we would surely never see again.
For me, the perfect pandemic storm arrived as I also approached the end of my first year in position as our chief executive. It had been a fantastic year in so many ways, largely as a result of my engaging more than ever with the 200 or so brilliant Clancy team players.
Embarking on our strategic company planning process from last autumn, the information gathering and consultation with everyone made it so apparent that we are a superb team with an ethos and culture of which we have every right to be immensely proud.
Only last week, we had our annual business planning meeting with 50 or so of our seniors involved by Zoom, naturally. That was time to offer congratulations on a great financial year that had just come to a close, albeit in not quite the way we had expected! Later this week, the whole of Team Clancy will be getting the same update, it being important to us to recognise the huge contribution that everyone makes.
I’m clearly in a position of mixed emotions and change, like many others are. There are thousands of tragic tales to be relayed. This pandemic will have stripped us of many of our loved ones, often in circumstances that did not permit us the opportunity to give them the send-off they truly deserved.
Then there are of course the thousands of people that have been on the frontline fighting Covid-19. Many have lost their own lives, paying the ultimate sacrifice. Many more who have either been in the thick of it or been personally impacted by the pandemic, will require the considerable, and not to be underestimated, rebuilding of their mental health wellbeing.
All that being said, equally and far more significantly, there are endless inspiring examples of strength in adversity that we can, and should, celebrate, perhaps when we have time to reflect a little more. For now, it is time to dig deep on so many fronts, whether that is in relation to looking after our vulnerable relatives or neighbours, assisting, supporting and keeping a watching eye on all those around us at work and beyond.
It has been said many times that we will emerge stronger from all of this, and while it may have become a bit of a cliché, I do genuinely think this will be the case. I can only speak from my own experience, both personal and professional, when I arrive at this conclusion.
What is apparent to me, is that the two worlds (work and personal life) that we routinely function in and which are often totally separated, will perhaps become one. You never know, we might even hold on to that re-engagement with community and function in three worlds, which would be a terrific outcome despite the tragic losses experienced.
I offer all of the above from a personal perspective but I do so reflecting on what I consider we at Team Clancy stand for, with great values, ethos and culture, aligning and mirroring what will be the core strengths that our communities will inevitably draw on to overcome the current challenges.
Anyway, thanks for bearing with me. I’ll leave it at that and reach for the Lycra!
Do get involved supporting the NHS charities, either via your efforts with our own event or by separate means.
- Martyn Headley is chief executive of Clancy Consulting, a multidisciplinary building consultancy based in Altrincham