Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Farewell and a Few Final Words

Several followers of this blog have emailed me to ask why I haven't posted for a while. The truth is I no longer work in the social care or youth sector. In fact, I have left the UK and returned to Ireland where I am originally from.

Overall, I loved the six years I lived in England (apart from the months I spent in Manchester near the end, an awful place!) and came to see it as my adopted home for the time I was there. However, on account of valuing my mental health I was no longer able to work in the youth social care sector and found it almost impossible to find other work, so I made the decision to return to my native country to be near my family and close friends.

On a final note, I would like to thank all the followers of this blog for their regular contributions over the last few years. Above all though, I want to dedicate this blog and the Orwell Prize that I received in 2010 to two groups of people. Firstly, to all those kids in care and young adults in supported housing that I worked with, who despite coming from tough or neglectful backgrounds and having many personal problems as a result, were still able to rise above their issues and strive to improve themselves and didnt use their backgrounds as an excuse to bully and intimidate their peers, the staff that worked with them, or their communities. Secondly, to all the staff that work in these care homes or housing projects and have to endure verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis I really dont know how you all stick it.

I will be leaving up the blog for the time being and there is plenty more material that is not on the blog on my experiences and observations of working with the underclass in my book Generation F.

Thank you again. Over and out.

Winston Smith

34 comments:

Bill said...

Winston,

You book was sobering (probably not the best word), and a very good read. I am sorry that you will no longer be blogging in this area - perhaps you'll find something else to get you going.

Thank you.

Fishpaste said...

Sorry to see you leave the blogosphere. It was a pleasure to read your dispatches, and opened up a world I'd never have had access to you without your writing. I'll be buying the book, and wish you good luck in all that you do.

Jean said...

We had been wondering where you'd gotten to. Hope you're doing well in Ireland and thanks for doing all of this--I learned a lot.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Winston. It's been a great read - thought provoking and, in my case, attitude changing.

If life leads you to pastures worth writing about, please do so. I'll keep my RSS feed going in that hope.

In the words of one of your greatest countrymen; "May your God go with you".

Cheers,

Ray.

Fishandsteak said...

Thank you and good luck.

TonyF said...

All the very best. You stuck it a lot longer than I would have done.

Anonymous said...

Hi Winston,

Thanks so much for your blog. I hope you can find a steady job again soon and that the royalties from the book tie you over until then. (I bought a copy!)

Cheers,

Ben

Rebecca said...

You speak the truth, I work in mental health and it is much the same. Good luck. x x

Anonymous said...

Shame! Enjoyed reading your blog. Good luck to you in the future.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. Good luck with your new opportunities!

"Theophile Escargot"

John said...

My Mother used to work in social care, both fostering and in care homes in North Wales. Reading your blog was a sobering reminder of it all. I have checked out the book yet but I will.
Good luck with your new, hopefully more relaxing life
J

Daedalus said...

I have read the blog almost from the word go and it has been fascinating. I knew that something must have changed due to the lack of posts. Anyway all the best in your "new" old life, your well out of it; I would have ended up going postal on the twats. Skinning them alive and hanging them from a lamppost near were they came from would be my solution.

bilbaoboy said...

Winston

I lent one of my brothers your book. He had to put it down 3/4 way through.

As he said; 'It confirms my worst thoughts'

Thanks, good luck and I repeat from above 'May your God go with you'

Anonymous said...

Fair play

Good luck to you Winston.

you provided a voice for those of us who always knew it was madness!

I wish you the best in all that you do!

Anonymous said...

Good luck and all the best for the future. Your blog was insightful and thought provoking reading. I will be buying the book in due course.

Anonymous said...

Purchased two copies of you book, one for the Probation Officers I work with, one for the Social Workers. they were both *cough* well received :)

Good luck and God bless, you will be missed :(

Unknown said...

Sorry to see you leave. Only discovered you after the riots last Summer. I'm Irish myself and have been in London for 11 years. I spent about six months in a homeless boys hostel (as it was called) in Dublin in the mid 90s. Found your blog and book very very interesting. Hope the old sod works out for you, I don't think I could ever go back. Whatever you do next, you have a gift for writing, so consider blogging again.

Anonymous said...

Good luck for the future, the blog and the book provided a very interesting and frightening insight into this mad world.

Anonymous said...

Great book.
I hope you do well (although I am not sure going back to Ireland now is so wise).

LiseyDuck said...

Sorry to hear you're leaving the blogosphere, this was one of my favourites even though I didn't always agree with what you were saying. But glad you're in a saner place these days.

Anonymous said...

Winston,
yours was one of the first bloggs I checked every day for updates. Thanks for the great reads, and good luck in the future.
Pete

Anonymous said...

To begin with I was hooked on your blog because it spoke to the angry and frustrated side of me. I saw what you saw and sometimes came to the same conclusions. After a while it left me feeling hopeless and dispirited. I realised that you were presenting just the negative and broken. Few stories of change or recovery. Perhaps you didn't see them.... I look forward to your new projects.

Anonymous said...

Winston

I myself work in the industry and have done for some time. I tended to disagree with about 80% of your posts to be honest but thought it was good that you were able to excercise your brand of cathartic polemicism and give the industry some spotlight and critique.

My main fear is that you fed into some negative stereotypes about these young people and the daisy-chewing-hippie-dippy peace-man-etc ineffectual staff there to govern them. Some people reading this will have had their fears about the undeserving poor or "underclass" well nourished at times.

It's not all doom and gloom and the staff and kids are not all bad. There's some excellent work that continues to be done and there are some truly inspiring stories of people overcoming the odds. The rules can occasionally be baffling but they are there to protect people that have had it really tough in life. Quite often their fate was sealed as soon as they were born. They are the underside of the capitalist equation that many of those that are comfortable would rather deny existed. It is far easier to blame them for being dissafected than to shoulder some of the responsibility ourselves.

I'm not entirely surprised that you have left the industry and some of your posts made me think that it was not the right arena for you to work in for too long. Kudos for the hard work, stress and effort you put in though. It is not the most forgiving of areas in which to work and staff are often taken for granted.

It was great to see the final post written in tribute to the staff and kids however, perhaps your most positive post yet?

All the best mate, well done on your success with the blog and I hope the future bodes well.

Peace man!

SovietCity said...

Sorry to see you leave. I like your post about the riots. Why not keep blogging about Ireland?

good luck.
S

Sebastian said...

Good luck in whatever you choose to do next. Enjoyed your writings greatly.

Lance Manely- former Stab Proof Scarecrow said...

Shame you've gone. Good luck with whatever you do next.

hippiepooter said...

Hi, heard you interviewed on R5L and read some of your book in the Daily Mail.

I hope Britain will learn from your Irish good sense, but I fear things will just continue getting worse.

God bless.

staybryte said...

Best wishes, the blog was always an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

You will leave a real hole in the social landscape. Yours is one of the very few voices that spoke about the ongoing damage done by danger of putting middle class liberals to the most vulnerable people in society and all the while convinced that they are "helping"

Anonymous said...

I've recently resigned from an inner-city comp whose clientele were only biding their time to become your client base. Every word you wrote rang true and my own frustration with the purblind refusal of the "authorities" (a word they would hate) to stare unpleasant reality in the face and respond to it meaningfully has seen the end of my career too.
Good luck for the future.

Anonymous said...

I have just read the kindle version off your book on my iPad and it exceeded my worst expectations of the social services I pay for. They were very low already from living in Haringey for 30 years and from the writings of my professional colleague Theodore Dalrymple. I will highly recommend your book to friends and colleagues. I think your effort in the book and the blogosphere is not wasted as these common sense ideas eventually feed through into policy at some level.
Like you am emigrating to my home country (England) but from London - which as David Blunkett pointed out is not England.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Fair winds and following seas, Winston

Susie said...

I found this blog yesterday and read it all the way through within a day, and even though you don't write it anymore, I wanted to say thank you for writing about your experiences.

I believe it's vital for everyone (especially children and young people) to know someone cares about them and will help them succeed, and unfortunately there are many cases where this person has to be a paid professional. I agree with you that tough love is the best way in most situations. Some people can fight adversity with just support, but for many people, that support has to come with a good kick up the backside (a metaphorical one of course!). Anyone getting support from social care needs to be doing something for it. Many people of course already do, but as your blog shows, it's all too easy to never grow up.

I'm hoping to become a social worker, and I am worried about faced the viewpoints you've described. As you've said yourself, it's difficult to argue against people who believe in the "poor people with a poor past deserve all the help they can get" philosophy, because on the service they sound right. As your blog shows though, it isn't right and it doesn't work.

I want to thank you for writing your blog, and helping me confirm that my beliefs are an OK way to view social care, and don't in any way mean I'm a horrible person like some people try to make out. I don't expect it to be easy, but I am looking forward to becoming a social worker. Although your blog shows how hard it is, it also shows how desperately a tough love approach is needed. I'm sure, despite the many frustrations, you made a big difference for lots of people, and I hope I can too.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Winston, your blog is needed an so I'm sorry to see you go. However best of luck back home. If we ever bump into each other during my yearly trip to Ireland I'll gladly buy you a pint and tell you all about the horrors of workin in a local authority homelessness department. A job and a public sector I will hopefully be leaving very soon.
All the very best.