Heaven and Hell: With Louise Jordan-Hall
- Credit: Archant
Louise Jordan-Hall is the chair of local mental health charity, Norfolk and Waveney Mind.
She has extensive experience in both commissioning and managing the delivery of mental health services, as well as other specialist adult, substance misuse and HIV/AIDS services.
She brings a range of skills at chief officer level in local authorities, from joint working across health and social care, to economic regeneration, democratic services and governance.
Louise’s personal experiences and her time as a carer are key to her person-centred approach to service delivery.
She feels privileged to have the opportunity to continue improving services alongside people with lived experience, volunteers, staff and trustees.
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Here she talks to Gina Long
What’s the impact of Covid-19 and how are you adapting?
I live alone so the isolation factor was a bit of a shock for me.
I have a good social network and not being able to have eye to eye contact let alone hugs (!) was harder than I imagined.
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I have high level coping strategies but I needed family, friends and colleagues support to manage.
On the other hand, I am grateful that my work with Mind Norfolk and Waveney gave me a focus and my skills in Zoom and Teams meetings have increased!
At Mind Norfolk and Waveney, our leadership team had daily Covid planning meetings which meant we were well ahead in our planning to support staff and more crucially, were able to shift our face to face services with people who needed our support to telephone and online support.
Our staff in residential settings continued to provide a service and also required extra support.
All our staff have been and still are amazingly strong – I am so proud of them.
We are very good at mobilising change in services to meet people’s needs and worked closely with NHS, NSFT and NCC Social Care and our partners to drive through the changes that helped people survive through the worst parts of the pandemic.
We have a significant rise in demand as a result of Covid and already have changes in places to ensure people get more support very locally in their communities
Since November last year I also had to support my 93 year old mother to move into a residential home.
So, the impact of isolation and no visits has affected her and my family enormously.
I believe this pandemic has given us all a moment in time to stop, reflect and re-evaluate what is important in life and the value of people around us and our environment.
What is your connection to East Anglia?
Most of my childhood was in Felixstowe, although early on with my father in the Army, this was mixed with postings in Germany and in Dorset. I was born in Hong Kong.
I returned to East Anglia in 2000 to my penultimate career role after following a career around the UK, both north and south, and then lived in Lowestoft and Oulton, finally settling in early retirement in Norwich four years ago, six years after my husband died. A chance for a new life! I say early retirement, but my roles as a non-executive director in NHS and as a trustee in charities, along with my coaching business have kept me well employed! East Anglia was a good place to return to for me and my family.
What is your East Anglian Heaven?
I could say the ‘wide skies and beautiful beaches’, which is true, but what is also great is the variety of our communities, the history, culture, music and arts, from tiny theatres to big events to gigs in pubs.
Long walks and cycle rides are easy. The market towns provide a real community feel and although I love the slightly calmer pace of life here, our three university cities mean we are at the forefront of exciting and dynamic developments as well. I just love Norwich – our mini Brighton
What’s your East Anglian hell?
I think the only thing is the A140 between Norwich and Ipswich which I have to suffer once a week.
What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?
Difficult to choose, there are so many! Can I say ‘eateries’? The White Horse at Brancaster (special occasions), The Fat Cat Brewery Tap cheese boards, The Suffolk Food Hall under the Orwell Bridge, Ipswich, the Last Wine Bar, Norwich and the Orangery at Ketteringham Hall; who published a special recipe book of peoples’ baking during the pandemic with all proceeds going to Mind Norfolk and Waveney.
What is your favourite East Anglian landmark?
The driveway down to and including Felbrigg Hall – it is so beautiful and brings a sense of anticipation of a great walk in the countryside.
What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
I have to say Latitude Festival. I have missed it so much.
I was involved in agreeing the original planning when I was in Waveney and have been going for seven years now, with a group of women who are so diverse and so close to me that sharing all Latitude brings is such a joy to us.
My sister, my niece, my friend from when I was four years old, my flat mate at 19 years old and my ‘recent’ local friend. We always share our knowledge and pick and choose things to enjoy separately and together. My son and his friends also go but we are only allowed to link up once over the weekend!
What’s your specialist mastermind subject?
‘Pass’ – can’t manage an answer for that as I am hopeless at quizzes and now have to add Zoom quizzes to that too.
What is always in your fridge?
Blueberries and almond milk.
What’s your simple philosophy of life?
Be kind – you never know what is going on in other people’s lives - always remember that.
‘Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow’ (Mary Anne Radmacher)
What’s your favourite film?
So many to choose from – I am a member of Cinema City in Norwich which is delightful surroundings and sipping wine while watching films at the cinema has got to be a luxury
Four Weddings and a Funeral – wonderful, sensitive observations of friendships and love and pain, as well as fun and an almost happy ending for most.
What was your first job?
Carer at a residential home, at a time when you could live in. Miles out in the countryside with a red telephone box down the road by a field as the only communication with outside world from Lincolnshire.
What is your most treasured possession?
My great grandmother’s ruby and diamond ring which I wear all the time – and of course, having reasonably good health.
Who do you admire most?
I have to say my son first a foremost. He shows such fortitude and determination through what life has thrown at him and through his dad dying when he was 18. He is fun and generous and kind – successful in his career and sometimes remembers to call me. My rock.
Oh… and Nelson Mandela for his passion, perseverance and clarity of purpose.
Always reminds me of Martin Luther King Jr saying ‘An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law’.
What is your biggest indulgence?
My tiny garden – my haven.
What do you like most about yourself?
I ‘hear’ people and so I am blessed with wonderful friends and colleagues.
What’s your worst character trait?
Not saying ‘no’.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere abroad, Los Angeles to visit my brother is great, but in Covid times it would be the Lake District (I need the hills now I’m living in East Anglia!).
Best day of your life?
Holding my son (not his birth though!)
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Eggs benedict (in a favourite hotel).
What’s your favourite tipple?
Hmmm? Fizz and Earl Grey tea, but a friend has recently also converted me to pale rose wine.
What’s your hidden talent?
Haven’t found it yet… still time.
What’s your earliest memory?
My best friend (still is) holding my hand when we started school together.
What would you like played at your funeral?
Canto Gregoriano and anything by Queen; both very loudly
Tell us something people don’t know about you?
My first husband was in a successful rock band, so I suppose I was a ‘groupie’.
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
Something that is the complete opposite from who I am.
Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?
I moved away from Suffolk when I was 19 because Felixstowe didn’t offer me anything career wise. I have had wonderful experiences living in various parts of the UK both north and south and coming back to Suffolk and Norfolk was never my intention.
But by ‘going with the flow’ and finding that the culmination of my career, my work with businesses on regeneration of the area, the richness of non-executive work in the NHS and trustee work with charities, has I suppose brought me full circle.
I am in a position to give back to East Anglia the things I have learned in my life and make some positive contributions to improving our communities here. In return, I receive warmth and friendship and culture and music and a place that offers such a rich mixture of life.
If I am ever blessed with grandchildren (no pressure) then I hope they benefit from the same ‘wholeness’ I get from being here now.
What do you want to tell our readers about most?
We have learnt so much about how we can support each other during this pandemic and we all need to strive to keep that sense of community.
We held a virtual ‘Festival of Kindness’ in May 2020 because in Mental Health Awareness Week, Mind Norfolk and Waveney couldn’t do what we had planned.
The passion and the voluntary contributions from so many people in the arts, music, business and voluntary sector, as well as our staff and volunteers, mainly from their kitchens and gardens was immense.
The small things human beings can do for each other that keep us alive and healthy were, and still are, immeasurable.
If we can still do these types of things as we build our new ‘normal’ then there’s hope ahead.
Our ability to embrace our diversity and the tolerance that we show towards each other has to be the future.
Let’s not lose that. East Anglia and its people are special. We need to shout louder about how we do things here – we’re still a hidden gem that others can learn from.
Be kind and always grab joy when you see it.
For more information please go to: https://www.norfolkandwaveneymind.org.uk/
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