Jude Bailie – Member in Focus #9

This week we speak to Jude Bailie for our #memberinfocus feature: “The Challenges and Opportunities of 2020”. 

Q1. If you could describe the year 2020 in one word, what would it be?


Q2. What was happening in your life when the pandemic struck?

Life was ticking along. My wee daughter was in the middle of nursery, my son who was one and half was toddling about the house and my hubby was running his business. I was working full time & loving my job. I’d returned from maternity in September of 2019 so I was really just getting back into the swing of things having been off for a year to have my son. I’d also taken on a new role in work in September and was getting to grips with that.

Q3. Why and when did you decide to get involved with community-based support?

I’ve been involved in this stuff since I was 18, and even before that I was involved in helping out at youth groups and community projects. I was a youth worker for about 12 years before and I studied Youth & Community work at UU. After youth work I moved more into community support and working hard to make our community support programmes stand alone sustainable programmes. 

Since I was a teen I really struggled to to walk past people in the street who were in need and not stop to help them. I can remember one time being at a youth event where I should have been inside but sitting outside was one of the town alcoholics. I remember sneaking out to sit with him just to see if he was ok and if needed anything. I spent the night talking with him. I really couldn’t understand how anyone could ignore him and be inside. I guess it’s always been part of my story. We all need each other, we cannot exist in isolation. If there is a way to help people who are in need I’m in 😊

Q4. What is the biggest challenge you have faced since the world went into lockdown?

Adapting constantly! We had some great projects running really well in March and then it all ended very abruptly. So we got about caring for those who were in need that we knew of while taking constant referrals from other agencies and individuals about people who needed help who we’d never met. The lists grew and grew.

We were constantly growing, making new relationships and partnerships, getting creative about ways to do things that could help people in need. We also found so many people we were in contact with did not access anything online and could or would not for any number of reasons so we had to go old school while embracing the online revolution for so many other things!

It was constant flux and we needed to adapt constantly. And we are still doing that. One minute I was mama and making sandwiches, changing nappies and being present in my kids and hubby’s life and the next minute I was answering the phone to another referral, covid helpline, or desperate person needing help. The energy it takes to stay in that constant adaption was a challenge some days.

Q5. Are you excited about any opportunities that have arisen this year?

Definitely! We have made so many new partnerships, connected with so many people and had our thinking changed time and again. All of that is shaping who we will be and become in the years that follow this. The links we’ve made will be key in moving forward and caring for our local community in the best possible way we can.

Q6. How are things looking for the remainder of 2020? 

Unsure – who knows what will happen, what we can do or be restricted from doing. We will always try to meet the needs that we can in our local community so we’re taking it a month at a time. We don’t plan to do any of the things we would normally do at this time of year so we are spending time being creative about how best to serve and care for the people in our neighbourhoods and communities. How can we bring joy to individuals who are really struggling and meet their needs is a big question this week for us. We are not sure what the last part of this year will bring but we are committed to this community, to each other and to serving those in need.

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