Boots – who knew her name?

Not those boots! – the other household name we’ve all grown-up with – Boots the chemist.

The Sunday supplements of a leading broadsheet newspaper had an inspiring piece on a woman who made a serious difference in setting Boots on a path of social inclusion breaking previous commercial barriers.

Florence Boots, married to Jesse, son of founder John Boots, had a steely determination and a unique ability to see social justice, doing the right thing and business were not separate entities but essential elements in disrupting the norm to deliver better results for all – an alien idea for 1879!

In 1897, Florence drove beauty at Boots – unheard of at the time. An anecdote from archivist Sophie Clapp told how Jesse and Florence argued over whether beauty or healthcare should have the biggest space. Story goes that Jesse won but Florence installed a huge mirror so anyone at the healthcare counter saw the beauty display!

Thinking outside the box like this is typical business practice today.

Florence’s ideas for improvements to both business and community continued. In 1898, Florence introduced a subscription service – Booklovers’ Library to make books more accessible. She went on to install cafes in the Boots stores – remember there were no Starbucks or Costas then – to give a safe meeting space.

This socially conscious thinking extended to staff as well as customers. Free hot chocolate was provided each morning as Florence recognised many staff couldn’t afford breakfast before coming to work and provided them with a hot meal at lunchtime. A school and gym was built for staff and Boots was one of the first to introduce the five day working week.

Now we have Instagram and Twitter etc to show inspirational quotes. Back then, Florence wrote inspirational poems directly to staff.

All of this social justice for staff and the community grew the brand to such an extent, Florence was made a Board Director in 1917 – a rarity at the time. Growing the brand still further, Florence and Jesse sold-up and retired in 1921 but the brand still carries their name today if not all the initiatives in the same form Florence instigated.

One of her lasting legacies is student halls at Nottingham University which she personally funded at the time for women to get access to higher education during an era when it was much more difficult than today. The Halls still stand and are known as FloBo House.

https://www.studentcrowd.com/hall-l1004971-s1044556-florence-boot-hall-university_of_nottingham_the-nottingham

In the enduring negativity of Covid-19, this piece of journalism inspired hope in me for the future. I believe humans with drive, determination and a sense of social justice will overcome any barrier. We can learn a lot from Florence and other past trailblazers.

Are we going to sit around moaning about ‘our lot’? Or are we going to do something about it?

Florence’s image above curtesy of You Sunday supplement. Who knew her name? Now you do.

A step too far?

Some years back, I was introduced to Adam who had just started working with Jamie at a national recruitment company.

Sharply dressed, seemingly able to talk to anyone at any level confidently and make up really good raps for audiences ‘off the cuff’. A real ‘presence’ in the room, Adam was late teens when I met him not sure of the path he would ultimately take.

Several different jobs over the years followed before Lockdown hit. At Christmas 2020, after almost a year of uncertainty the global pandemic has brought us all to trying degrees, Adam took the massive, in my view, step of getting on a plane and going to Tanzania. Without a job/home to go to there, Adam wanted a complete change.

He reached out to me to discuss his next moves and explore his thoughts – I was honoured.

I was shocked by the reality of Dar es Salaam from the photos Adam sent me which were the polar opposite of my perceptions of what this African City would be like.

Curtesy of Adam, I share a photo of his new home City:

According to Adam the pace of life is much slower compared to London and has given him time to think what he really wants to do.

Taking the time to ask ourselves ‘are we happy?’ and ‘does it feel right’ enable us to take the pulse of where we are and helps answer those questions of whether to keep going down a certain path or change.

Adam’s had the time and space to figure out his next move by relocating to Tanzania – even if to some of us it feels like a step too far.

Of course, it may not be practical to relocate to the other side of the world to find what we want to do. We don’t have to. Giving ourselves some space alone to think about our own happiness and whether what we are doing ‘feels right’ will give us the same ignition for our own next steps.

The two sides of cancer during Coronavirus

A disturbing headline.  250,000 lives condemned because they couldn’t get tested/their treatment during the Coronavirus pandemic.  More families will be deprived of loved ones.  Some will never recover.  Questions will always be asked

 

‘with Nightingale Hospitals, why didn’t my …….. get their test/treatment in hospital? or why wasn’t I given the choice to go ahead with my treatment and the threat of Coronavirus in hospital or holdout and risk the spread – it’s my life, my choice?’

 

Heart wrenching for all involved.  Decision makers will have to bear the weight of their decisions going forward.  This, for me was the worst side of Coronavirus reported in the Sunday papers.

 

Below was an innovative feature alongside the one above which for me shows the best face of cancer during this period.  Medical professionals thinking outside the box to treating reassure their patients.

 

 

Whatever your view, one thing is for sure, a lot of long lasting pain will be caused by this pandemic which we don’t event realise the full extent of yet.

I caught a news item on Aljazeera this morning which posed  thought provoking, ethical questions about a vaccine for Coronavirus/Covid-19.

 

Who should be the guinea pigs for a potential vaccine trial?  We know someone has got to try it without knowing any side affects etc.  Is it right to trial it on healthy people and then expose them to the disease?  Is it right to trial it on those who are already sick?  I know I wouldn’t like to make this judgement call.

 

The question was then posed, once there is an effective vaccine, who gets it first?  The citizens of the country who discover it, the poorest countries with little access to healthcare, the healthiest population to prevent them getting ill keeping businesses going? medical staff, carers?

 

 

The world is a very small place.  People have friends, family, connections globally not just in the country in which they live.  We are used to travelling far and wide.  We know Coronavirus is related to the flu viruses and will be around now.  The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.  A quote I heard from  one of the speakers on AlJazeera this morning is ‘no one is safe until we are all safe’.

 

One thing is for sure, how humanity answers and acts on these questions will determine if humanity has a bright future or if it’s going to be a ‘me me me’ scenario.

 

What do you think?

 

 

The power of journaling

Having worked in the mental health and well being arena for so long, I’ve seen the power of journaling on the mind.  Capturing thoughts feelings, gratitude helps when reflecting back to learn to go forward.

 

But what if you are incapacitated and can’t journal?  Luckily for Mandy she had great nurses who went the extra mile to ensure when she recovered she could ‘fill in the gaps’ on the time lost through being in a coma.

 

 

93 days is a long time to miss from our lives.  We know how frustrating it is the morning after the night before not remembering what we said, did or where we were.  That’s just one night’s loss of memory through over indulgence.  But what about longer gaps like Mandy experienced through Covid-19?

 

The nurses started journaling each day for Mandy to read when she recovered.

 

 

Short entries but with powerful messages.  Now Mandy is home and starting the long recovering back to fitness without the worrying gap of those 93 days.

 

How amazing are our nurses?

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑