My Name is Rob McAdam from Belfast, Northern Ireland. 

I want to begin by talking about my community, I come from a community that has endured decades of conflict. A conflict that saw the loss of over 3,000 lives. My society is one that is very much divided and whilst for the most part the bombs and bullets have ceased in contrast to the dark period to which we refer to as “the troubles”. The communities in Northern Ireland continue to suffer from the impact of transgenerational trauma. 

These communities very much remain socioeconomically deprived, with high levels of educational underachievement, poverty and low income notwithstanding the crisis in which we face on issues such as homelessness and Addiction. With that being said the resilience of the people of Northern Ireland never ceases to amaze me. Their tenacity in breaking through the stereotypes of working class communities is endearing. Their will to see a society break down the barriers of religious division and social class is something that truly humbles me.   

I work across the community in Belfast in all sections of our society in my attempt to build bridges and forge relationship through building trust and confidence to enable the forming of partnership. My key areas of focus are the Addictions and Mental health fields with a key focus on crisis intervention. Someone once said a job isn’t a job if you would do it without the paycheque. They were indeed correct. 

I have a passion to see our Country and my city realise its greatness, to become a society whereby we support one and other where the ethos of care and compassion is a foundation for moving forward. I can choose to sit in the background and complain about what’s not working or I can choose to be at the forefront and create change. I’m pleased to say I opt to do the latter. 

I am currently a senior project worker for the largest Mental health charity on the Island of Ireland ‘Inspire Wellbeing Group’ furthermore I work as a social support officer in problem solving justice for the Leading Drug and alcohol treatment charity Addiction NI. Prior to taking on that role I was the Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group within Addiction NI. 

I must say I am excited to be part of this initiative, this will provide me with the unique opportunity to meet with likeminded people from right across the United Kingdom to ensure that our voices are herd especially when it comes to informing policy. 

Very often we become trapped in our bubbles and we fail to recognise the issues that are impacting on communities in other jurisdictions. I want to learn about not only those issues but where best practice is in dealing with certain issues and most importantly to work with my colleagues to ensure that our communities are being heard and not just heard but actually being listened to.