Stacey, Nick (Part 4 of 5). Pioneers in Charity and Social Welfare
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Interviewee's home, Faversham
Stacey, Nicholas, 1927- (speaker, male)
Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)
Part 4: While with Kent social services, NS and his staff began a pilot scheme in Thanet to assess the value of "care in the community". This was in 1976 for three years. It was discovered that older and disabled people kept at home with additional services did better than those in residential places. Sir Roy Griffiths's report made this approach into national policy [7:02] NS reads from Don Brand's book synopsis assessing NS's contribution through his work. [10:03] NS had to deal with the social services committee. They gave people with learning difficulties more responsibility, for instance with their travel, and backed NS when there was a problem. They turned down a grant for the Medway Gay Switchboard, but NS got the money after a radio broadcast [14:33] NS wanted a high profile for the social services and took every opportunity for publicity. He did not however get on particularly well with other social service directors, with civil servants or with doctors [20:48] NS did everything to keep youngsters out of prison and set up a semi secure place near Tonbridge Wells. He would always support staff who had accusations made against them [24:15] Children in care can be manipulative. There was no scandal about staff while he was there. [29:39] Long stay mental hospitals were closed. Many inmates should never have been there. On the other hand, staff knew when someone was really dangerous and NS had to buy in a secure place in Nottingham on one occasion. [35:57] With closures, staff were made redundant and there was a problem with grading the staff. A strike was called, following a sacking, led by two Social Workers Revolutionary Party members. Details. This was traumatic for NS who had tried so hard to improve things [42:40] He had always wanted a better deal for his staff and felt responsible for all the people in his care. [46:35] They were the happiest years of his life. He had a good team and exercised real power. A bishop has no power and NS is relieved not to have been a bishop. After 14 years in social services he was 56-57, he thought he should leave and get another job [52:05] He was asked to help set up the Isle of Dogs Arena, meant not only for pop concerts but for the young unemployed in East London. It was a powerful committee but they could not raise the money. In 1987 he went to New York and San Francisco to meet people concerned with HIV/AIDS. The National Aids Trust was set up here and NS was involved, as he was for a time with the Citizen Action Aids. [1:02:01] NS was made Six Preacher at Canterbury Cathedral, to preach one sermon a year. He was given a slot 3.15 pm on a Sunday in August with very few in attendance, but got four of his five sermons printed in the Times in full. [1:06:34] Then he was asked to be on the committee of the East Thames Housing Group, and had a key position. This lasted for five years, till NS became deaf. There was a real dilemma in Tower Hamlets where development occurred, houses were sold, and there were a lot of Bangladeshis coming in, leading to activity by the British National Party. The housing associations were alternatives to the local authorities. In Selling, where NS lives, a new woman came to be clerk of the parish council and tried to take over, leading to vendettas and libels. NS rallied the great and the good in the parish and got them voted in, and her out. [1:21:04] NS takes some services in the church at Selling, preaches at public schools, marries and buries people. The hoped for major chairmanship he wanted aged 57 didn't come. [1:23:36] Story of meeting Rowan Williams, [RW] Archbishop of Canterbury, before he took up his post there. The church establishment is pathetic when it comes to women bishops and homosexuals, and the Roman Catholics are even worse. [1:33:06] NS's children don't go to church but they are all caring people. NS's rejection by the church was painful. Summary of what he has achieved in his life. He has been married 50 years and took all the family to Greece for the occasion. [1:34:59] For his contribution to the church, NS was presented with the cross of St Augustine by RW. NS was never asked to help the church with his skills in choosing and using people, so this recognition was good. Story of wearing the cross at receptions. [1:40:15] NS was told that MS found him to be a threat. If he had been offered a job, NS might have taken it and lived to regret it. He couldn't have done all he has done without Anne's help. She came from an Anglo- Catholic family, Lord Halifax was her great grandfather. Anne's mother took against NS [1:44:44] the Woolwich years were tough, but Anne stuck it. NS is not embittered by the rejection by the church. They are blessed with their children.
Life story interview with Nick Stacey (1927-2017), sportsman, clergyman and social worker. This is a five-part interview with Revd Nick Stacey, which ranges across his long career in sport, the clergy and social services. As with all oral history recordings, the views expressed in the interview are solely those of the interviewee. In the case of this recording, there are some descriptions of the culture of social services in the 1970s and 1980s which people may find disturbing, and which the Library in no way condones. However, as first-hand testimony of a period in our recent past we believe that it is important for the interview to continue to be available to researchers.