Glyn Parry is our project manager and (alongside Andre) perennial fixer and problem solver, with a knowledge of SH:24 operations one might call encylopaedic. This week we stole a bit of his time to dig more into what makes him tick, both in and out of the office:
You used to work in local government. What made you decide to come and work for SH:24?
I am a big fan of what Margaret Mead (Women’s Rights Activist) said - 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world… indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.'
Local gov can be great at working with citizens to bring about change for the better, but it is happening in a major way in other smaller organisations around us all the time. Organisations like SH:24 are uniquely positioned to get close to citizens or users to engage with them to help transform services. I saw the ad for the job and immediately thought there was an amazing opportunity to get involved in a start-up that could make a big impact on peoples' lives. As much as I am a closet local gov geek there was no question that I was going to break away from my safety zone and apply.
I’d been lucky enough to be involved in a cool start-up called Open Cinema supporting homeless people in the past so I already had my start-up-right-of-passage under my belt. On my first day at SH:24 I was very excited and nervous - I was, like, bring it on, there is a lot to do!
What are you most excited about for the future of the service?
Seeing SH:24 become a fully fledged virtual sexual health service… the vision is really expansive, not stopping at STI testing nor neglecting reproductive health. It will be so satisfying to see a really accessible online service that fulfils most of people’s sexual health needs.
It is also great to see how the service fits in with physical clinics too and new models of delivery. Having mobilised the service in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin which has seen a transformation of the whole sexual health economy in the area - and then calling the service Open Clinic is super exciting. The whole concept of openness and making clinics part of the fabric of everyday life (no longer hidden at the back of a hospital) is pretty major I think. I’d like to see this concept translated to areas like mental health which unfortunately still shares a lot of the stigma attached to sexual health. Sort yourself out society!
What’s been your weirdest moment at SH:24?
There have been many. People do all sorts of wonderful things when testing like collating different testing kits (not only for sexual health) and sending them back to our lab asking to be tested for everything you can think of. I kind of love this - the idea that there is one super lab that can accommodate that. Maybe that is the future being pre-meted by our users!
What do you get up to in your spare time?
Ha Ha! What spare time?! I am still a part time raver…DJ-ing too…running long distances…repairing guitars from Gumtree…skateboarding…this makes me sound like I am 18 but I am 37 with two children and a third on the way! Some of my friends shake their heads at me but I don’t want to get ‘old’.
Thanks Glyn, and good luck with the new baby!