Fifty years ago, Jack Dominian and a group of likeminded colleagues sowed the seeds of OnePlusOne. To help us celebrate this important milestone, Jack’s Dominian's daughters Suzanne and Louise reflect on the early years of the organisation that their father founded, and how it has grown into the charity it is today.
Our dad, Jack, was a psychiatrist. From this psychiatric background and his own experience, he learned that what really matters is what people feel and how they relate to one another. Through his work he had witnessed the devastation that can occur when people’s feelings and relationships don’t work out. He wanted to do something about this, and he wanted it to be practical. He wanted to explore the physical and emotional evidence base around how people relate to each other and then to share this knowledge, so that everyone could better understand and strengthen their relationships.
“Our research does not fill books which lie on shelves gathering dust. Every bit becomes the basis for the development of active preventative work.”
Jack was a passionate person with huge drive, determination, and what could be described as obstinacy. Once he’d decided to pursue this idea, there was no stopping him. He refused to recognise any obstacles to his vision and fundraised tirelessly to make it happen. We all remember how embarrassed our mum would be after yet another social occasion when he had (as she would put it) pestered people he thought might be able to help. He was Greek, and not shy about asking for money – he was the sort of person it was hard to say no to!
We grew up with OnePlusOne in the background of our lives. Jack was always excited about the work that was going on – he was thrilled whenever there was a big funding success, or Penny was on the radio, knowing that others understood its importance too.
His germ of an idea has proved to have lasting and universal resonance. Times have changed and the world today would have been unrecognisable fifty years ago. But people are still people, and happy and healthy relationships still matter. It is wonderful to see how this initial vision has been passed down like a baton through successive generations of the amazing team at OnePlusOne.
Whenever we have visited the OnePlusOne offices, or attended events, we have always been moved when we hear from people in the organisation and how engaged they are with what they’re doing. It’s brilliant to see how OnePlusOne has been able to adapt and respond to changing times, particularly with the move to digital. It’s a joy to look at the OnePlusOne website and recognise that while the content, language, and means of delivery may have changed, the core messages would have been entirely recognisable to our dad. He’d have been thrilled by the accessibility of the resources and the wide reach that is possible with technology today.
He never engaged in the least bit with any form of technology, but when he saw the first digital resources, he said:
“This, is what I want. I didn’t know I wanted it, but this is it.”
These feel like uncertain times but as long as there are people, there will be love and interaction, and a need for understanding and support with our relationships. Here’s to the next fifty years!