As I woke this morning, I had a sense of panic. Far too much to do and I needed to get ‘on it’. My poor old Meriva’s Power Steering has packed up and I need to drop it off at the garage and somehow make my way to the Interchange Retail Park for the opening of a new Marks & Spencer Food Hall as we are their chosen charity of the year.
I needed to do all of this and arrive looking cool and calm and ready for the photo session – which can I just add, is the bit that I dislike most about my job. It is a standing joke in my family that I take a dreadful photograph. Most people when they are trying to be kind, tell me “you look much better in real life”.
It felt lovely to meet the staff at the M&S store again, the Manager has taken FACES to heart and wants to do all he can to help raise funds and to raise our profile. Some of the staff remembered seeing us at their engagement day so we must have had some impact.
Poor Jane, she gingerly showed me the photograph that she intended to tweet and to put on Facebook – oh dear – I tried to edit it but I am just going to have to go with it… if I ever have another job, I will have a ‘no photo’s’ clause in my contract for sure.
Being a CEO for a small local charity is a fantastic job, I never really know what I am walking into. After nine years, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot plan as one minute we are fixing the loo, talking to commissioners or dealing with an emerging child protection issue.
Most of my days are spent trying to ensure we have enough funding for the services we want to provide and for the services that we know, from our experience are much needed.
Most of our income is restricted, which is how it should be. Grant makers such as The Big Lottery, Harpur Trust, Henry Smith, Children In Need, need to ensure that the money they gift to us is being used to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable and deprived in our society and I am pleased to say that we do this very well.
The most difficult funds to aquire are the unrestricted funds, not all of our salaries and outgoing funds are fully covered by projects. This is where Marks & Spencer and other supporters come in, as being a chosen "charity of the year" means we can cover those for additional costs (although I am still too tight to pay for a cleaner).
We have been very fortunate lately, we are not only the chosen charity for both M&S at the Kempston Retail Park and M&S in Bedford Town but we have also been chosen by McColls and we are to be the incoming charity for Bedfordshire Business Women which is very exciting.
So after an exciting start to the day, I need to get focused on work and on to the second stage of completing a grant application for the Local Sustainability Fund – We are happy with how it looks so far so watch this space.....