Pick of the Month - December 2021

3 December 2021 | By Faye Edwards

December is here and with it, we bring you 2021’s last Pick of the Month! This month, we feature Social Entrepreneurs using street food to promote an open conversation around mental health, a Development Director at a ground-breaking performing arts venue, a Charity Leader of a community hub and support centre for local residents and a Trustee of TREM Place of Our Sanctuary.

 

Fellow of the Month – Joanna Newell, Roundhouse

Joanna Newell is Associate Director of Development at Roundhouse and is a Senior Fellow of Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy. Joanna joined Roundhouse in November 2019, just a few months before the pandemic took hold.  

Here’s what Joanna had to say about the impact of COVID-19 on Roundhouse:

"In March 2020, the Roundhouse building closed and our commercial income disappeared overnight, representing 70% of our pre-Covid turnover. There were moments when we didn't think the Roundhouse would survive. It's been a weird and difficult 18 months, to say the least.”

“There is a sense that despite the chaos, fundraising has had a moment in the spotlight. Certainly at the Roundhouse, the pandemic has focussed attention on fundraising at the Roundhouse as a central - vital - tenet of organisational capability. (The fundraising team delivered 84% of the turnover in 2020/21). Fundraising played a critical role in not just financial recovery but also in shaping strategic direction and future growth ambition.”

On looking to the future, she said:

“We've been able to generate new and larger partnerships in 2021 and into 2022 which has given leadership confidence in not only building back, but to dream and plan for a future that will see the opening of a new Creative Centre for young people and new programmes for more young people.”

“Fundraising, particularly in the pandemic, has required tenacity, integrity, creativity and resilience. Thanks to reading the work of Beth Breeze, my reflections, as part of the Senior Fellowship, have been about the role we, fundraisers, play in cultural organisations. In the past, I’ve called myself ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’, a ‘generalist’, ‘a professional canapé eater’. These quips help to permeate an unhelpful and negative narrative associated with fundraising and, more widely, philanthropy. It’s time that we all start recognising that fundraisers play a key part of the creative output of contemporary arts organisations and start believing it too!”

You can keep up to date with Joanna’s work online at @jo_newell

 

Charity Leader of the Month – Anita Grodkiewicz, Rosmini Community Centre

The Rosmini Community Centre is based in the heart of Wisbech, providing various activities and services within four themes: Education, Art, Health and Leisure. Anita Grodkiewicz is Centre Manager and has 25 years of experience working in the charity sector! In her 13 years at the Rosmini Centre, she has raised a considerable amount of money to deliver their services. 

Anita told us a little bit about her role in the organisation:

“I took on the role of Community Development Manager at the Rosmini Community Centre in Wisbech 13 years ago. It was originally a three-year post but I’m still here! Our community is very diverse and I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of interesting people from other countries and learning about other cultures too. I was delighted to be accepted onto Cause4’s Heritage Compass Programme, to learn and share experiences with other people working in the charity sector and to apply that learning to my current role".  

Employment support has been provided through a project which has been running at the centre since March 2019, with free lunches offered throughout the week along with online training for those who lack qualifications and require job support.

Talking about their other work, Anita said:

“We redistribute approximately a ton of food weekly, donated by supermarkets and local business's which would have ended up in landfill and instead helps those in need. This year we have also working with Public Health on some Covid related projects and raise awareness of some of the issues that affects members of our local communities.”

Integration and translation are central to the work at the centre with the Rosmini Centre Wisbech translation project completing 456 translation and interpretation jobs between April 2018 and April 2019. Incredibly, this work was completed by 17 volunteers and staff members who provided services in 7 languages: Bulgarian, Fula, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Russian. 

“Wisbech has a large migrant population from Central and Eastern Europe and wards with high levels of deprivation. As a Community Centre we identify the needs of our local communities and then seek to provide services to support those needs. We are flexible in that we are able to address changing needs including specific language support at any given time. The Wisbech community is in constant change and we here at the centre are ensuring that our staff and volunteers represent the local population in terms of its diversity.”

You can read more about Anita’s work on Facebook

 

Social Entrepreneurs of the Month – Lewis Greenwood & James Reid, Fink Street Food

Lewis Greenwood and James Reid are Co-Founders of Fink Street Food, the UK’s first social enterprise Street Food and Events business with a mission to break open the mental health conversation one bite at a time and to support those suffering from mental ill health.

Through epic food experiences, Lewis and James provide important information and supporting services to their customers, with the overall goal of promoting positive conversations and mental health attitudes. They encourage people to not only make positive steps to improve their own mental health but to support others through difficult times.

To summarise their work, they said: 

“Using our middle eastern inspired fusion menu, we are connecting people through great food experiences, raising awareness and supporting vital projects and initiatives that help those in need such as our local charity partner NO5 Young People, supporting young people's mental wellbeing within the local community.”

Whilst creating incredible food, Fink are able to achieve their mental health mission with core values of education, awareness, consciousness, and support at the heart of their work. Through education, they work to improve knowledge and promote positive attitudes to mental health, signposting support services and key organisations to those who may need it. Centrally, educating customers on the prevalence and impact of mental health problems is key. Increasing awareness of burnout and how best to prevent it goes hand in hand with tackling stigma around mental health and by encouraging customers to be mindful of their own thoughts, they are empowering self-care and promoting positive lifestyle changes too. All of which is followed up with support and guidance by selflessly funding mental health counselling for young people, offering cookery skills training for young care leavers and generously, using 50% of their profits to support mental health services and charities.

Speaking of their achievements so far, Lewis and James said:

“Our first few years have been extremely challenging, but also incredibly rewarding! Having supplied over 7000 meals for the homeless and donated over £10,000 to mental health charities in the last 18 months, and with our shiny new mental health food truck on its way, the future is bright for us to break open the mental health conversion even further!”

Keep up to date with Lewis and James on Twitter at @FinkStreetFood

 

Trustee of the Month - Olajide Bankole, TREM Place of Our Sanctuary

Olajide Bankole is a Trustee of TREM Place of Our Sanctuary. TREM Place of Our Sanctuary is a multicultural, family loving church committed to nation building, supporting individuals to fulfil purpose in order to make a difference in their community. 

Olajide was honoured to be asked to become a Trustee:

It’s like someone saw a quality in me without my promoting or asking, and felt I can add value and be an asset to the group.”

He accepted the position as a natural next step in his lifelong pursuit of leadership positions, where he is able to influence others and promote the values and goals of an organisation.

Olajide’s advice for a potential Trustee is to consider what drives you to be a one. Those considering the position should remember it’s a voluntary position, so be confident that you have the passion to serve the charity and put the charity’s interest above your own. 

“Make your voice count. Speak out on issues of debate, advocate for the people, bring in your knowledge and experience; this is where your value as a Trustee comes to life. Make things happen. Don't sit on the fence.”

Follow TREM Place of Our Sanctuary on Twitter at @TREMFulham

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