Pick of the Month - January 2022
6 January 2022 | By Faye Edwards
Happy New Year! We are kicking off the New Year with a round-up of the charity sector for 2022’s first Pick of the Month. This month, we feature a Trustee reflecting on past roles as he seeks his next position, a Chief Executive educating the public in the history of Combe Down, and a Social Entrepreneur with a mission to “change the world”.
Social Entrepreneur of the Month – Josh Turner, Stand4 Socks
Stand4 Socks was founded by Josh Turner who tells us a little bit about the thought process which set his business into motion:
“I started Stand4 Socks with the crazy question of, ‘what if socks could change the world?’ back in 2015. Socks were as an industry, a poorly made, dull afterthought, despite being something most of us wear every single day. Our concept was if we could make a quality, technically advance sock in an ethical way – doing good in a sustainable way from the sale of each sock – then maybe we just might.”
Since the social enterprise was established six years ago, they have made huge progress and now work with multiple social causes in several countries where they use their ethically made socks to encourage and create positive change. Although homelessness is currently their core cause, Stand4 Socks are also tackling important issues including environmental sustainability, child poverty and gender equality.
Surprisingly, socks are one of the most requested items by homeless shelters since they are rarely donated by the public. Since finding this out, Josh set out to solve the problem and his business now consists of an innovative ‘buy one, give one’ model where for every pair of socks bought, a pair is donated to vulnerable people in need. With homeless people on their feet more than the average person and often without access to a fresh pair of socks, this often results in serious foot health issues. Stand4 Socks are helping to combat this by developing specially designed socks for the people they are aiming to support which are more durable, versatile and naturally antibacterial than the average pair of socks on the market.
On their achievements so far, Josh said:
“To date we have donated over 150k pairs of socks to people in need, started conversations about causes that matter and brought smiles to consumers faces with our unique designs. Sock On!”
Check out Josh’s incredible work on Twitter at @Stand4Socks
Charity Leader of the Month – Miranda Litchfield, Museum of Bath Stone
Miranda Litchfield is Chief Executive at the Museum of Bath Stone, an organisation telling the story of Combe Down, its stone and its people over the last 160 million years.
Miranda summarises her role and mission within the organisation:
“My role at the museum is in managing and developing each aspect of the museum’s core operation. It’s an incredibly diverse role and, an absolute privilege to be tasked with. From finances to marketing, community engagement to collections development, new interpretation to new exhibitions, site maintenance and organisational compliance, the educational offering to our retail offering and, facilitating venue hire, it is a pleasure to be the driving force behind the museum’s overarching development programme and, fully supported by our fabulous board of trustees.”
“Our ambition is to ensure the Museum of Bath Stone, and its story, reach as diverse an audience as possible, with as much impact as we can achieve, ensuring the museum is futureproofed and safeguarded for as long as possible.”
Throughout 2021, the museum has been focussing on improving its accessibility and capacity for inclusion. After investing a significant amount of their own reserves and a successful application to the SWMD’s Recovery Grants, they have been able to make transformational changes to the site.
“Accessibility and inclusion always have been our highest priorities and remain so when deciding on and designing new features, offerings and activities at the Museum of Bath Stone. A significant but surmountable barrier was the non-automated front doors, which lead into an otherwise fully accessible site. This [funding] has allowed us to continue in our aspiration to lead the way in creating an inclusive and accessible environment for every one of our visitors, guests and volunteers.”
Looking to the future, Miranda said:
“Our future projects to be completed this year include the museum’s plans to submit its application to Arts Council England next Spring for Museum Accreditation. This will lift the profile of the Museum of Bath Stone to sit in alignment with the other remarkable and accredited collections and museums in the city of Bath. Coming to fruition next year will also be the introduction of our new ecology display, highlighting the city’s incredible bat populations and enabling our visitors to delve deeper into Bath’s unique ecology, both above and below the surface.”
Keep up to date with the Museum of Bath Stone on Twitter at @MuseumBathStone
Trustee of the Month – Nigel Coopey, Scouts Association
Nigel Coopey came to Trusteeship through an unusual path: moving from being a Scout in his youth, to a leader, before joining the national Trustee Board of the Scouts Association. He was motivated to take the role to better support local Leaders and Managers running activity across the country.
During his time as a Trustee, he lists two key highlights:
“Firstly, the decision twenty years ago to become fully co-educational. This was a brave decision at the time but absolutely the right one with hindsight. And, secondly, my leadership for three years of an initiative to re-grow Scouting after a period of decline. Through our work, and several high-profile events that took many hundreds of people to organise, we managed to turn the situation around dramatically.”
His second Trustee position – for his university Student Union – came after being inspired at a University reunion dinner to support the current cohort of students.
When reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on governance, Nigel said:
“At first it was a struggle, then like most organisations we adapted to being online. And now we are seeing one big benefit – huge savings in cost and time by not having to travel to Trustee meetings. As life returns to ‘normal’ we are starting to have – and need to have - some face-to-face meetings, but we have also come to realise that we can be more effective if we have frequent online meetings.”
Nigel’s advice for a prospective Trustee is to achieve balance:
“Make sure that you understand the time and responsibilities that you are committing to - which is never just ‘one meeting a quarter’! But, equally – once you are contributing as a Trustee there will always be suggestions of extra roles and responsibilities that you could take on and there is a danger that you become overloaded and eventually lose interest in the cause that inspired you.”
Follow the Scouts Association on Twitter at @scouts