A sentence I never thought I’d say is “I wish my train home was delayed today”, but at the moment, it’s painfully true. Charity People supports me to work from home three days per week following a move out of London last year and, like many, I ended my working day in the office last Tuesday with a moan about signal failures on the line I use to get home in time to put my daughter to bed.
Faced with the reality of the next few months, thinking back to just over a week ago provides a stark reminder of how our world has rapidly changed; bringing old worries into perspective.
In a time of very real fear, as the road ahead is daily paved with much larger anxieties for us all, I’ve been surprised to find myself feeling, on many occasions, hopeful. I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of examples of solidarity, resilience, and kindness that I’ve witnessed in just four days from every avenue; and I’m starting to understand that we’ll get through the next few months, as one.
A chronic list maker, I’ve found it really helpful to write down my priorities over the next few weeks; spanning home, family, work, my community; and I have an action plan for now. As someone famous for hating for change (if he wasn’t so busy being incredible at supporting everyone around him, I’d say to ask my boss Nick for validation of this), this is something that keeps me grounded, and helps me navigate the new normal.
Work wise, my only goal is a concentrated version of the one I had when I joined Charity People two years ago; to support our incredible clients and candidates, and my colleagues, in any way they need.
Charity People was founded 30 years ago this year with the aim of partnering with the thousands of charities out there who tirelessly strive for a better world day in, day out. Having always worked to the very best of our ability to provide the best talent for roles within the phenomenal organisations we are privileged to call our clients, this is an opportunity to really prove ourselves and help in any way we can.
As my wonderful colleague Anna said in her earlier blog, with charities facing unprecedented times ahead, good fundraisers will be needed now more than ever; at Charity People, we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help. She’s absolutely right (I suspect she has never been wrong about anything) when she says that charities will need well-resourced teams of the most talented individuals out there working together as one. The good news is that excellent candidates are still looking for their next role; that in fact they are more available to interview than ever before because of the shift to Skype and other platforms.
Outside of work, I have found a local action group and am volunteering to help with shopping for those who are self-isolating, as well as anything else people need, over the coming months. This includes being available for phone chats with anyone who feels isolated and is struggling with a lack of human contact, which I suspect I very much will.
I’m focusing on my daughter, ensuring that her physical and mental health is impacted as little as possible – tricky when her favourite game called “doggy kissing” and involves strenuous attempts on her part to lick faces; but we’ll get there with lots of lessons about germs and hand-washing. She won’t remember Covid-19 when she gets older, but she might remember the feelings she had and emotions she picked up on. I am hopeful that with this understanding we will be able to shield children from what we are feeling.
I’m also trying to take breaks from news, and social media; I’m going to start running again, as well as getting out for walks as much as possible; and crucially, make sure everyone is fed, with healthy immune systems.
This is a time to pull together; shift the way we work; support each other; and keep going. For charities, more income than ever will need to be found in order to respond to increased demand on services. At Charity People, our focus is on helping support the charity sector in any way we can, to keep communicating, and helping others to communicate; keep helping; keep being kind to one another – the last week has shown me there is a previous untapped strength in all of us, and that together we can get through this.