Pick of the Month – May 2024

30 April 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

Welcome back. In May's Pick of the Month, we had the pleasure of learning about work in areas including the arts; health and wellbeing; heritage and woman's empowerment. They're a diverse range of leaders, each with a unique prespective – read on to learn from their expertise and experience! 

 

Trustee of the Month – Lala Thorpe, The Art Station 

The Art Station is a dynamic, ambitious, arts organisation and charity which supports the creative industries in Saxmundham, Suffolk. Based in a 1950s telephone exchange, the organisation offers an Art and Learning Programme for the local community comprised of exhibitions, events, talks and screenings. Alongside this, The Art Station also provides artist studios, workspaces, and a co-working area, helping to promote and develop the creation of art in a rural context.

 

Lala began by reflecting on why she became a Trustee at The Art Station:

“Having worked in arts and education for most of my professional career, I had been thinking about becoming a Trustee for some time.  I knew I wanted to offer the knowledge I had in my area of expertise and join a charity whose vision and impact I felt passionate about. I had known about The Art Station since its inception and decided I wanted to be part of its journey and invest my time in helping it grow.”

 

Lala went onto discuss what it was about The Art Station that caught her eye:

“The vision and ambitions of The Art Station did and continue to inspire me. The team’s dedication to developing a cultural and arts offer in an area of East Anglia where there has been a lack of cultural offerings is really exciting and there are many opportunities to engage with a wider audience of artists, local community groups and schools in the area.”

 

The conversation then turned to Lala’s role when she first became a Trustee: 

“I supported The Art Station in the early stages in the role of artist educator, working with local schools and providing some online workshops during the pandemic. This was very rewarding and meant I was really involved from the outset, working with the team to develop the programme and build important relationships with the local community.”

 

To end, Lala reflected on what she has taken from her role as Trustee:

“Being a Trustee allows me to be part of an initiative that I really believe in, learning about the future plans, and how I can influence and support them. It is a great opportunity to learn and meet a wider network of people who hold similar interests and knowing you can really make a difference to the organisation’s management, planning, strategies, and outcomes is very rewarding.”

 

Keep up to date with The Art Station’s work on Twitter or visit their website.

 

Social Entrepreneur of the Month – Katie Buckingham, Altruist Enterprises

Katie Buckingham is the Founder and Director of Altruist Enterprises, a passionate, expert provider of tailored mental health and wellbeing training, consultancy, and support to businesses and schools. Formed in 2013, Altruist Enterprises has partnered with over 500 businesses and schools to support the development of effective well-being programmes. Through these partnerships, individuals are given the skills and resources they need to support themselves and each other, helping to create healthier and happier workforces and cohorts.

 

To begin our conversation, Katie chatted to us about what her inspired to start Altruist Enterprises: 

“I started Altruist Enterprises following personal experience of anxiety disorders at a young age. During my recovery, I discovered that the lack of mental health awareness and support wasn’t unique to me and I began delivering mental health workshops in schools. I was keen to turn my passion into an organisation that could make a real difference, so I attended the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy to learn entrepreneurship skills. In 2013, I trained as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and created Altruist Enterprises.”

 

Katie’s journey to create Altruist Enterprises has not been without challenges. On the difficulties she has faced she said:

“Stigma and differing opinions on the importance of mental health made Altruist Enterprises a niche proposition in the early days of the business. During consultations, employers would say things like “we don’t want to open a can of worms” or “we don’t have mental health here” – despite external surveys, reports, and conversations saying otherwise.

I’m proud to say that, despite this, we stuck at it and, over the past 10 years, we’ve supported over 500 businesses and schools to establish effective wellbeing programmes.”

 

To finish, Katie offered some advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs:

“Stick to your values. It’s something that I’ve found to be incredibly important, especially when things get tough. For me, knowing I am doing what I am doing for the right reasons and with the right people means I can continue to strive to make the business better and overcome any obstacles.”

 

To find out more about Altruist Enterprises, follow the organisation on Twitter or visit their website

 

Fellow of the Month – Charlotte Morgan, Historic England

Charlotte has been the Blue Plaques Development Manager at Historic England since January 2024. Previously, she was Head of Museum Development and Partnerships for Cornwall Museums Partnership, with responsibility for strategic partnerships, programme development, and fundraising, as well as leading the Museums Team. Charlotte has a background in community-led museum programming and experience of museum management, stakeholder liaison, governance, and community outreach. She has an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester and is a Board Member of the Association of Independent Museums (AIM).

 

Charlotte discussed her role at Historic England:

“Historic England’s new National Blue Plaques Scheme means we’re unveiling new blue plaques to individuals across England representing the diversity and extraordinary achievements of people in all communities. 

My role as Blue Plaques Development Manager means I am responsible for overseeing and delivering the fundraising activity for the programme, including trust and foundation applications, individual giving, corporate partnerships, and working collaboratively with colleagues across the organisation. I have a background in museum management and development; I’ve worked in a range of organisations all of which have been committed to democracy, participation and sustainability.”

 

Considering the opportunities ahead, she explained the organisation’s plans to embed diversity into the Blue Plaques Scheme:

“The National Blue Plaques Scheme is a new opportunity for our organisation to work in partnership across England’s regions, building better connections with local groups and understanding how our role can support communities’ capacity to create change. Our priority with the new Scheme is to redress historic imbalances in the people who are represented by Blue Plaques across England, making sure that new plaques fully reflect the diversity of people who’ve shaped England’s history.”

 

Charlotte expressed her enthusiasm at the experiences to come as part of the Senior Fundraising Fellowship: 

“I’m excited to meet and form a network of other fundraisers in the cultural sectors. It’ll be great to hear from them about how fundraising in their organisations operates, and share more about my work. It’ll also be challenging but fulfilling to re-activate my academic skills!”

 

She shared her hopes for a more equitable future in the arts, culture and heritage sectors:

“Personally, inclusion is a major priority for me and something that needs more attention across all the cultural sectors. When organisations can genuinely power share, and prioritise the needs of their communities, real change happens.”

 

Learn more about Charlotte’s work on Twitter @charmorgan_, and learn more about the Blue Plaques scheme online.

 

Charity Leader of the Month – Marsha Powell, BelEve

BelEve is a charity solely dedicated to empowering young girls and women to become leaders in their communities. The organisation’s approach is holistic, focusing not only on the educational aspect of leadership development but also on the emotional and social aspects to ensure that the girls and women who are part of BelEve's programmes are well-rounded and equipped for success. Marsha Powell, the charity’s co-founder, has played a pivotal role in changing the lives of more than 20,000 girls aged 8-22, offering them support, education, guidance, and positive solutions. 

 

Marsha explained BelEve’s mission and goal:

“Initially, I wanted to set up a mentoring programme to empower black and brown girls to believe in themselves and develop a strong sense of self. Today, the mission has evolved, and we are an inclusive girl’s charity with the mission to equip girls and young women with the skills, support and confidence to find their voice and make informed choices about their future.”

 

She explored the importance of BelEve’s work under the current climate: 

“BelEve is at the forefront of the ‘Self-BelEve’ revolution, which is all about empowering young women in the UK to believe in themselves and their abilities. BelEve recognises that imposter syndrome is a prevalent issue among young women today, and it can be a major barrier to achieving success. That's why BelEve's programs are designed to help girls and women build their confidence, develop their leadership skills, and overcome self-doubt.

During the Covid pandemic, BelEve was approached by the Civil Service to set up a mentoring programme. This programme aimed to support young women who had previously applied to the Fast Stream programme but were unsuccessful. With the help of dedicated mentors, many of the mentees were able to achieve positive outcomes. One mentee, in particular, was able to secure a summer internship with the Foreign Office and has now accepted an offer for the Fast Stream Graduate Programme. Recently, she visited the BelEve office to express her gratitude and acknowledge that she would not have been able to achieve this success without the support of BelEve.”

 

BelEve celebrates its 12th year as a charity in 2024 – Marsha expressed pride at the charity’s growth: 

“I am proud of the legacy we have created in the name of my late mother. BelEve was just a vision I created from my dining room table and now it is a Charity, that employs over 15 staff members, has impacted the lives of many girls and young women and partnered with some amazing brands to bring the vision to fruition.

I am excited about BelEve’s future. We have a growing team and still empower girls to believe in bigger. We have a robust 5 year plan, that will support us in becoming a sustainable charity that impacts and transforms thousands of girl’s lives each year.”

 

She offered advice to female entrepreneurs starting out on their journey:

There are three things I believe you need on your journey:

  1. a vision
  2. a plan
  3. a network. 

The journey of entrepreneurship can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Lean into your sisterhood and share your highs and lows in your safe space, it is good for you.”

Learn more about BelEve’s work online.

 

 

 

 

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30th April, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

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