Pick of the Month - December 2020

1 December 2020 | By Naomi Chapman

After a year like no other, December is here and with it 2020’s last Pick of the Month. This month, we feature the Chair of a publishing charity, a social enterprise using coffee to transform lives, and the new Chief Executive of Child.org.


Trustee of the Month: Mike Findlay, the Arkbound Foundation

Mike Findlay is Chair at the Arkbound Foundation, a charity committed to breaking down barriers into book publishing that runs innovative projects for writers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mike was motivated to join the Board over a year ago as he was inspired by the charity’s potential to reach a wide range of people through writing. He has recently stepped into the role of Chair and attended the Emerging Chairs Programme in November.

“Switching our meetings to being online has actually been really productive for Arkbound. We are a cross border charity that has existed in Bristol for some years and I’ve helped to set up operations here in Glasgow. What has worked well is getting all our trustees and staff members together for the first time to have a meeting. Despite our nerves about going online, we also managed to launch our first Scottish book during the summer. The event was attended by over 60 people, many of whom emailed us commending it, bought copies of the book, and made donations to the charity.”

When asked what his advice for someone looking to become a Trustee, Mike said:

“If you are thinking about it and have a passion for an organisation, then my advice is just do it! I was a bit hesitant to begin with as I am juggling this with a full-time demanding role, but a trustee role gives you the chance to step-up your skills in a number of areas that you won’t necessarily get in the day role. For someone like me who is keen to progress within the third sector, it’s an ideal opportunity. 

I also highly recommend Cause4’s Emerging Chairs Programme for anyone feeling a bit daunted by stepping up to lead the Board. I felt reassured afterwards!”

Follow Arkbound Foundation on Twitter at @ArkboundUK


Social Entrepreneur of the Month: Eve Wagg, Well Grounded

Well Grounded is a social enterprise transforming lives through coffee. The business runs a series of specialist Coffee Training Academies for vulnerable adults, empowering them with the skills, training, mentorship and qualifications they need to work in the specialty coffee industry, and supporting 70% of alumni into work, further training or education. 

Eve Wagg founded Well Grounded after 15 years of work in the voluntary sector supporting education, youth employment and social inclusion. To date the company has supported almost 400 adults at risk of long term unemployment through its programmes.

 In response to COVID-19 Well Grounded transitioned its services online and delivered 1-2-1 mental health support, a job matching service, virtual training and mentorship along with care packages to over 200 people. 

"Every day I get to work with the most resilient, inspiring and motivated people. Over the last 6 months we have mobilised a team to provide critical support for people in need. As we move through the most challenging times the importance of our sector and what we do has never been more paramount."

Follow Well Grounded on Twitter at @WellGroundedHQ


Fellow of the Month: Sanpreet Janjua, Awards for Young Musicians

Sanpreet started her career as an Arts Fundraising Fellow. Based at Nottingham Playhouse, she worked closely with the Chief Executive to secure funding from Corporates, Individuals and Trusts and Foundations. Having completed her Fellowship at Nottingham Playhouse an remained for a few years as Fundraising Officer, she is now Development Manager at Awards for Young Musicians (AYM). She is a Trustee of Actors Touring Company and a Steering Group Member for the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s RAISE programme.

“The AYM team have always worked from home so adapting to lockdown was a fairly simple process for us – though we have been missing our in person team meetings. 

When the UK lockdown measures were announced earlier this year, we understood that the young people we support were more likely to be adversely affected. No matter what stage they were at in their musical journey, the cancellation of in-person music lessons, rehearsals, and planned live performances was a real blow. They lost access to their musical education at a time when they needed it the most. So I’m so grateful to everyone who has continued to support AYM throughout this period so young musicians can continue to progress and don’t miss out on any opportunities.

I really hope that this period will have taught us just how important arts and culture are to our everyday lives. In fact, we all are beneficiaries of investment in arts and culture.”

Follow Sanpreet at @SanpreetJ or Awards for Young Musicians at @AwardsAYM


Charity Leader of the Month: Martina Gant, Child.org

Martina Gant is CEO at Child.org, an international NGO that provides innovative solutions to problems in global child health. Martina is based in Nairobi, where Child.org works with community health teams across Kenya to provide pregnant women with life-saving pregnancy information. The Covid-19 crisis saw Child.org’s income and team reduced, amidst a devasting increase in maternal and neonatal deaths in the early pandemic.

“It’s been a difficult time to step into the role of CEO with unprecedented challenges facing the communities with whom we work, and to our funding. That said we’re also seeing interesting opportunities arising from this situation; we’ve built some great partnerships and we are designing innovative projects to build more consistent access to support and care for women and children in future. 

“It’s a privilege to be the first female CEO of Child.org, and to be leading the organisation from Kenya, with a predominantly Kenyan team. In order to identify and find solutions to the complex problems that exist in global child health, we need to be listening to those most affected - we can do that best by being here. 

“The resilience of the Child.org team has been truly inspirational and despite the difficulties of the past year we’ve produced some of our most impactful work. We’re currently running a campaign to help us work with new mums in 2021 - read about Team Mum to find out more!”

You can follow Child.org on Twitter at @ChildDotOrg

More by posts by Naomi Chapman

What can we learn from the Kids Company judgement?

10th January, 2022 | By Naomi Chapman

What should Trustees takeaway from the £10million, multi-year case against the Kids Company Trustees?

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30th November, 2021 | By Naomi Chapman

The Cause4 team choose their favourite campaigns to mark Giving Tuesday 2021.

Pick of the Month - November 2021

2nd November, 2021 | By Naomi Chapman

As we near the end of another year of uncertainty, this monthly pick features a Trustee of a Young People’s charity, an ingenious social enterprise with a “library of things” and the Chief Executive of Trees for Cities working on not only a national, but international scale.

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