Well I am just starting the first day of week two, so I thought I would give you a quick update on my first week and how different it is than the world of banking.
First of all lots of people have asked me what is it you will be doing and who is Business in the Community (BITC). This was encapsulated best by my Mother in Law, asking "how do I explain it to Mary and John at the quiz!"
Well for your benefit (as well as Mary and John) BITC is one of the oldest, largest and most influential charities driving responsible business practice. BITC believes that through transforming businesses they can transform communities and by doing so, create a sustainable future for both.
The education, enterprise and employment focus is a large area of our work but certainly not all of it. It is however, the area that business connectors are focusing their work.
It is no flash in the pan either, as they recently celebrated their 30th anniversary.
The Business Connector role, well here is a snapshot:-
- Helping young people into education training or jobs
- Supporting local community organisations to survive or increase their provision, with support from the local private sector
- Increasing the level of community participation and cohesion
- Facilitating business mentoring, role modelling, skill enhancement activity for: young people; community organisations; social enterprises; etc
Secondly, the location. BITC in Yorkshire is based in Pudsey, which is 20 minutes outside Leeds and about the same from Bradford and is quite provincial. No bespoke sandwich shops here, its good old fashioned food and you are grateful for it!
The team are all really welcoming and want to work with me, most of all to guide me through the breadth and depth of the voluntary sector and the myriad of programmes BITC offer http://www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/index.html.
Last week I started to get to grips with who is already working in the city, some of the programmes already being worked on and frankly the huge amount of goodwill being targeted to make the City Region better.http://www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/home.aspx
On Tuesday my colleague Jo invited me to a meeting at the Civic Hall, Leeds hosted by The Big Lottery http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/ entitled "Fulfilling lives: supporting young people into work". There are 20 regions in the UK that have been targetted amongst them Manchester, Liverpool and the Leeds City Region. An investment of £100m over 5 years is on offer, though by the time you break it down to local areas it is much lower and value for money will very much be the order of the day.
The rest of the week felt like a reading week ahead of exams. I could hear Bamber Gascoigne or Jeremy Paxman (depending on your age!) saying "Shaun Ellenthorpe, Univeristy BITC Leeds" after each tome I read. Pet subjects now include Leeds City Region, the Deprivation Index (which of course I checked where I lived and my friends, family), Deprivation in South and East Leeds etc etc.
So as this is the first one and with the vain hope that you have managed to read this far, I will leave you with a few early observations.
The charity/voluntary sector feels just like the "corporate" world in that there are some immensely bright, talented and driven individuals. The problems they face are more and more being tackled, as we would, by breaking down what resources they have and don't (money), the scale of the problem and highlighting key milestones to celebrate success.
Enjoy your week, hopefully more Olympic success for Team GB and I will be back in touch in a few weeks time.
P.S. I have also joined the world of Twitter @BITCShaun