‘Pick a general direction and implement like hell’ as Jack Welch says; so here’s what we’ve been doing in the first quarter of the year.

We held our first charity leaders’ group in Feb at CCLA focusing on safeguarding and building a charity team. In March, we held our spring fundraisers MIG conference in the BMA’s Great Hall with 150 NHS charity fundraisers learning more about legacy fundraising.

At the beginning of the year we started recruiting as Claire Bowry, our Membership Services Manager, left in March to become CEO of the Eveson Trust.

In Feb, we interviewed for the new and expanded role of Membership Support and Development Manager and appointed Seb Hargreaves, who currently works with the military charity SSAFA and will be starting with us on 3rd June.

This month, we also interviewed for a brand-new Business Development Manager. I am very pleased to announce that we were successful in our recruitment campaign. I look forward to sharing both new team member’s bios with you on the website.

Talking of website, work has begun on the new look of this and we are hoping to share that with you in May at the ABM, and so begins the first steps to embracing digital.

In March, we have also had a brand-new IT system and have a new IT support company , a necessary and painful experience to better support our growing team to be agile and flexible in our work and member services. We are about 85% of the way there, so please bear with.

The NHS Big Tea is now moving at pace with the support of Skating Panda. 97 members have signed up to be part of this year’s campaign; which we believe will be the largest collaboration of independent charities around 1 campaign in the country. We have worked with the DHSC to negotiate and secure a branding licence for NHS Charities Together and the NHS Big Tea (and never want to talk about NHS blue ever again 😊). We have the ‘campaign in a box’ tool kit and assets designed to be available on 15th April; and the new website nhsbigtea.co.uk to be ready later in the month.

We have done a lot, and I do mean ‘we’. None of the above is done by me alone, everything we accomplish is through teamwork, the hard work and dedication of a very small office team (just April and myself currently), a fantastically committed Council who go above and beyond to support me and the implementation of our new strategy; and a first class membership of doer’s – who roll up their sleeves and offer to get involved. Whether that’s standing for elections – thank you so much to the 8 who did – announcements will be made following the Council meeting next week and ABM in May; or that’s the MIG team, speaking at events, being on the Big Tea steering group and much more. A massive thank you from me to all of you.

So my kids told me on the way to school that ‘Mother’s Day’ or ‘Mothering Sunday’ to use its official title, was traditionally the day that children (usually daughters) who had left home to be domestic servants (often from the age of 10) were given one day off a year to go home and visit their own mothers.  This got me thinking about what would a bit of ‘self-mothering’ or mental ‘returning home’ look like. Something I know I don’t always give myself enough space to have.  I wonder, what if this Sunday, as well as remembering or giving thanks for our mums or perhaps the mothers of your own kids, would it be possible to have our own mental homecoming? To give ourselves a bit more space to view ourselves through caring eyes. In all the busyness of doing, this Sunday we mentally focus on being; a day to reconnect with ourselves, who we are, not what we do, and maybe with our families as well.

‘It’s not about how much you do, but about how much love you put into what you do that counts.’

Mother Teresa

Ellie Orton

Chief Executive

Association of NHS Charities


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