Tag Archives: New Job

A Very Successful Launch

The alarm clock’s electronic nagging shattered our sleep at 5:45 this morning. Sue and I  stumbled out of bed, sleepwalked through breakfast and getting dressed, loaded our gazebo into the car, scraped off the ice from the windscreen and we were on the road just after 06:30.

We arrived at my work at about 07:20 am – a time that many people would consider half way into their morning, but as an office worker, it was horribly early. We weren’t even the first to arrive, as I discovered while making the first cup of tea. Our Chief Executive, Jo, had beaten me in to work (although does live a lot nearer than me).

Regular readers will know that we don’t work in some highly pressurised financial institution (thank heavens), but at the heart of the voluntary sector.  Sue doesn’t even work in the same town as me, but had come along as a guest to the launch of the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire and South Derbyshire CVS‘s Open Day.

Dave & Sue Outside the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire on Launch Day

Dave & Sue outside the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire on launch day - 12th February 2009

Dozens and dozens of people came along during the morning, which we had deliberately planned to start at 8:00 am so that people could pop in on their way to work. Itself, an inspired idea because several people did exactly that. the steady flow of people from a variety of organisations across the area didn’t let up. As a newcomer to the area, I couldn’t have wished for a better opportunity to meet and network with so many people.

My own attention was very narrowly focused on the Volunteer Centre itself, although I did find time for a quick dash round the building to see what superb displays and information each of the teams had put together. I probably shouldn’t single out just one team, but the Safer Homes display was outstandingly good.

However, I have no hesitation in singling out one of my colleagues from the Community Development Team. Ellen (and perhaps more relevant, her husband Euan) pulled out all the stops to make sure that our new leaflets were delivered to us in time for the event. Throughout the whole day, we had comments from our visitors about the fantastic quality of the design and printing of these leaflets. I firmly believe that they are the very best voluntary organisation publicity materials I have ever seen in my many years in the sector.

In fact the whole event far exceeded my expectations. On reflection, I have worked out why it worked so well. The whole of CVS worked together as a team to make it happen. One of our trustees took on car-park duty (on a very cold morning). Isobel, our cleaner volunteered to work with Kay, a reception volunteer to look after the food and drink needs of our guests. Every available member of staff was on hand to talk to people about their own work and to signpost them around our building. Donna went round taking the official pictures, (although Sue also grabbed a few “unofficial” ones). Chief Executive, Jo looked after the Chair of South Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Mrs Ann Hood. Other staff, volunteers and trustees looked after the signing-in sheets, masterminded the food, collected the feedback forms, guided visitors round, carried tea out to the Volunteer Centre team  and often seemed to be everywhere at once.

This was such a contrast to my last involvement in a major event during Volunteers’ Week 2008 when I felt very isolated and unsupported. I feel really proud to be a part of the team that put on such a professional, well-organised and happy event. Yes, I really do like working at the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire .

Ride Safe


Leaving Lunch – A Month Late

I have been in my new job as the manager of the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire for four weeks now, so I decided that it was high time to draw a line underneath my years in working in Nottingham by inviting former colleagues to a lunch to mark my transition.

Of course, anyone else leaving a job would have some kind of leaving “do” before they depart, but as I left immediately before Christmas, it proved to be impossible to find a suitable venue that wasn’t already booked up by Christmas parties.

 I had decided that I wanted to hold my own leaving celebration at the Adams Restaurant at New College Nottingham. This is partly because it is inexpensive and I have always had good food there in the past, but also because the staff there are students at the college who are training for careers in the hospitality industry.

The organisation of this meal proved to be something of a nightmare. This was due to me having to do it all by email; initially to my former work colleagues and the current custodians of the Nottingham Volunteer Coordinators’ Network. This took a little longer than I expected, but I had more than 20 initial expressions of interest in the meal.  With a great deal of help from Sue, who still works at the place that I left, the menu was obtained from the restaurant and was circulated by email to everyone who had said that they wanted to come.

This is where the fun really started.

Some people didn’t get that initial email, others wanted to come who hadn’t responded initially and some of the people who showed initial interest dropped out. Although I had agreed that everyone would pre-order their meal, the deadline came and went with daily changes and additions as some people responded late and others had to be chased up by email.

On thursday night before the meal on Friday lunchtime, three people had not responded, so I had to send them an email saying that they couldn’t come. Even then, one of the three came along after Sue had phoned the restaurant on Friday morning.

Sue, a college staff member at Adams Restaurant, deserves a sainthood for the amount of messing about that she received at our hands.

So the great day finally arrived when 22 of us turned up at the restaurant. It was great to see so many of my former colleagues, both staff and volunteers from Nottingham CVS as well as a members of great team of people that I had worked with at Nottingham City Council’s Community Development Department and even a couple of people from voluntary organisations that I had worked with.

Some surprise was expressed that I now wear shirts and trousers rather than Tee shirts and jeans and that my beard had been trimmed down to a very human-looking length. However, Sue has worked hard in both Debenhams and the House of Fraser  to make sure that I look suitable managerial, although I decided to trim the beard all by myself.

The meal itself was, for me, up to the usual high standard that I had come to expect from the students at the Adams Restaurant, although there were a few problems with some people’s main meals arriving a little late.  This may have taken the gloss off the experience for a few people, but my own view is that we had made a significant contribution to any confusion with a string of changes to the pre-orders. Anyway, mistakes are made in all walks of life, even in restaurants that would have charged us for more than we were charged on Friday.

I refused to allow anything to put a blot on the day for me because it was great to meet with so many people with whom I had worked for a long time and to feel that there remains some respect and even affection between us. I am very pleased that I am remembered a month on and that people wanted to come along to this lunch.

I wrote at the start of this post that I was drawing a line under my time working in Nottingham. Perhaps that phrase will turn out to be a long way wide of the mark. I still live in Nottingham, Sue still works with the people that I used to work with and I have no idea what the future might bring in terms of any of us working together in the future.

For many years I have joked that the voluntary sector isn’t really very big, but that a few of move round a lot and meet each other in different circumstances. I feel sure that this is true and that this lunch marks a transition rather than and ending.

I’m also booked to go back to Adams Restaurant in March when a few of us from South Derbyshire pay a “real” work visit to Nottingham.

Here are a couple of the pictures that Sue took on Friday.

The Belated Leaving Lunch At Adams Restaurant, New College Nottingham, Friday 30th January 2009

The Belated Leaving Lunch At Adams Restaurant, New College Nottingham, Friday 30th January 2009 (Photo taken by Sue on her phone)

Chuffing Hog (with Julianne) at his belated leaving lunch on Friday 30th January 2009

Shirt-wearer Chuffing Hog (with Julianne) at his belated leaving lunch on Friday 30th January 2009 (Photo taken by Sue on her phone)

Ride Safe

New Year New Job

Well, I’ve done it! I started my new job two weeks ago as manager of the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire, based in Swadlincote.

After 25 years working in Nottingham CVS, it is very strange being the new boy, but I have been welcomed by all my colleagues in the organisation and by people from partner organisations and the few community groups that I have met so far.

As I expected, the rural area that is South Derbyshire is very different to the compact urban environment of Nottingham. I have yet to get out to to the villages beyond Swadlincote, but this is something that I really want to do soon.

In my first fortnight, in addition to my induction, we have also completed an office move for the Volunteer Centre team. We have been given a small building in the grounds of South Derbyshire CVS as our Volunteer Centre which has been refurbished for us with office space for the three staff members and a small interview room where we will be able to meet with our prospective volunteers.

I already have lots of ideas for ways to improve our service, but I am really keen to find out what works well and to build on it because I see no point in making change for its own sake. I also have to get to grips with my new relationship between the countywide Volunteer Centres Network in Derbyshire.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will keep you posted about how things are going, although it is very likely that there will soon be a new blog for Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire.

Ride Safe

It’s Been A While, Hasn’t It?

I’m sorry that I’ve been rather lax about posting here. It’s not for want of ideas, but a terrible shortage of time.

In fact, in the last few weeks, my life has undergone its biggest upheaval in very many years. I have got a new job. More details are on my work blog, with the specific detail on a post here.

I will be back here soon with Part 2 of the BBC’s Bombay railway programme, the story of my departure from the committee of the Sherwood Chapter and some more tales of life with the couple of born-again hippies that Sue and I are fast becoming.

Meanwhile, please bear with me, job applications are very time and energy consuming. Maybe that’s another story for a post on here sometime.

Ride Safe

A Double Celebration

As celebrations go, it was all a bit low key, it was nothing more than a trip to our local 2 for 1 restaurant-pub.  Just for the record, Sue had roast chicken and I had a steak pie.

I was sitting at the table minding my own business while Sue had gone to order our meals when my slightly barmy friend, Tony, and his long-suffering wife, also named Sue, appeared. They had come out for a slap-up meal to celebrate Tony’s birthday.

We had gone there because Sue had just been offered a new job. This is a half-time post as a Neighbourhood Volunteering Activist with Bulwell Vision, the local area partnership that covers the area where we both live. Sue already works 18 and half hours a week, so this job will make her a full timer again for the first time in many years, since she left her last full time job after a period of bullying and harrassment. Working full time again is going to be a big step for her, but I am 100% certain that she will make as big a success of her new role as she has with her existing one.

She has been making noises about me cooking some of the evening meals – sounding for all the world as if she doesn’t believe that I could do it. She’s in for a surprise. I am perfectly capable of producing a meal. I have watched “The Restaurant” and occasionally seen Rick Stein and I never miss the Hairy Bikers. I know what to do. I just need to be left alone in the kitchen to create in peace. I’ll let you know if that ever actually happens.

After our meals, we headed for home. Tony lives just across the road from us and Sue insisted that he came straight round to collect the card and present that she had got for him, but as we had both forgotten that it was his birthday, we hadn’t written or wrapped.

We would have been ready if his birthday had been any later than the 1st of the month – we hadn’t turned the page on the kitchen calendar!

On handing over the card with the legend “You have to grow older, but you don’t have to grow up”, Sue gave him his present – modesty prevents me from going into too much detail, except to say that Tony’s present was a posing pouch made of sweets.  Simply writing that line makes my mind boggle, so let’s move quickly on.

Ride Safe