Things have not been quite what we expected

As we find ourselves in yet another national lockdown some ten months after the first it is perhaps not surprising to be in a reflective mood.  At this time of year charities like RAD are busy preparing our plans for the new financial year, and thinking about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  Back in January 2020 we had absolutely no inkling of what lay ahead and the massive changes we would have to make to the way we work, the projects we run and the way we contact and communicate with our beneficiaries.  We had new projects poised to start, and lots of ideas for raising revenue to keep our charity in a strong financial position.   

The year we planned bears little resemblance to the year we experienced.  We have made up for a drop in income in some areas with significant additional funding to support thousands of Derbyshire people with food, pushbikes and cash grants to help them get through the crisis.   Staff have spent hours on the telephone talking to people, both direct beneficiaries and other partners and agencies.  

We haven’t been in the office since March (except to pick up the post, supplies and water the plants) and we have saved tons of C02 by not driving around to meetings.  Staff have got used to working from home and we have been able to help them juggle their family life with work life by being flexible and using furlough where possible.  

Looking ahead to the new financial year, so much is uncertain but what I can be sure of is the rising level of need amongst rural people as the impact of the pandemic will continue to be felt for some time.  I can also be sure of the dedication and commitment of my wonderful staff team who have somehow managed to keep going in the face of adversity.  We are all tired and get a bit emotional from time to time, but we keep on keeping on.   

In the words of the irrepressible Sonny from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (one of the films I re-watched over Christmas whilst in self isolation) 

Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end

Here's to the rest of 2021 - may it be 'all right' soon!

Beverley Parker - CEO