The sun shone from the moment I opened my eyes and that invigorating start was fulfilled by the promise of the day at the Hub.
A buoyant Crochet group meeting was made all the more enjoyable when three officers turned up from the Police to take ownership of the amazing 'trauma' bears and cuddly 'police' toys that they had made.
The speech by the senior officer present almost brought us all to tears as he recounted the kids that they sometimes encounter who are looking for reassurance and a semblance of security.
The day then continued in a similar vein - it was one of those times that make the work we do so very satisfying.
Early evening then saw yet another consultation on the 'Chippenham One Plan' but this time it was on-line and I was able to listen as a member of the audience to the presentation by the officers and leads on this project who are so passionate about the work they are proposing - it was extremely cathartic and despite all the hours spend on this so far, I still went away with a better understanding that this could well be the start of something good for our town.
While the week began very positively, Tuesday was a bump back to real world of slog!!
The Hub is coming up to its second birthday and with that comes the usual stream of conforming with additional administration; filling in Charity Commission returns, ensuring the accounts are ready for the confirmation audit, Annual Trustees report, review of policies...etc. etc....
There was also the little matter of reviewing our existing grant applications with the trustee who focuses on this, George. This resulted in a decision to 'spread the load' and ask for help in the form of us all working in this area in a co-ordinated way. Aside from this there was also the changes we are making to ensure that the Hub is sustainable for future years with a forward plan for its running etc,
The admin is always the draw back to running a real front-facing charity Hub as we are here to focus mainly on people and the community, but in the process have to knuckle down to some pretty testing sessions which are done to the best of our ability but without much joy!
An afternoon session lasting well after the hour with an online 'in-depth' look at Utility bills and the strategies available to manage these, completed a dutifully completed day - and a well earned glass of wine...or two!
After a trip to the doctors with my 'other half' I spent the first hours at the hairdressers enjoying being 'normal' sat in the chair and catching-up with the gossip and goings on in Emery Gate. While enjoying a taste of normality, Donna and the crew at the Hub were working hard taking care of the Wiltshire Weight Management Course taking place in 'Ray's Room', Carers Support in the main area, and of course taking care of all the 'front facing' aspects of running a Hub in the centre of town.
All, in all, this was a day that ran smoothly with the only down point being the bill arriving for payment of rent, which again they sent including VAT - which we have told them is not payable by a registered charity...and on that subject, there was also a link through to remind me that the annual return is due soon to the Charity Commission.
There are times when admin becomes a bigger consumer of time than people - and this is one such time!
Moving toward the end of yet another week Thursday began with a quiet day ahead at the Hub, and so we took the opportunity for myself and Donna to retreat to 'Ray's Room' and discuss present requirements and future plans.
This was a time well used, and one that left a need for our trustees to meet up in the coming weeks to discuss some fairly radical actions needed to future proof/ensure sustainability of the Hub.
The volunteers who stayed front of house while we did this were superb as usual and proved once again just how valuable they are in the community, bringing such a diversity of experience and personal qualities.
Later we met up with one of them, Ann, who has taken on board some courses to enable us now to offer a weekly session for anyone that wants to come along, chat or get advice about LGBT+ issues. It came about as we realised that a fantastic amount of work and financial support is going into the first 'Gay Pride Day' in Chippenham but there are no legacy plans for anything after that day; which is always where the Hub can step in seeding new initiative when needed.
Later in the day trustee Ross stepped in to facilitate the important evening meeting for fellow trustee, Ian, who is on holiday and we moved toward the final day of the week knowing that it was to be busy one!
With the Hub fully booked out the day was always going to be one that could go either way - smooth and satisfying or full of challenges that are there to be met!
There was yet another public consultation on the One Plan, this time being held at Chippenham library, but I was unable to take part as meetings kept me grounded for the day.
With the Family Learning group and Knattie Knitters filling almost every space, I had to defend my area of the 'Grey Booth' - especially when someone strayed and sat down in the middle of the meeting I was having with Wiltshire Council officers, who proved very adaptable until the situation was resolved!
As I write this final entry of the activities last week, I am 'in' a virtual conference meeting with guys from all over the country - dichotic listening skills to the fore! - so for this week I will end with a truncated report of our activities and will catch up next week.