Posted: 07 June 2013

My day at The Children’s Society

After being involved with The Children’s Society for a long time, I received an opportunity to apply to come to London and volunteer for a day, meeting some of the team managers and learning more about the inside work of the charity.

After applying, I was delighted to find out that I had been selected to come and meet the team and stay the night before at a hotel in London.

I didn’t know what to expect from the day but the first thing that struck me was the size of head office – the reception on its own was a big as the whole of The Children’s Society in Cheshire’s building! I couldn’t believe how many people worked in head office and how many different teams and services were needed to run the organisation.

Behind the scenes

I met lots of people throughout the day from different areas of the organisation, which has helped me to get a picture of how it all happens. 

I spent the morning with the Communications, Campaigns and Policy Directorate and met a number of the team members. I was struck how open the team were to finding out my point of view and opinions regarding how to improve what the organisation does. 

I met with Jemma in the Media Team to discuss how The Children’s Society portrays its messages through its advertising and I was able to say how important I felt it was that the advertising was real and not ‘picture perfect’ because that will attract more people to the organisation because it is genuine and they can relate to it. 

I also got to meet Lily Caprini, who manages the directorate and oversees all media and campaigns work. We spoke of their current campaigns, which do a lot to help young people who run away from home, and young people who need free school meals.

The challenge

I met Gavin from the Campaigns team as well and I was able to say how important it was that for young people in schools to really understand the reality of the most disadvantaged people on ‘the frontline’. 

It’s not enough to just show them pictures in a classroom they need to see it in reality if they went to these areas than they would learn more in 10 minutes than in two weeks in a classroom.  

If people with more advantage were able to really understand what it is like for those who are struggling the most, they will realise how lucky they are and want to help. This is The Children’s Society’s challenge!

The big picture

In the afternoon, I got to meet Matthew Reed, the Chief Executive of The Children’s Society. He was fun to talk to. He explained that part of his job is working long hours. He said some days he works until midnight, then needs to get up at 5am the next morning. I’m impressed that he manages to do that – it’s an amazing amount of work. He also asked about what my thoughts were on what matters to myself and other young people, which was good to talk about. I told him how young people engaging with The Children’s Society should have more choice and influence in shaping services and greater opportunities to volunteer and hopefully work for the organisation in the future!

I also met Yabs in the transformation team, who asked if there were other ways that I thought the charity could support young people. I told her that space was important – having a space where young people can meet and talk about what matters in their lives. I also thought that reaching out to young people in schools was important.

My day volunteering at head office has really helped me to see that The Children’s Society is so much bigger than just my project. It’s helped me to see where the money is coming from that keeps the project going and how much work it takes! 

I was also taken aback at how relaxed and calm everyone was given how much work they had to do! 

A number of the team have invited me back and I’d be delighted to come back to do more and help out again as soon as possible. . .

By Oliver Dabbs - Guest bloggers

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