We are delighted to launch This Is Me Keynsham.
This is Me! tells the stories of the Keynsham Mencap community. From club members to staff, from volunteers to charity trustees, everyone has a story. This photoblog enables you to learn more about who we are and what we do to support adults and children with learning disabilities and autism.
Our first story features Trustee Russ who was awarded the Citizen of the Year award at Keynsham Town Council last week.
Russ’s Keynsham Mencap Story
“My plan is to just keep on doing what I’m doing.
I’ve been a trustee for 10 years now. In the last couple of years it has felt a bit like just when we feel we’ve planned it all right, something happens! There was Brexit and all that uncertainty of course, then the pandemic, and we didn’t know how either would affect us, but we keep moving forward. We do our best. The people who work here at Keynsham Mencap, the leaders and volunteers are incredible. I work to support them to continue what they do.
It’s an amazing team.
I’d just retired from business and was not finding it easy. I’d been a director for 37 years, in roles with responsibility. It was not that easy to switch! This makes me feel that I am useful. I like to paddle my own canoe, and it turned out that I had skills I hadn’t known about until I came here. It’s so different from a commercial organization. I have applied my experience of management and do what I can.
I’m the Treasurer, and work with our bookkeeper and accountant putting together the annual budget. It enables us to know here we are, and plan. Throughout the year, whenever we are looking at events or a sponsorship deal, everything has to be costed and run past me. Unless it will fly, it doesn’t get off the ground.
What do I enjoy? all of it really.
This year has had its moments already! Like everyone, we have been coming out of the end of the pandemic and looking around at cost of living. We put everyone’s wages up, which we had to do, so of course the whole salary bill went up. Part way through last year, we lost a fundraiser and had 4 months without anyone, which is inevitably going to have consequences for this small charity.
As Treasurer, the first time we were given a meaningful grant spread over 3 years was a real highlight. To see that for that 3-year period? We know that we can keep on doing what we do.
The pandemic was really something for us. As soon as I heard that there were special grants I was on it like a blood hound and applied. I got ten grand! Usually if I hear of a grant I pass it to the fundraiser, but in the pandemic, we were all over the place, so I did one myself!
We are looking for a home for Keynsham Mencap. We need a central, accessible, Keynsham property where we can run the clubs and activities, as well as a place for the office staff. Any ideas?”