Charde Pinnock, Team Assistant at Blagrave, writes about her first impressions in the role.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, it seems I’ve now seen both sides of the charity sector. Before working for Blagrave I was a young person trying to find my way in this dazzling thing they call life. Working with charities who help young people into adulthood to become the best version of themselves possible. Now to be welcomed into the world of funders, seeing what goes into making these organisations run smoothly and ethically, it’s been quite the transition. I’ve seen what a difference these charities can make and now I get to be a part of supporting these organisations to do what they do best.
I started with Blagrave at the end of October, with little knowledge of the funding sector, or even admin, but I had a drive to help young people who’ve had challenging experiences, similar to the ones I had. When you’re at the bottom of the food chain it’s very easy to be victimised, and even to victimise yourself sometimes, getting lost in the experiences you’ve lived. However, the young people that Blagrave support soon learn that instead of being a victim of your experiences, you are an expert; with the power to use the challenges and obstacles you have lived through to better your life as well as the lives of others. I’ve never seen an organisation so adamant about putting youth voice with lived experience out there not only to be heard, but to be a catalyst for change. One thing we are all confident about here is the unfathomable potential young people have and the need that there is to help them onto a platform where that potential, those voices, their ideas can be unleashed. The world is in dire need of their fresh and creative innovative ideas. The young people today, are the leaders of tomorrow, so why not let them lead?
My second day at Blagrave was spent at our annual partners day event where I got a huge glimpse into all the organisations we support and the work they do, with one common focus: young people. It was a chance to learn about each other’s organisations as well as share the wonderful work our partners are doing. It was a lovely day, and a lovely way to be welcomed into this new world. The topic of the day was policy, with a mix of partners and experts around the room, with an exchange of stories and truly inspirational people doing some incredible things, whether its to get their voice and many people with similar views or experiences out there or sitting at the other end trying to figure out how partners can best support young people to lead the way. One of the things that stuck with me was the passion coming from the young people and the reasoning that they had, specifically “we cannot afford to be ignored”. It’s true! We cannot afford for our young people to be ignored at such a crucial time in history and so conversations were sparked on what we are doing and how we can do more. I loved that people were questioning themselves and their organisations thinking about whether they can be doing more and if so what more can we all be doing. The drive and passion that was shown was mesmerising and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come!
Over my first few weeks I’ve had the chance to shadow everyone on the team, coming along to meetings and getting a good insight into the work they do. The one thing that struck me, and sticks with me, is the genuine intentions from the team. Everyone clearly has an honest care about young people and giving them an equal chance at life. Shadowing the team has been great, it’s given me an introduction into all aspects of Blagrave, from policy, the listening fund, grant making and even how we bring all of that together.
Since my introduction into Blagrave I have been more and more motivated, being a part of the team here has been an inspiration and so, I feel privileged to be a part of a team who are all so aware of the society we live in without making excuses and instead demanding action. It’s refreshing to know that this small team is making such a difference and really giving the young people that need it most a chance at life in a meaningful way.
Being at the bottom end of a charity often has young people feeling like a tick box exercise, sometimes belittled or not listened to, but working with Blagrave has really opened my eyes and shown me that there are genuine people who are ready to act and really want people like me to do great and have the biggest say in the way we live, in government, and in all the areas that affect us from climate change and Brexit to knife crime and justice. The best part is; as a young person myself I know I’m able to help hold the team to account for these ambitions!