I am pleased to inform you that Katherine Low Settlement have employed a new fundraising and communications officer called Richard Falkus. I know that because I am he, and if they haven’t employed me, then KLS director Aaron must be wondering who that strange person is hanging around the office every day. By employing someone in this role, KLS have increased their capacity to fundraise through previously unexplored avenues, and communicate the incredible stories of our community centre to the public.
A little bit about me. I am a 27-year-old who grew up in Guildford, Surrey. A school underachiever yet a university valedictorian studying creative writing. A social work masters graduate. Long-time frontline worker and volunteer. I’ve worked as a residential support worker with deaf adults with learning disabilities for Action on Hearing Loss. As a teaching assistant for a secondary school. A former Samaritan and volunteer mentor for young people. Secondary school workshop facilitator, talking with groups of boys about gender equality and toxic masculinity. (Takes a deep breath) Mental health assessment team assistant. Children’s home support worker. Team leader for Restless Development in South Africa and finally my previous role, youth worker. These roles have been located either in Bath, where I studied my undergrad, London where I studied my masters or Lancaster where I had been living for the last year and a half before I recently returned to London.
So how exactly did I come into an office-based role at Katherine Low Settlement? I had realised soon after completing my social work degree that it would be too much of a creatively restrictive occupation for me. I wanted a role where I could essentially meld the two passions shown in my degree choices. Creativity and social consciousness. Therefore, I wondered if a creative role within a charity could be the best option for me. I had a difficult time finding an entry level job in the charity sector, particularly as they don’t tend to exist. What I did find was a graduate scheme called Charity Works which helps top graduates get those entry level jobs in the sector. After 8 months of applications, online reasoning tests, personality tests and a day-long assessment centre, Charity Works narrowed down 4500 applicants down to around 140, and I was lucky enough to make the cut.
Being matched by the Charity Works with Katherine Low Settlement has been the greatest blessing of 2018 for me. Working in this unique community centre means you never lose touch with the people who come and use the services. You see them every day. I’ll often walk through reception to find myself having a conversation with a member of our 60+ lunch club, or someone who is attending an activity class put on by one of the 36 other charities that use our building every week. This is a true community centre. Community comes first
Transitioning into an office based role, there was always a concern at the back of my mind that I would get withdrawal symptoms from the frontline work I had dedicated myself to for so long. Those concerns were squashed within the first day of working at KLS. I knew this would be an ideal balance of creative outlet and contact with service users. A month later my instincts have proved to be correct.
I’m excited to sink my teeth further into my role in the coming months. Having little experience of fundraising and communications, it is a new challenge for me, but one I feel confident about facing. When you’re passionate about the organisation you’re representing, it isn’t hard to motivate yourself to put in the time and effort in necessary to be an effective employee. ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’
If you’re interested in the work we do at Katherine Low Settlement, do follow me on this platform. You can also follow our Instagram @katherinelowsettlement, Twitter @klsettlement and Facebook fb.com/katherinelow.settlement. If you’d like to email me, you can do so by emailing me at [email protected]