Update from Aaron, KLS’ Director (08Jul20)

We wanted to share with you our Director’s (Aaron) regular update he’s sending around to all staff and volunteers at KLS. Just to keep you in the loop!

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Aaron’s Update

Good morning Team,

This week I’m at the Institute of Fundraising’s annual Fundraising Convention 2020. 1,500 people from around the world have descended onto Zoom to take part in a variety of events, training and workshops. Sir Lenny Henry (pictured above) kicked off the event and quickly had us in stitches. It was a great way to start a Monday morning. He told us about the journey he’s been on, over the last 35 years with Comic Relief, and the fact that they’ve now raised a staggering £1.3bn. As Sir Lenny said, “the challenge is to capture what the problem is, the inherent emotion of it, and how people can help”. 

Power of relationships

Through the panel discussions and workshops, we’ve been reflecting on lockdown and the effect this has had on giving; we’ve been sharing and developing skills to become better fundraisers; and we’re looking ahead to raising money in the coming recession. For me it all boils down to developing strong relationships and engaging our supporters.

This was demonstrated by our recent Summer Give ‘Champions for Children’ – we raised a stonking £18,000 in a week (and I wanted to give thanks to our friends at Francis Holland School and the Childhood Trust for providing the match-funding) – because of the quality of the work that we all do and the strength of the relationships with have with our generous supporters.

I suppose there’s no real difference to the work we do with our members. Replace the word ‘supporter’ for ‘members’. For me it all boils down to developing our relationships and engaging our members. The deeper the engagement, the better the quality of the relationship, and the more we are able to do with our members/supporters. I know that lockdown has enabled us to enrich our relationships with our members and our supporters. Having a weekly or daily phone or zoom call with someone has certainly given us an opportunity get to know our members (and supporters) even better.

These relationships are built on our organisation’s (but very human) values of trust, respect, kindness, collaboration and sustainability. I know that we each live and breathe these every day in our work. And as a result, each of us are nurturing deep-value, long term relationships with our members and our supporters. Making a significant difference to their lives.

Take a break

As we plan for our return to our centre over the summer and into autumn we need a period of rest and recovery. This will be an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve done, achieved and learnt during lockdown. And to have a rest over the summer (please book some time off with your line manager). We all need a break to recuperate and recharge for what will be another busy period over the autumn and through winter. If you’re stuck for ideas the Elders team have some fantastic ideas for a holiday at home!

Our Senior Management Team met with our Trustees the week before last and we spent 2 hours reflecting on some of the lessons learnt and preparing for the future. Ben, our Chair, asked me to pass on his enormous thanks to all of you for the incredible work you’ve been doing. You are amazing! (I agree).

More Highlights

We’ve all been busy. Here are some other things we’ve all been up to over the last month. We’ve:

  • Secured 150 computers for our children and young people; and are developing a plan to make Wandsworth the most digitally inclusive borough over the next 3 years.
  • Distributed more than 5,000 masks to many of our community partners (thanks to Lavender Hill Clothing) we’ve got a sizeable stash for all our staff, volunteers and members; and prepared for a return to our centre.
  • Made more than 2,500 calls to support our most vulnerable elders; and secured a £65K grant from the National Lottery Community Fund for our elders Covid-19 work over the coming 6 months.  
  • Continued to teach 98 adult students each week on our ESOL programme, many of whom have just finished their assessments and exams. Good luck with the results!
  • Celebrated with 20+ women and their children at our first socially distanced picnic; with many more fun activities planned for our children and young people this coming summer.
  • Worked in collaboration with our local Foodbank, Citizens Advice and community partners, to raise awareness about Wandsworth’s Discretionary Social Fund. In the first week there was a significant increase in the number of local residents applying to get the financial support they needed.
  • And so much more….

Want more updates?

Check out the ‘news’ section on our website www.klsettlement.org.uk/blog – we’re posting about 3 new stories each week about various aspects of our work. And our social media platforms. 

Fancy a chat? 

Then just get in touch with me (about anything). It would be nice to catch up. 

And finally…

Sir Lenny ended with a nice line “we can get through this whatever the weather”. However, as he said this, I realised I knew this already because we have been getting through lockdown together for some time now. 

Thanks everyone.


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