Throwback to August 2019, my first year as a fundraiser. We’re in the midst of our summer fundraising activities, up to our eyeballs in galas, village fetes, supermarket collections, festivals, farmers markets, agricultural shows, and the rest! It has been a hectic, busy and tiring summer, working long hot (and sometimes wet!) weekdays, evenings and most weekends. There is no 9 to 5 about this job! The fundraising team are nearing burnout, but they carry on and their hard work never wavers. I am in awe of the commitment of the team, the majority of whom are volunteers, giving up their time and enthusiasm for free. It is hard work but oh my goodness, so rewarding, and lots of fun! The people of Yorkshire are the friendliest you will meet. They share their stories, both happy and sad. They ask questions, they get involved with our stall games and their generosity never fails to astound me.
Fast forward to August 2020 and there’s been no setting up gazebos in wet muddy fields, no cheering on our supporters on their charity runs or bike rides, no stickering up tombola’s ready for the weekend’s village gala. Its soul destroying and unbelievably frustrating. It is what we do, what we love to do and to not be out and about fundraising make us feel pretty useless. But we keep on keeping on, we help out in our communities, delivering prescriptions and food parcels, we clap and cheer on our incredible NHS and key workers, we check in with our supporters, donors and volunteers, we juggle childcare and homeschooling with research projects, admin work and (lots of) zoom calls! We do what we can, when we can, and we find that we have never felt more like a team. And now, as we enter a new phase of getting back to some sort of hopeful normality, it’s an experience that we’ll never forget and one that will make us appreciate, even more so, the job that we do and more importantly, why we do it. And never ever will we take putting up that gazebo in a windy, muddy field for granted!