After nearly thirteen years of working for UFA it feels very surreal to be completing my last few days. A few months ago I was offered an exciting new opportunity to work with a group of schools, which I felt would be a new challenge for me and the opportunity to continue contributing to making a difference to young people.
The decision to move on after such a long time was not an easy one, as I have been very privileged to work with such a committed and talented team and for an organisation that is passionate about making a difference to young people and the professionals who support them. In today’s world that feels like a very special place to work.
During my time here we have seen the education and youth sector change and growth in new programmes such as NCS. Each change could have been seen as a challenge, but we have taken them as an opportunity and looked at how we could remain true to our charity’s ambitions and further our reach. It is this positive attitude and the creativity of all the staff which has ensured our continued success.
I feel particularly proud to have contributed to our focus on developing young leaders (from primary to post 16). Over our twenty year organisational history we have seen the impact on young people who take on UFA leadership roles or just begin their own UFA journey of understanding of how they can lead themselves as well as others and the difference they can make in their homes schools and communities.
Last week I had the opportunity to support my colleagues deliver our ‘Students of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow’ programme at Northfleet Girls School. We hosted a ‘Seeing is Believing’ event over the lunch time for other schools who were interested in the programme and one of the girls taking part shared with the group that she was not sure how it had happened, but she felt like she had turned into a young leader during the two days.
It was easy for us to see what had happened as we had watched and coached their staff team during the programme, to step back but not out, as they handed over decision making to the girls. But her comment really resonated with me as it sometimes does feel like it is hard to pin down and analyse the reason we see such significant change in a short space of time. For me it comes back to the other reason I believe the UFA has remained successful and that is because we know relationships matter, with young people, with staff and with the organisations we work with. It’s the reason I have been here so long.
So next week the UFA is in the safe hands of Carol Jones, as Interim Chief Executive, as the Board of Trustees begins the process of appointing the next Chief Executive, to take the charity on the next exciting part of its journey. See www.ufa.org.uk for details of the recruitment process.
I wish everyone well for the future.