I’m starting the year with a less businessy blog than usual in the hope of catching the few Facebookers who are still complaining about stuffing themselves with enough food for the whole of 2014. And yes, I admit, I do fall into that category. While most of us were indulging in delicious fare, lovely chocolatey things and lychee martinis, a few of my friends generously spent Christmas volunteering at Crisis, helping to feed people who otherwise wouldn’t enjoy a hot meal in a warm building.
Being a nation of excess, the amount of food chucked into black sacks and left out for bin men and wily foxes is shocking. These past two weeks have seen enough leftover poultry to feed a small island. But it’s not just the festive season that sees part of the community going hungry; it’s a year-round problem. One of my clients actively supports a local food bank and the company’s credit controller, Heather, is actually the bank’s project manager. Part of a UK Network seeded by The Trussell Trust, this charity works to combat poverty and exclusion in Loughton.
This affluent town – at edge of Essex, within an hour’s tube ride to central London and home to various TV celebs – may seem an unlikely location for a food bank. After all, they identify people in crisis and provide them with three days’ worth of emergency food. If you’re wondering what could cause people in an upmarket leafy suburb to need food donations, the main reasons are benefit delays and homelessness: problems that may be rare for the SME business community, but impinge on society as a whole.
Since opening six months ago, the food bank has fed a couple of hundred people, with over 2600 kg of food donated so far. Heather says, “Thanks to all the wonderful people in this community who have already donated time, food and money to this amazing life-changing project.”
So if your new year’s resolution was to help others, this is a way of doing something valuable without impacting on your time. If you’d like to find out more, email me and I’ll put you in touch with Heather.
Other than that, I’m not talking about new year resolutions. Everyone’s fed up with that and most are broken by now anyway. We can make changes at any time, it doesn’t have to be the January cliché. Lay out your plans for the year by all means, but make sure they’re realistic goals rather than flighty resolutions. Make them specific, time-bound and measureable, then work hard to achieve them.
I’m happy to help with your goal setting if you need some objective mentoring – or with time management if you’re struggling to fit your new plans into an already packed schedule. As the Boy once said (not the time I saw him in Carnaby Street), ‘Don’t make me feel any colder, time is like a clock in my heart. Touch we touch was the heat too much? I felt I lost you from the start.’ I don’t lose people; I find them (often at networking events). But you can always find me here: @WeekendWitch.