Charity Insurance | Social Enterprises | Voluntary Organisations | Community Groups

A Week in the Life of Ladbrook

We were delighted to welcome five new customers to Ladbrook in the last week, ranging from a small voluntary group to a religious group.  Bonfire night events are coming to the fore for customers too with lots of community organisations preparing the festivities, we hope they all go off safely.

I attended the NOVA AGM and conference at Unity Works (@unity_works) in Wakefield last week, a stunning venue.  It was my first visit and walking through the unassuming entrance I was not sure what to expect.  The reception is smart, the building is on show with exposed pipes, tiles and bricks galore.  During my lift ride to the third floor I had no idea that the hall would be as fantastic a space it was.  After setting our stand up, I meandered down to extend the parking on my car and regretted taking the lift!  Impressive tiling, beautiful signage and overall a tremendous space.  I bumped in to the Operations Director and complimented her on the building and was not surprised to hear that the office space they let was at full occupancy.

The AGM was a real showpiece for NOVA.  NOVA coordinate a whole range of charities across Wakefield and the innovation in the work of the organisation and the members is really impressive.  The bids they have coordinated have bought a lot of service delivery for the charities in the area and the collaboration seems to be bringing great results.

Plenty of NOVA members took centre stage and speakers for Castleford Heritage Trust (@casheritage) and Stanbridge Lane (@StandbridgeLane) really inspired me.

Alison from Castleford was a force of nature, describing how they moved the goalposts to get things moving in her town.  She made me chuckle describing how the council refused to close the road to put a new clock face onto the tower, one of the trusts first actions.  Once they secured Gordon Brown to unveil the feature though, the council changed their tune!  Ashione from Stanbridge was incredibly inspirational.  They launched their service with so many unknowns and rode shocks such as their first heating bill for £5,000….. for three months!!

Unexpected drum session with Papa Jim and ACT

Unexpected drum session with Papa Jim and ACT

Neil Berry of Locality (@localitynews) gave a great talk too on the roots of #KeepitLocal and the diseconomies of scale that occur as service delivery scale becomes too big.

I must confess, when I woke up on the day, I did not expect to be playing the bongo drums with Papa Jim from the Afemai Childrens Trust (@afemaict) during the lunch break!! However, here I am, sat alongside Angela Davies from Nova who kept a much better rhythm than I!  I can only apologise to delegates who had to put up with the racket!

Today, I visited another gem of a building for the first time, the Portico Library in Manchester.  About a month ago, I attended a webinar on the subject of legal structures for non profits, led by Adrian Ashton (@AdrianAshton2) which was hosted by Unltd (@unltd).

The webinar was good, very much worth a watch and I reached out to Adrian and we agreed to meet for a coffee and a chat.

The Portico is an exceptional space.  At Ladbrook, we have been working with a lot of Community Library Groups but the Portico is something else.  Set up by a group of wealthy patrons in the early nineteenth century, the place drips with heritage.  Adrian told me that they are still cataloguing the book stock, much of which dates back to the opening of the library.

The setting is gorgeous and, open to the public, a true treasure worth seeking out.

Meeting Adrian was excellent.  We meandered through a number of governance issues that non profits face (more interesting than it sounds!) and discussed accreditation and benchmarking in the sector, something I am very interested in.

Adrian is Mr Charity.  I am not sure that there is any professional discipline of charity management; HR, governance, board, fundraising, marketing; that he cannot perform or cause to be performed.  It was excellent being able to pick his brains and I have some seeds of ideas which we might be able to work on together in the future.