Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

We’ve come a long, long way together

Through the hard times and the good
I have to celebrate you baby
I have to praise you like I should
(Praise you,

Gooood morning everybody!

This seems an appropriate song to be thinking of this morning, as we are now officially passed our first birthday and have had our very first AGM. It’s strange, we have so many firsts – the day I started work on this full time (1st July 2008), first day in premises (February 2009) first training session (May 2009) launch (1st December 2009) and first AGM (21st May 2010). I like that our AGM was on the two year anniversary of the day I left Rape Crisis – anniversaries are important to me and it’s nice to link an end and a beginning.

I didn’t write last week as I was out due to an important family thing, so I’ve quite a bit to catch up on with you. Let’s see, what’s happened since the 12th May? Loads! I’ve been busy almost every day and night, what with work, family support and events, and am very much looking forward to the bank holiday weekend to get back in touch with my house and garden. Things are running pretty smoothly here, though we are starting to lose volunteers for a wee while due to the exam season and might lose more over summer if people go home. You may have seen my wee blog post yesterday on this, and we’ve already had a response so it looks like we might not have any gaps of coverage. We are so reliant on our amazing volunteers here – they do so much and let me and Della just get on with what we need to do. Maryam is back from Iran, as glamorous and cheerful as ever. She’s one person who always looks like a smile is just waiting at the corner of her mouth. Maryam is working on some internal database stuff for us, records of all our worker, volunteer and other contacts. She’s built the database and is also doing bits of systems administration, or at least is learning to. We’ve a visit from another IT volunteer BW on Thursday night, hoping to get the computers we have here all finished and labelled up so we know what we have. We have about 12 machines in total, some bought, some donated, some in bits, and we want to get them turned into about 8 really decent machines. So thanks Maryam, Gareth and BW for all your work on that stuff.

In other news, yes, let’s talk AGM! How exciting, eh? Last Friday we had three meetings in one afternoon, the first to accept our accounts, then our AGM and the our regular Committee Meeting. I am delighted to report that our newly elected Committee is

Me – Chair
Joy Conway – Secretary
Norman Rides – Treasurer
Allegra Carlton, Della Cunio, Amina Osman – Committee Members.

We’re going to have some training or work done on roles and responsibilities of Committee members as Allegra, for example, is a trainer by DNA it seems, and we’d like her to have a Role title that reflects that. But there we are, a shiny new Committee! We also have an Annual Report and (very nearly) accounts, which I will be posting up somewhere for you to read once final agreed amendments have been made. It was a real push to get all the business done, but we did it, and thanks to Della and Aimee for bringing the supplies (triple choc cookies featured quite highly) and to the fantastic Andrea Allam who stepped in with 40 minutes notice to present our accounts when our Treasurer was unable to.

Last night I was in London for an UnLtd Celebration event and it was absolutely brilliant. I did a bit more elephant hunting on the way there and saw three on the South Bank. When I’m not with UnLtd people I forget how brilliant it feels to be so supported by them. They talk about the entrepreneur, the person in the middle of everything, with such passion and caring, and when they say it to my face, I can’t deny that they mean me. I find it very easy to circumvent praise and then feel unsupported just because my own brain has been silly and pushed it all away. But anyway, it was a joy to be there last night and to see the heartstoppingly amazing http://www.choirwithnoname.org (made up of people who have experienced homelessness) sing. Please do check them out – Marie, their Musical Director was an UnLtd award winner at the same time as me, and is doing a really wonderful thing. Seeing the choir sing, and seeing them relax into it and enjoy themselves was absolutely thrilling – I was almost in tears throughout it all. THAT is what social enterprise can do, that’s what it’s for. Its a way of running a business that makes a real, tangible, demonstrable difference to lives. Power to Marie and the Choir and do, please, if you are free on the 19th June in London, go along to their 2nd birthday,7.30pm, The Drill Hall, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX. Go!

We were also treated to a recital from Leanne (apols if I get the spelling wrong) from the http://www.hiphopshakespeare.com, led by another Award winner, Kingslee Daley. When he told me that iambic pentameter (basically, a way of writing where each line has ten syllables, in five pairs, one of which is stressed, eg, shall I comPARE thee TO a SUMmer DAY) is the rhythm of the human heart, I was hooked. Such a great idea and a side of Shakespeare that I’ve never known. Lovely. They’ll be at camp Bestival this summer – check them out if you’re there. And finally, we had a goody bag including perfect cake and cereal from http://www.foodworksuk.org run by Kelvin Cheung, another award winner. He asked me how I was, as a person, and it struck me that I rarely think of ‘me’ – I think of me, as pants. This has to change!

It’s time for a break with the trainees, so I’m off. I think it’s about time I did another round of thanks, actually, to the people who support me to allow me to do what I do, not just the pants team. Without them, as well as the people who do work here, I’d be lost. Mr Stuff feeds my cats when I have to be away in London, or work late. My cats bring me dead things and give me something to think about other than pants. There’s someone very kind who sent me a cheque. My parents, who surprise me with their pride.
UnLtd, always UnLtd, who I should lean on harder.

And now, to break. More next week, when hopefully I will be less tired!



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