Our meetings seem to be getting longer

In fact … we’re seriously considering changing the way we do things to have more qualitative conversation and process the business stuff more efficiently – watch this space (and/or share innovative and interesting ideas!)

One of the things that struck me about our meeting last night is the number of dates we have in the calendar (which reminds me – note to self – we are due to update our Out and About page which keeps a tally of where we have been and what we have been doing). Coming up we have dates for meetings with others (Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Action Alliance and Out of Hospital); upcoming SAND events – including a training session in interviewing techniques and a play related to issues around dementia; plus events elsewhere that we have an interest in, such as a Social Policy Forum in London on issues affecting  Trans people, Ludlow Pride, Celebrating Age in Telford and the Wilfred Owen Festival) – it is one whole job to keep track of all these – but we’re on it!

I am also struck once again – by our In-Kind hours – we log these each month and calculate their value. When we started collecting in April 2014, The Heritage Lottery had a scale they used to help people to calculate this depending on the type of work they were doing and we borrowed it (I am pretty sure it was the HLF but if it was they don’t seem to have it anymore so if you know of an alternative please do pass it over). Anyway  the one we adopted was broken down like this:

Level 1: attending an event

Level 2: doing development work

Level 3: doing professional work

– and we have based our figures on this. It is not always easy to determine which level to attribute hours to but we err on the side of caution and scale down rather than up. We are also – on the whole – slightly disorganised (or just very busy) creative folk who are a bit rubbish at logging our time as we go, so we can rest assured that we miss a shed load of hours while we’re doing it – so our figures are definitely the minimum we have put in!

By the end of 2017 we had clocked up a massive £63,000 worth of hours – and we also realised that we had not moved with the times – we were still operating on the given figures which meant that our rate for Level 1 was £6.50 p/hr – which is less than the minimum wage, let alone living wage! To get it in line we had to increase it by (nearly) 15% to £7.83. We originally raised the other categories by 15% as well to even things up but then decided that this doesn’t seem very realistic so they’ve gone back down – and we have added training as a category. So – yes – all very sophisticated!! This means we are counting as follows:

Level 1: £7.83 p/hr

Level 2: £20.00 p/hr

Level 3: £45.00 p/hr

Training £30.00 p/hr

Most of our work is logged as Level 2.

Another feature of last night’s business bit of the meeting was the development of our policies. Some of you may have heard about GDPR – basically the new rules about Data Protection that every organisation, no matter how small, has to adhere to. We have now drafted our policy and developed a Privacy Notice (this is the publicly available bit which lets everyone know what we do with personal information and how you can ask to be removed from our contact list), we are also drafting related policies which we hope to finalise in April at our next meeting.

Away from the business side – it is full steam ahead on our projects. Our Healthwatch funded research has taken us 2 years to complete and is now so very nearly done and dusted it is teetering on the edge of joining our resources page – expect to hear more about that very soon.

Our Grains of SAND and Business Planning Projects are both underway and complementing each other nicely – we’ll do a feature soon on each/both of those but, as a reminder:

Grains of SAND – funded by a Big Lottery Awards for All Grant is about connecting with our own older and old LGBT communities, with a particular focus on Oswestry, Ludlow & Telford. We are starting to talk to a few people in each area – laying some foundations for conversations.

Business Planning – funded by Comic Relief Core Strengths Grant and Shropshire Partners in Care is about developing a business plan to encourage investment in – and then co-producing – an online resource for health & social care providers to change their practice, leading to an improved experience for older and old LGBT people accessing their services.

FOCUS On ……..
SAND’s Named Supporter: Sandi Toksvig – radio & TV presenter, comedian, author and campaigner for women’s rights

Sandi was our very first Named Supporter when she came on board in November 2013. We met Sandi and her partner Debbie after a performance at Theatre Severn when we told her about SAND. Without hesitation she agreed to be a Supporter and has stayed in touch with us ever since – we send regular updates on our work and she sends lovely messages every now and then.


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