There’s a view that working in the voluntary sector involves cups of tea and chats with people

Toby Williamson - Headless Chicken

Toby Williamson, Head of Development & Later Life:

“There’s a widespread view that working in the voluntary sector involves having cups of tea and nice chats with people. For me, this week, it’s felt more like being a headless chicken running around at 100mph.

All week I’ve been writing funding bids as well as project managing existing work but I've had a few things on top of that… On Monday I had to be polite and well behaved because I was meeting with our Trustees over a meal – I don’t think I put my foot in it though maybe I asked too many times about exactly what they did get up to on their away-day.

Tuesday involved a meeting of the Dementia Action Alliance – a coalition of organisations that the Mental Health Foundation is part of. It was the scene of a significant policy victory! I came up with the idea of asking Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health (who attended the meeting in person) about progress on the National Dementia Strategy. Last year the Government prioritised four of the 17 objectives in the strategy and we were keen to hear about the other 13. The question got honed down by the group I was with into asking him to make a commitment to publishing an annual report to describe progress on all 17 objectives. He agreed to this! Now we have to make sure it happens…

Wednesday I was on a panel at a conference of GPs, talking about the role of the voluntary sector and tomorrow I’m chairing an all day conference about dementia, as well as talking about the work the Foundation has done. This headless chicken needs a cup of tea… “

Published 01 December 2011 |
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