As mentioned in my last blog post, the raised beds had been severely damaged. After discussing the practicability of the raised beds with staff, I found that raised beds are not any more advantageous for wheel chair users than normal flat beds are. I decided to change the plans and remove the raised beds, this fitted with our model for sustainability as it meant the garden was a lot easier to maintain the long run.
Getting rid of the raised beds meant hiring a skip, which meant tenancy meeting. This impacted the budget and a lot of man power was required to shift the more than 3 cubic metres of soil.
One major problem with politicians today is there is a huge lack of trust. People simply don’t believe their claims. The same issue can be applied to society more broadly, particularly media and advertisements. People know that when something seems too good to be true it probably is, but they don’t know what to do about it.
To address this Sense About Science set up the ask for evidence campaign, and in particular askforevidence.org to encourages the public to challenge unbelievable claims directly, asking those who make them to provide evidence which can then be scrutinised and evaluated. Since it’s launch less than a year ago askforevidence.org has seen over 1000 queries from frustrated members of the public seeking evidence from those who make extraordinary claims.
Here we are, my third post. Two quick section here, one on my work progress so far, and then a bit from my experience of doing Charity Insight.
Section a) The work keeps getting even more interesting, as we go along. I am still working on the first bit of research I was doing for waste management strategy for Birmingham. We have found some interesting facts about other local authorities and how they manage their waste and what lessons are to be learnt from them. The report will be public after finishing it if anyone would ever be interested to have a look.
The works began on the garden and would continue for my remaining time on the internship. We were slightly delayed as BT sent a team, as a part of their charity pledge, to clean up the garden; however they had not completed their works and the wooden borders containing the existing raised beds had been damaged.
As the garden hadn’t been maintained or weeded for more than several years a good deal of time was spent clearing these weeds and trees growing out of the patio slabs. We were again delayed as we weren’t clear to use chemicals in the garden as there were several pets and we didn’t want to risk poisoning them.
My final week at the foundation was unfortunately disrupted by acute tonsillitis, meaning I had to stay at home some time to rest, before moving on to being able to work some hours from home and then finally returning to work in the office.
In this week I returned to a project given to me by one of the Trustees during my arrival. This was to compile a spreadsheet containing information about some of the wealthiest millionaires and billionaires within the borough, particularly with regards to whether or not some of them might have charitable foundations in their name to which the foundation may be able to apply for support.
If you’re working hard with your head down and without time to look up, time flies by, something I have been reminded of this week. One of the first tasks assigned to me by the new Director was to modify a document used by her previous charity to act as a form of agreement with high profile supporters, detailing exactly what the Foundation would require of them as well as what they would expect of us. This helps clarify the potential relationship, making things unambiguous and clear, therefore reducing the chance of disagreement and disappointments on either side. It also gives the request a sense of professionalism and makes it easier for the prospect in question to say yes and agree to help get the Foundation’s message across to people.
This week heralded the arrival of our new Director, Susan Dolton, who arrives with a wealth of experience having been director at the Charity “Help Musicians UK”. Fortunately for me, she has shown a great interest in my interning at the Foundation, and has already suggested a number of new projects I could pursue whilst working here. I’ve also realised she’s a shrewd manager and extremely competent leader; it’s amazing the effect it can have on a team’s productivity when the person in charge displays a genuine interest in what you’re doing, an effect I’ve noticed first hand in myself. She gives praise where and when it’s due, yet is unafraid of criticising elements of the Foundation whilst always remaining assertive and constructive.
The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation is a charity which works to raise awareness of the harsh socio-economic contrasts that exist within the borough, and to help residents support local charities and community groups by championing the work of small charities. Essentially, the Foundation wants to make the borough a place where no one is held back by a lack of opportunity, a community where people and organisations work together to improve the lives of its most vulnerable members.
The foundation provides advice and guidance to residents, schools and businesses that want to become more engaged in their community. They also work to initiate campaigns to target specific needs.
This week started off with many crucial tasks, including finalizing the attendee list, printing and binding the conference packet, creating name tags for the participants, and filling the gift bags. We had a good assembly line going, though, so it wasn’t too tedious.
The programme for the conference was successfully uploaded to the INCA2015 website, which was safely accepting research abstracts and payment for participation as well.
As an intern directly responsible for the outcome of the conference, I was also in charge of catering. Because the conference was hosted by PCRF, we contacted many shops around the South Kensington area to see if they would want to contribute to our conference.
With two weeks to go to the big “Ion Channels in Cancer” (INCA) conference, the pressure has definitely been put on. This conference happens biannually and is hosted in a different place every time. This year, Professor Djamgoz and his PCRF team are the hosts. The topic of Ion channels is an exciting new development in cancer which holds promise to enable early, definitive diagnosis and non-toxic therapies of cancer. The conference will bring together scientists at the forefront of this field in order to advance novel solutions to cancer. The meeting will include over 30 invited speakers from all over the world, with around 100 people expected to attend.
Because the charity prides itself on having no administrative costs, logistical organization up till now was largely down to Mustafa alone. With an estimated overall cost of £16K, my colleague and I found the email addresses of multiple research charities, science and technology companies, and scientific societies, and sent them personalized emails asking whether they could help us meet our balance. Whilst we preferred receiving direct monetary support, we also welcomed any supporting materials such as pens, notepads, sweets, or any other souvenirs that the delegates would receive in their conference goody bags. In return, we offered to include any publicity material in the conference pack.