In the run-up to Small charity Week, Claire of Cornwall VSF has been interviewing some of the people who are key figures in the voluntary sector in Cornwall.  We begin with Mari Eggins and Judith Hann.

 

Mari Eggins

Chief Executive, Carefree Cornwall CIC. Carefree Cornwall CIC work with young people, aged 11-25, who are in and leaving care. They support the young people by engaging them in positive social education activities that help them develop their social and emotional skills so that they have a better chance of growing up into positive healthy citizens.

What is your favourite part of your job?
The variety, the challenges and the fact we are making changes because young people want us to, and not because the law says we have to.

What is fantastic about your charity?
It’s grassroots, led by young people and shows that young people can succeed against the odds.

Why do you like working in the VCSE sector in Cornwall?
It feels as though we can find our own ways of surviving and thriving, rather than being there because the government, or shareholders, want us to.  The voluntary and community sector predates all the other sectors because it’s about people choosing to be kind, and sharing, so I think of it as the first sector not the third.  All of the statutory services (like health, police and social work) began in the voluntary and community sector.

Can you share a couple of other charities that are doing great work in Cornwall?
There are too many fabulous charities out there to pick one or two really.  If I had to identify the ones we work closest with it would be WILD young parents project locally and Barnardo’s.

 

Judith Hann

A Trustee of Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum who has been working in Cornwall since 1992. The aim of Cornwall VSF is to be the voice of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, working with others to create a thriving and effective voluntary sector.

What is your favourite part of your job?
It’s been a tough time for us, as well as many other charities, but working with dedicated members of staff and Trustees to determine what is important about the VSF is what keeps me going. Seeing the benefits of our work for other members of the VCSE is great, and I love meeting with our members and hearing all about the amazing work they are doing.

What is fantastic about your charity?
Cornwall VSF is a vital part of the infrastructure that support other charities and voluntary organisations in Cornwall. We know that people appreciate our approach, information and the opportunities we host to get together and listen to what is happening. We are also the key advocate for the sector – and I love the fact that we are in the important strategic meetings making sure the VCSE have a voice is so important.

Why do you like working in the VCSE sector in Cornwall?
Because it is full of dedicated, talented and interesting people! There is such a wide range of smaller charities working away to support people in lots of different ways and lots of amazing volunteers helping support that work. There is a good sense of community in the sector, and generally we all work together in a really positive way. Having worked elsewhere in the country, there is a special sense of togetherness in Cornwall that you don’t find in other places.

Can you share a couple of other charities that are doing great work in Cornwall?
I love CN4C (but I am their Chair!), they are doing great work on the ground and  really making a tangible difference in people’s lives. I also think that CareFree do amazing work with Care Leavers and other young people – we need to support our ‘older’ young people as they make the transition into adulthood. I also love the work at Kehelland Trust – it’s such an interesting place to visit – and their plants, fruit and veg are amazing!