In Your Shoes - Brook MarshallAll members Prev: Brian Horisk Next: Caroline McKenna
Hello! My name is Brook and I work in the third sector here in sunny Dundee, having moved here about six years ago from Glasgow to study games at Abertay. During my studies I took a sabbatical to step into the role of President of the Student Association and shortly after Vice President (Communities) of the National Union of Students Scotland, working on areas as diverse as housing, LGBTQIA+ rights and lobbying. This is where my love of working in small charities was sparked, and I plan to stay in the third sector for the rest of my career!
These days half of the week I’m the Project Director of Feeling Strong, an exciting new Dundee-based charity I founded with the ambition to improve the lives of young people living with mental health challenges by fostering the skills, confidence and aspirations they need to flourish. The other half I’m the Office Manager of Tayside Cancer Support where we offer support, valuable information and befriending for anyone affected by cancer in Tayside. I’ve also recently joined the board of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations as a trustee, so between all of the above you can see I like to keep busy!
Personal Twitter: @BrookMarshallUK
Project Director: @FeelingStrongUK
On your marks!Monday 14 January 2019
I’m starting the week coming off of a high: on Thursday Feeling Strong hosted a really exciting Parliament Trip, where a bus full of young people spoke to Shona Robison MSP and Clare Haughey, Minister for Mental Health! It was so rewarding to see the positive reaction from the young people in getting to bring their concerns to some of the highest decision makers in Scotland, so I brought that optimistic energy to today.
This morning I was working at Tayside Cancer Support alongside my amazing and sunny colleague Arlene, getting prepared for our upcoming AGM and working out some finance stuff for getting our annual accounts examined.
In the afternoon I switched hats and did some work for Feeling Strong, writing up some funding proposals and a job description I’ve had on the back burner. I *love* recruitment, so anything related to job specs or person specifications is really stimulating. To me there’s nothing more satisfying than building a diverse team who work great together, and I’m blessed that my team at Feeling Strong are a joy to work with.
Teamwork makes the Dream WorkTuesday 15 January 2019
Today we had an interview with local news channel That’s TV, and filmed interviews mean one thing: haircut. I got up early to get the mop chopped! The team and I braved windy Slessor Gardens for the interview.
It was good to talk to the reporter about the work we’ve done so far as Feeling Strong’s only ten months old! It’s good for me to take time to reflect on the progress we’ve made from time to time, because sometimes I get so focused on what’s in front of me that I forget what’s behind.
The best thing about my role as Project Director is that I get to facilitate some amazing young people to do even more amazing things! In that spirit I spent the rest of the day doing paperwork to clear the feet of my volunteers so they can get on with what they do best.
Hump DayWednesday 16 January 2019
My morning on Wednesday involved organising some volunteering and fundraising stuff which whittled away some of my to-do list and then I popped over to Abertay to meet the student team we’re partnered with to develop an app for young people who face mental health challenges in Dundee. We spoke about moving from the design stage to implementation and took a fancy picture for a press release.
Later in the afternoon I had a catch-up with the Chair of the Board of SCVO talking about the upcoming strategy day and inducting me into my new role, it was good to get an idea of the context SCVO is operating in and the immediate governance priorities. I’m a bit of a serial trustee, this being the sixth board I’ve sat on. Having been on both sides of the process, being supervised by a board and chairing a board, the relationship and delineation between leadership, governance and management has always been very interesting to me. I’m hoping to support both Feeling Strong and Tayside Cancer Support towards Good Governance accreditation because I think it’s vital to have the basics pinned down, saves you headaches down the road.
In the evening me and my pals went to a bowling alley and arcade. I was unreasonably excited about the fact it was an arcade where the machines give you tickets in exchange for prizes! I saved up enough for a pacman ghost stress ball and then got thrashed at two games of bowling… which gave way to comfort eating a smashburger. It’s always good to treat yourself on hump day.
All by myself…Thursday 17 January 2019
Today I spent the day working at Tayside Cancer Support and catching up with one of our trustees. Thursdays are usually my alone day in the office where I can hog the PC and do the bread and butter stuff of my role like bookkeeping, policy and governance support.
Thursday was mostly uneventful, to be honest. Just me and the crickets!
Winding downFriday 18 January 2019
I finished off the week tired but positive, just spent a day catching up with little bits of paper work, working on a few policies and a catch up. The Feeling Strong Operations Team and I had an informal planning session (featuring my living room) to decide what our service development priorities are for the short term and how we prioritise funding applications to work on. And we had mochas which was great because the caffeine was sorely needed.
One last thing for anyone reading - charities couldn’t exist without the generosity and support of individuals and our partners in the private sector. If you’d like to play a part in supporting a local charity, you can contact either:
… to discuss how we can work together, such as sponsorships, donations, staff volunteering - I’m sure there’s something we could arrange that would be of value to both of us. Remember your corporate social responsibility!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a bit of a better understanding what it’s like to work in small third sector organisations. I hope you have as good a week as I did, and take Friday night off. Tonight I’m making soft tacos, having friends over and playing some games, wish me luck!