Barry Linger has been involved with the charity since 2004, he is primarily involved with The J’s Hospice, but also speaks in the community about Little Havens Hospice as well. Barry is very passionate about fundraising and the role that individuals can play in charities – here he tells his volunteering story.
"The J’s supports young adults with life-limiting conditions and their families across Essex in their homes and in the community. I have been involved with the charity from the early days when my wife Sue and I organised a quiz night to help raise funds. We knew the founder, Denise Whiffin through our involvement with Central Baptist church in Chelmsford and when I retired, I contacted her to say that I would have some time to be able to help build the charity and soon after that I became a trustee.
"At that time my role was very much ‘hands on’, working with Bev Barclay our Director of Nursing to build the processes and procedures to enable us to apply for CQC approval to launch the outreach service. I was then appointed as Executive Chairman and I remained in this role for the next 4/5 years. In this position, I was effectively reporting to the Board while also acting as Vice Chairman of the Board, an interesting situation at times!!
"The growth of the J’s from Denise’s dream to the current time has been in many ways the most satisfying and worthwhile time of my life. There have been some very difficult issues to confront along the way and some stressful times, but I feel immensely fortunate and privileged to have been a part of the story. I have had the opportunity to meet and help some wonderful people along the way, including patients, carers, clinicians, volunteers and supporters and I think it has given me a real insight into the way that ordinary people can overcome extraordinary difficulties.
"As well as this I have been running an annual golf day for 10 years and quite apart from the build up to the event itself, on the day I will normally be at the Golf Club by about 8:00 to set up the registration which commences at 9:00, welcome the players, and oversee along with our Fundraising team and volunteers, the various fundraising activities we undertake during the day ( putting competition; nearest the pin competition, raffle, auction etc.)
"I then play as part of a team and in the evening we have a dinner, auction and prize giving. I usually make a short welcoming speech and I am then involved in the prize giving process. The evening activities will be complete by about 19:00 and after clearing the function suite, I would expect to leave the club by about 20:00. A long day, but very enjoyable!!
"My career before retirement was very much operational and then business improvement based as partner in a management consultancy. I had no experience of either charitable work or the hospice environment. I hope that what I was able to bring to the J’s was some business acumen and an understanding that good business principles have to apply to a charity as well as a profit-making organisation. It has for me been a fascinating insight into the juxtaposition between charitable and business objectives.
"It has been a major part of my life and will continue to be so. It was a unique opportunity to match my abilities with the needs of the charity and maybe achieve something really worthwhile for others, after many years of working for organisations whose sole purpose was to make profit for the owners and shareholders. The J’s was something new and innovative and I am proud to have been a part of a local charity where I have been able to see and talk to those we have helped.
"I believe that there is a vast wealth of untapped ability amongst people from all walks of life who could contribute hugely in the charitable sector. It seems to me to be such an obvious thing to do at the point of retirement. I would be delighted to relate my personal experiences to anyone approaching retirement with no fixed plans for the future, but I am not sure whether there is a forum for this type of debate?"
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