Some 30 years ago, bored in an office, in a Bank in the City, I saw an advert for conservation working holidays with BTCV. Seemed like a good way to spend a week of my summer – maybe putting back a little of what my action in the Bank (boo, hiss) was undoing!
Quickly I realised that “no experience necessary” was exactly true. Anyone could get involved and unlock talent they didn’t know they had – and with great people. Everyone wanted to make a difference and came from all walks of life. I made some good friends (including of course, my wife!).
Slowly it dawned on me that working hard, earning money to pay the mortgage etc didn’t actually add up to much and – being single at the time, and in a position to take a risk – I packed in the Bank job in April 1990, did a few months travelling and then started as a Volunteer Officer in the Stoke BTCV office. And one thing led to another! A paid role became available in 1991 and since then I’ve been a Community Project Officer, County Manager, Business Development Manager, Operations Manager and Operations Director.
I’ve seen the organisation expand and contract (probably at least twice!), change its name and logo and worked through numerous plans and objectives and targets. But fundamentally it hasn’t changed much – it’s still full of fantastic people (both staff and volunteers) who want to make a difference to their life and the lives of others. They work hard and should be immensely proud of what they achieve.
I don’t often think about what would’ve happened if I’d ignored that advert – but I’m sure my life would have been much poorer if I had.