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Day in the Life of our Operations Director, Sarah

26 August 2021

Here, we catch up with our inspirational Operations Director, Sarah, to learn more about the important role she has at Berkshire Youth.

What’s a typical working day for you?
Once I’ve walked my dog and dropped my three children at school, work begins! My first task of the day is usually checking in on messages and emails that have come in since I was last working. As I’m part time this can sometimes be quite a few!  My day is then usually interspersed with meetings, now mostly via Zoom/Teams. These can range from meetings with staff and Trustees about our projects and programmes, to contract meetings with funders or with community groups or Parish/town councils. Around this I’m working on funding bids and writing reports for existing funders.

What do you find most challenging about being involved in youth work?
We know that working with young people early and consistently will help young people create a sense of belonging and stability, that will help them weather the tough storms whilst transitioning through adolescence. Despite knowing this, and proving this time and again, as Berkshire Youth we still find ourselves in the position of seeking funding for every element of our work. The current funding of services for young people is about crisis work. This frustrates me, as I think our young people deserve better than waiting to be in crisis to access support services. Our young people deserve the opportunity to engage, to have a sense of belonging to be empowered and informed to make positive choices. Our biggest challenge is the lack of opportunity and ambition for our young people and therefore the lack of funding to support the vision Berkshire Youth has for young people.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
When it works! The hours of bid writing, the campaigning local funders and authorities for funding to support our young people… It is all worth it when you see a young person involved in our work. When that young person is in a better place because Berkshire Youth believed they deserved more and fought for the funding to provide that support/service or project; when staff tell me of the tears of honesty and joy they share with young people, as that young person realises that the world does care about them; when life for that young person might be that bit brighter because of Berkshire Youth; then I know the grey hairs and sleepless nights are worth it!

What is your background?
I have worked for Berkshire Youth for 15 years, originally joining as a Sports Development Officer and now working as Operations Director. I joined having had experience in sports settings and the sense of community that could create for young people. Youth work created that same sense of belonging for a different group of young people. I still firmly believe in community-based programmes for young people and for us, as the adults in our community, to take responsibility to create support and opportunities for young people locally.

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