I was very grateful to Mark Braggins during the past week for volunteering to look after Weekly Blog Club for the week and to write the weekly summary post. I was especially glad this week since it enabled me to respond to other people’s  Songs of Me posts.

It also enabled me to contribute to do a bit more for a grant application that the community voluntary group with which I am involved is making. It was a tight deadline from the start but there were enough of us around to contribute to it and we were determined to apply. It was interesting to work with other volunteers on such a task. My first proper job included some grants casework during the first year. I had to be the liaison between the applicant and the experts, and drafted the grant letters with their strict conditions that were specific to each applicant. I remember the first big case because I was so surprised when the owners wrote to my manager to say what a difference that they thought that I had made, through coordinating the input of senior colleagues and trying to explain everything clearly (they had been through the process before – it was a large and complex site requiring work phased over several years).

Since then, my experience has been on the applicant rather than grant-giver side, but always as part of my paid work, and usually liaising with others involved as part of their paid work. It was interesting to go through the process as a volunteer working mostly with other volunteers. It is a different experience, but I am not sure that I can put into words what is different. The others primarily involved know each other well, and I am just beginning to become better acquainted with them, through attending more meetings. I think that it is the lack of formal hierarchy that makes it different, but I feel almost like I did when I first started work: that almost everyone else has precedence over me because they have been involved for much longer than I have. I am more likely to restrain myself from expressing a contrary view or questioning something (many would say that that is a good thing).

I was very relieved that I did not have to write the Weekly Blog Club Summary this week as well as editing text that will make a difference as to whether we can do something tangibly positive within our community between this autumn and next spring. Thank you, Mark, for enabling me to focus on just one deadline this weekend!