Manchester Charities Evening 2008
Rank Fellowship Manchester Charities Evening
20 November 2008
The Manchester Science Gallery at the Museum of Science and Industry was an inspired choice (by James Williams) for the Fellowship's first major event outside London. James and his team of Manchester-based Fellows had worked very hard in getting a good number of Fellows to attend an evening which could not have gone better. The fourteen charities who came along were all inspirational in their own way and their interaction with Fellows and with each other was quite excellent.
There were other ingredients in the mix for this memorable occasion. Rank colleagues had made it a tremendous team effort, through their contacts, their encouragement and their attendance. The words of welcome set just the right tone. James Williams and Jason Chaffer spoke of the founding vision of the Fellowship, the importance of spreading an active network well beyond the M25 and the ability to mark the fifth anniversary of the Fellowship with a vibrant event such as this. Jeremy Glover from the Bolton Lads and Girls Club spoke on behalf of the charities: he talked about the particular benefits of working with The Rank Foundation and the lasting value of volunteering. The feeling of a joyful gathering of the Rank family was very strong.
Those attending had often made a considerable effort to be there. One Fellow had driven with her mother from Bath (and would have driven to Edinburgh if necessary). Several young Fellows had travelled up from universities such as Warwick and Nottingham. Charities had come from as far afield as Sheffield and Penrith. Both Fred Packard and Jason Chaffer had made special journeys up from London.
A number of Fellowship guests added to the occasion through their particular expertise and contacts. There was the Development Manager of the Royal Northern College of Music, a representative of the Rotary, a (family) Trustee of the Eleanor Rathbone Trust and the goalkeeping coach of Manchester United. Six school principals were there and they were able to help the charities by personal involvement and through their own school networks.
Immediate reactions were overwhelmingly positive. "I thought the evening was superb", "Brilliant", "We had a great time and made some great contacts" , "Great food, great wine, great venue, lovely people" were just a few of the emails received from charities in the immediate aftermath. Early signs of good outcomes were also very encouraging: a new patron for one charity, a new Trustee for another, offers of teaching materials for another, expertise on premises funding for yet another. A visiting school Head summed it up: "What an inspirational event it proved to be."
Many thanks to James Williams and his team for arranging this terrific event: it has established considerable momentum for the Fellowship in the North West.
The programme for the evening can be found here