Minutes of the Steering Committee on 1 June 2011




Present:  Jason Chaffer - Chairman

Jan Carter, Lindsey Clay, Stephen Day, Lynn Garrad, Piers Mudd, Benet Northcote, Tessa Packard, Simon Turner, Emma Watson-Mack, James Williams, Tim Young.

Apologies: Steve Cheal, Andrew Cowen, Duncan Gibson, Tom Heasman, Max Kirby, Kate Kynvin, David McCausland, Anish Patel, Antonia Packard, Daniela Barone Soares, Jeremy Wilson.

1. Welcome

Jason Chaffer opened the meeting and welcomed Piers Mudd, who had been invited to become a member of the Steering Committee and had agreed to sit in on a couple of meetings.

Every year retiring Heads of schools who have been long standing supporters of the Fellowship were offered Honorary Fellowships. This year, invitations would be extended to the Heads of Gordonstoun and St Edward's Schools. Tim Young tabled a booklet produced by the Head of Gordonstoun on Rank Fellowship Students from 1990 to 2010.

2. Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting held on 1st March 2011 had previously been circulated and it was agreed that they should be signed by the Chairman.

3. Communications Team

Website Plans, Facebook and Fellowship App: Tim Young tabled a written report from David McCausland on the progress of the website redesign. Lindsay Clay undertook to check with David McCausland that the website is being optimised for mobile access. There was considerable discussion on the design of the website. Tessa Packard noted that she felt very strongly that it was dated and needed a complete overhaul to engage 16-25 year old Fellows: despite the recent changes, it was still too 'corporate and fuddy duddy'. Tim Young suggested that her ideas should be fed in to Max Kirby and Tom Heasman, who were working on a dynamic 16-25 section for the revised site, which Tessa Packard confirmed she would be happy to do.

Lindsey Clay reported that effort was currently being concentrated on the website content and ensuring it worked from a functional basis, following which the design element would be reviewed, including typeface, imagery and colour scheme, all of which could transform the site. However, the website has a considerable number of external visitors and must retain a 'corporate' identity. Tim Young added that the remit of the Fellowship was to try and engage with the voluntary sector and the front page must include a statement about the Fellowship's purpose for external inspection. The new front page would be very much simplified, with a statement on the Fellowship on the left hand side and rolling news on the right hand side: from there, those interested can be directed to:  mentoring, committee, 16-25, archive, etc. Benet Northcote commented that the website would never be totally engaging for a young person, but with an appealing and fresh new design it would not intimidate a Rank Fellow who had just left school, while equally not being over-obsessed with a young audience. Jason Chaffer thanked everyone for their helpful views and opinions.

Fellowship Review: Tim Young noted that approximately 750 copies of the Review had been posted to the Fellows. Jason Chaffer reported that the Fellowship Review had been very well received by the Rank Foundation Trustees. It was agreed that Tim Young would ask Tom Heasman if he would be willing to repeat the work he did in 2010 contacting Fellows to update their details.

4. Charities Team

London Charities Evening, 2nd November 2011, Inner Temple Hall:  James Williams reported that the invitations would be sent out in September, when people are back from holiday. The event has been publicised on the website with a 'save the date' notice, as well as in the Fellowship Review. Simon Turner commented on the fantastic energy level at the previous event. Jason Chaffer noted that 19 charities had attended the previous event at Inner Temple and Tim Young added that charities were already signing up for the event.

London to Brighton Bike Ride: In David McCausland's absence, Tim Young noted that seven cyclists would be setting off at 9am on 19th June for the annual charity race.

Workshops Programme for 2011:  Jason Chaffer opened the discussion by commenting that, having trialled a number of workshops which had been well received and appreciated by the charities who attended them, there was now less demand for the workshops. Rank's YARN network had taken up the idea and had arranged workshops which followed on from the Fellowship ones. YARN could devote a whole day to the discussions, which charities liked.

Individual Charity Connections & Initiatives: Jason Chaffer noted that the Fellowship was not just about leadership, but also about giving something back; although it should not be a prerequisite that a Fellow does something with a Rank charity. He sought the Committee's opinions as to whether all Fellows should be contacted and asked: "what would you like to be involved in? What do you intend to be involved in? What have you been involved in?" This could have a potentially significant ripple effect, with the connection between Fellows and charities celebrated through the website.

Piers Mudd commented that he had been inspired by the Charities Evening in Bath to offer to help one of the charities involved, in London. He suggested it would be very useful to get a forum together to share ideas, concepts and strategies and obtain practical advice from schemes that had succeeded. It would be similarly beneficial to help the charities involved understand how to utilise the skills of participating Fellows. The charities could then also consider how they might work together. The Committee agreed this was an excellent idea and Jason Chaffer highlighted the connectivity with other parts of the Foundation: the YARN network, community care, special projects, youth work and the raft of initiatives that the Foundation supports.

Tim Young noted that Fellows' careers are listed on the active database and, if details of the charities were added, they could be matched against any requirements.  It was agreed that, to begin collation of the information, Tim Young would email members of the Steering Committee asking for details of their involvement in any charity. Tim Young also added that many of the younger Fellows had become very involved with the charities they do placements with and they could also take part. Jason Chaffer concluded the discussion by noting that the general consensus of the Committee was that efforts should now be concentrated on moving this forward.

Tim Young highlighted the work of the African Prisons Project, who would be attending the Charities' Evening in November. This is a truly inspirational project providing prison education in Uganda. They currently have 75 prisoners in Kampala reading to take a law degree at London University, with 800 others studying for A Levels. Their work has been so successful that they have been approached by six other African Governments to replicate their work.

5. Mentoring Team

Mentoring Evening, 21 March 2011: Jason Chaffer offered thanks again to Lindsey Clay and her team at Thinkbox for a very successful Mentoring Evening, attended by 30 Fellows. The following feedback had been received from a Fellow: "I confess that by the end of the evening I felt completely humbled and not a little spooked by the whole thing! The people that the organisation has assisted are extraordinary and are doing extraordinary things and I wonder how you chose people who go on to or who are currently so amazing. I feel very, very privileged to have been part of Tuesday night and feel profoundly grateful to have been considered worthy to be chosen as a Rank Fellow." Lindsey Clay asked if the Fellow concerned would be happy for the comment to be put on the website, anonymously

Leadership Day, 15th September 2011: Tim Young reported that this year more time would be built in for the Leadership Fellows to talk to each other, which it has been noted they particularly like. A draft programme is being put together, which will be circulated to the Committee over the next month.

It had been suggested that the 2012 Leadership Day might be held at Jeremy Wilson's climbing centre in the Lake District.

Tim Young also reported that Leadership Day in 2013 would form part of a major Rank 2013 event, celebrating 60 years of Rank Charities and 40 years of the Rank Foundation.

Individual Mentoring Initiatives: Jason Chaffer noted that advice had recently been given on working in patents, working with a charity, advertising, classical studies, chemistry at university, developing a career as a classical musician and developing a Middle East research project.

6. Regional Developments & Overseas Links

North West Group: Tim Young reported on a schedule of events planned by the North West group, with the first being a 'hog roast' at Warrington Peace Centre on 1st July. James Williams will endeavour to attend as he will be in the area at that time. They are also considering holding a Charities Evening in November and running a seminar. One or more of the Group would attend the September Steering Committee meeting in London.

Fundacao Estudar:  Jason Chaffer highlighted the success of Impetus Trust and Daniela Barone Soares, who have recently been awarded a £125 million project, in association with The Sutton Trust, to raise educational standards.

Middle East: Stephen Day addressed the meeting on recent events in the Middle East, noting that the 'Arab Spring' had been almost entirely unexpected. He added that the main problem in the region was youth unemployment and that the revolutions took different forms in different countries, led by young people who see no other option. The power of Facebook and other social media in the uprising in Tunisia had been incredible.

Stephen Day added that there was a blossoming of charitable projects in Tunisia and other parts of the Middle East and gave credit to the British government, where the PM and other ministers had visited the area while in opposition to look at what they might do to help. Of the international community, they had been the first to become involved and offer help.

7. AOB

Steering Committee: Jason Chaffer reported that Tim Young would be talking to all members of the Steering Committee individually over the summer to elicit their views on committee engagement and attending meetings with a sense of involvement. This was part of an occasional review and everyone's opinions would be sought prior to new plans being put forward to the September Committee meeting.

Fellowship Drinks Party: Tessa Packard asked if another Christmas drinks party would take place this year, following the great social evening enjoyed last November. Jason Chaffer commented that when the Charities' Evening is held in London, the social evening might be better held in spring, due to the timing. When the Charities' Evening is held outside of London on alternate years, then the party would be held in London.

Career Evening: Jason Chaffer noted that it was hoped to arrange another career evening for spring 2012, as the last one had been held 18 months ago.

The meeting broke up at 7.45 pm and supper was served in the Boardroom.

8. Dates of Future meetings:
 Wednesday 7th September, and
 Tuesday 6th December 2011.

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