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The Black Lives Matter uprising continues, and I hope everyone is doing what they can at an individual level. At some point I won’t mention it as the first thing I write, but I hope that what has happened these last weeks has shifted something in *everyone* to make racial justice a lifetime’s work.

This week I have read three articles that have stayed with me —

I’m also going to start participating in this free course — Modernity + Coloniality — on coloniality and decoloniality.

Many words are walked in the world. Many worlds are made. Many worlds make us. There are words and worlds that are lies and injustices. There are words and worlds that are truthful and true. In the world of the powerful there is room only for the big and their helpers. In the world we want, everybody fits. The world we want is a world in which many worlds fit.” - Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, “The Fourth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle”

What I’ve been doing

  • The usual (many hours a week) of reading, editing and writing assessment papers for our immediate funding response. You can see below that since the 1st April we have had 9122 applications submitted. We now do two panels a week, on a Tuesday and Thursday and that averages out at about 250 assessment papers being produced a week, read, and decisions being made. This week I worked especially hard to get a couple of papers through.
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Our application data, showing a huge spoke when the our government Covid-19 Fund opened.
  • I had 18 hours worth of internal meetings — I am going to start counting this every week. These ranged from my weekly catch ups with those I line manage, to several wider UK Portfolio team meetings, to catch ups with the learning and knowledge teams in all four UK countries, to my fortnightly meeting with Dawn about our Fund-wide civil society strategy. I think people probably don’t realise that whilst I am still trying to stay plugged in to projects and my networks externally, I’m still doing an immense amount of work internally too.
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  • A group of people in my team have started doing an interview series called Pockets of the Future, which is us starting to gather ideas and questions from outside the fund about where civil society is heading, what it will need to support it to not only renew but transform, and what the Funds role in that could be. I’ve done a few myself this week — I especially appreciated speaking to Fadi, CEO of the Muslim Charities Forum.
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  • We are two week’s into the new weekly Show + Tells with the whole UK Portfolio team present. In 45 mins we whizz through slides that show the work 8 different teams are doing. It’s such a helpful way for me to stay connected to what’s happening across the team, but more importantly for each team to stay connected to the other. This kind of format also highlights the importance of delivering things —not being all talk and no output.
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From Dan and Tammar’s session.
  • We went into week 8 of the Scanning and Sense-making Network. The group has grown smaller the last few weeks, with less interviews being done, because so much of the organisation is maxed out with Covid-19 funding response. Next week we’re going to have a think about how we adapt it for a new phase.

Outside of my work at The National Lottery Community Fund I attended an event on Tuesday night with Ai-Jen Poo, Naomi Klein and NY Caring Majority.

An attraction for me of the event was the framing of linking care with climate as this is something I started shaping some ideas around last year. They made a video to introduce the event — “Care Work Is Essential Work. It’s Also Climate Work.”

“We spoke to care workers and advocates about their experiences in a world that was already in crisis. And they shared exciting visions for how care can anchor a new kind of economy.”

  • I Co-facilitated the 5th of our Stewarding Loss circles, this one attended by people who have or are in the process of closing an organisation down.
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What’s been important this week

Just this. This is a time to be paying extra attention to how you’re supporting people.

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  • Also, Graham Leicester asking me the following question, when I described working 18 hour days, that are relentless and often where you feel like nothing is quite good enough. It’s been an important question to reflect on.

“What does progress look like?”

What I’ve learned this week

  • It’s a challenge leading a team at a time of uncertainty. I found this article by Lara Hogan really helpful. She talks about 3 things your team needs you to do these days:
  1. Prioritise one-way communication that communicates out clarity and strategy with some routine cadence. I do a Friday email every week to the team.

The other thing I’ve been reminded of these last few months is that everyone needs different things in a team. Some people have wanted and needed to work a *lot* and that is okay. I generally feel like people who choose to do that often have to adjust their work preferences to suit the person in the team who needs clear boundaries around work and life, or who gets close to burn out. I’m someone that wants to support people to work in the way they choose.

Run UK Portfolio at National Lottery Community Fund, Co-founder of the Point People, Policy Fellow IIPP, Founder Stewarding Loss, International Futures Forum.

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