Over the course of my leadership in action project, I was fortunate enough to work with a truly fantastic charity called Fat Macy’s who aim to provide individuals who’ve experienced homelessness with the opportunity to gain skills in the hospitality sector, providing them with training and specialised 1-2-1 support to aid them in entering the job market and ultimately moving out of temporary and into rental accommodation.
My project mainly involved outreach, grant applications, and economic research. This started with compiling a list of potential clients for Fat Macy’s to provide event catering to, but my tasks slowly progressed to a far more essential part of Fat Macy’s; securing grant funding.
Although this wasn’t the only task I was spearheading, I felt I contributed most in this regard. I was able to apply for and secure a meaningful charity partnership between Fat Macy’s and my University’s ‘Raising and Giving’ charity partnership. Once my application was shortlisted, I engaged heavily in campaigning for the charity to secure the partnership. Thus far Fat Macy’s has received over £30,000 in raised money from the University and will continue to be funded by the University's Raising and Giving union in the years to come. As well as this, Fat Macy's charity has become the first choice caterers for all future LSE RAG events. For a small local charity located in Shoreditch, raising funds like this is essential in covering the charity’s overheads which largely go towards paying full time staff who provide support to those in need. Having worked closely the small team of full time staff and seeing first hand what the donations are funding, I felt truly fulfilled in the knowledge that I helped provide them with a consistent (albeit relatively medium sized) source of funding.
Alongside my work in outreach and grant applications, I was also able to engage in some more academic tasks relating to my University course (Economics and Int. Social and Public policy). I conducted research on the effects of the current housing benefits system and how its structuring inhibits full-time employment and saving for a rent deposit. This was important information to be able to articulate and present as it gave Fat Macy’s a resource to use to explain the current flaws in the benefits system whilst it engages in public discourse and forums to push for a benefits system that better enables the progression from temporary to rental accommodation in a system that inadvertently traps people claiming benefits in temporary accommodation.
Overall I found my leadership-in-action project highly rewarding, it was both academically interesting and personally rewarding. I found the laidlaw workshops taught useful skills for the leadership in action project, at the start I felt there was less of an overall project for me to take part in yet I felt I had the know how to flesh out goals that best suited my knowledge and skills. Through strong communication with the founder we set out the overarching goals which I was happy to work towards.
Though I enjoyed the work I was doing, I felt I learnt most during the staff meetings I took part in. This largely involved speaking about the individuals who were being assisted through the charity and the problems they faced, it brought an element of realism to the statistics I was researching. Having experienced a fairly fortunate and sheltered upbringing, hearing about the struggles and speaking to the individuals the programme was supporting was a truly insightful experience that I value very highly. My understanding surrounding the struggles and extent of homelessness has drastically increased along with the sympathy I have towards those experiencing it.