Edinburgh Cyrenians Weekend: three months on

This week we met up with Phil Reilly from Edinburgh Cyrenians to hear how the charity is getting on… three months after they took part in Impact48. 

Firstly, how did you got involved in Impact48?
I was at the very first Impact48 weekend with Music in Hospitals in April 2013. Barry, Impact48 founder, approached Edinburgh Cyrenians as the next Impact48 charity.

Edinburgh Cyrenians weekend team

What were your expectations; and did the Impact48 team meet them?
After our pitch for the weekend, we hoped that the team would pick up one of our ideas and run with it.  Not only did they choose one; they picked up several of our ideas.

Looking back, what did you enjoy most about the weekend?
Seeing what could be achieved in just 48 hours.  I really enjoyed the whole weekend, but one particular highlight was the final presentation to a panel including Edinburgh Cyrenians’ Interim CEO.  She bought into everything that had been created and suggested – which was exactly the response we were all hoping for.

How does the long-term impact of Impact48 compare to the initial buzz of that final presentation?

Phil Reilly presents the Cyrenians' new infographicWe received very positive reactions from colleagues to the work produced during the weekend.  We’d achieved so much and they could see that instantly.  I had lots of requests for an infographic created during Impact48.  It tells the whole Cyrenians’ story and shows all of our services – which can be tricky to explain!

“We came away with something ‘complete’ that could be presented and shared immediately.”

The finance reporting microsite is being visited and used. Last year, Edinburgh Cyrenians were shortlisted for a Charity Online Financial Reporting Award by ICAEW.  We’re hoping to stand out from the crowd again and the microsite will absolutely help.  It’s changed the way we look at financial data. Our accounts don’t have to be exclusively for funders but can be made accessible and attractive to others too.  We came away from Impact48 with something complete that could be presented and shared immediately.

The “Give in Kind” project proposal has been put on hold for now, following a feasibility study.  The Impact48 developers have kept in touch and are still working on the system with us.  We don’t want to lose the work that has been done and hope we can pick the project back up in the future.

What are the challenges of taking part in Impact48?
It was intensive and tiring, but worth it in the end.  We were prepared – which was important.  An Impact48 weekend is potentially a huge resource so make the most out of it by coming with ideas, staying the whole weekend and be flexible too.

“Impact48 got us thinking, sparked new ideas and gave us the incentive to spend more energy on our website and social media”

Were there any unexpected outcomes?
One unexpected outcome of Impact48 was that it has changed the way Edinburgh Cyrenians think about digital and social media.  We’re focusing more on our website now; keeping it up-to-date, rather than seeing it as something that just sits there.  We’ve identified and are encouraging staff who enjoy tweeting and posting to Facebook.  There’s still work and training to be done, but Impact48 gave us the incentive and ideas needed – we know that social media is not something that’s going to disappear.

Over the Christmas period we held several events for our service users – who can feel particularly isolated at this time of year.  Our over 65s befriending service had a big get-together in Edinburgh.  Music in Hospitals provided us with a band for the event.  We met through Impact48 and hoped to connect again like this in the future.

Finally, what would you say to any individual or charity thinking of getting involved in Impact48?
Do it!

Thanks Phil – chatting to you has us even more excited about future Impact48 weekends!  Stay tuned for the Reader Organisation weekend in Liverpool that kicks off tonight.  Even if you’re not in Liverpool you can still take part.  Follow @RealImpact48 or join us on Facebook for more info.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for future weekends please get in touch with us! Email admin@impact48.org and sign up to our newsletter.

Advertisements

Meet Our Volunteers: Lara Fraser, Online Marketing Executive & Blogger

Lara Fraser, Online Marketing Executive, Social Media & Blogger for Impact48

How did you hear about the weekend?

The first time I heard about Impact48 was when a colleague of mine, Chelsey Fenn, sent an email about the upcoming Impact48 weekend around our office asking if anyone fancied getting involved.

Why do you want to be involved in Impact48?

As soon as I read that Impact48 was looking for someone to volunteer to write articles for their blog I saw it as a great opportunity to do something good. When I did a little more research on Impact48 and Cyrenians I knew it would be a really amazing thing to be a part of. I feel really strongly about the work the Cyrenians do. I read the stories about the people they help, often feeling so alone and in desperation. Knowing that Cyrenians is there for them and on their side fills me with compassion and hope. To be involved with Impact48 is my way of contributing, however small, to the kindness and goodness that Cyrenians spread. 

Describe your company in a nutshell.

A small, entrepreneurial Edinburgh based Online Marketing company with a uniquely fun company culture.

What has your role been over the weekend and what are you hoping to bring to the challenge?

I’ve be blogging, filming and tweeting over the weekend to keep everyone up-to-date with our trials, tribulations and progress. I’ve also been involved in the other projects, contributing ideas and my skills where I can. The weekend is being held in the Attacat office so I’ve also made it my job to make sure the volunteers have been fed, watered and looked after.

What were you expecting?

To meet lots of skilled and generous people with all sorts of expertise and ideas. I anticipated some late nights and determination and look forward to a warm and fuzzy feeling when we look back on what we have achieved.

What do you hope to gain from the weekend?

I hope to gain a sense of achievement within our team but what we really care about is what Cyrenians will gain from the weekend.

What is your favourite home baked treat?

It really depends what phase I am in. This week could be a apple pie phase next week could be a banana loaf phase, who knows! – But with Sarah’s delightful lemon drizzle cake and Karen’s homemade olive bread over the weekend, I’m definitely in a lemon olive drizzle bread phase and I hope it never ends.

With only one hour to go and the judging panel arriving a little later this evening, we can’t wait to see the final result of the Cyrenians Weekend. Stay tuned throughout the homestretch by following us on Twitter @RealImpact48 (use the Twitter hashtag #impact48) or liking our Impact48 page on Facebook.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org and sign up to our newsletter.

Meet Our Volunteers: Computer Scientist Ricardo Honorato

We’re over 40 hours into the Impact48 Weekend in the Attacat office and it’s time to say hello to another hard working volunteer. Ricardo Honorato is a biochemist-come-computer scientist currently studying at the University of Edinburgh. Originally from Chile, he can’t resist raving about Edinburgh as he sits down for a chat. Here’s what he has to say about the Impact48 weekend so far:

Ricardo Honorato, PhD student, University of Edinburgh School of Informatics

Ricardo Honarato

How did you hear about the weekend?

 A tech Meet Up mailing list – for people in the tech industry. I added my name to the list at a previous hackathon.

What attracted you to Impact48?

 I was attracted by the idea of helping a charity. I looked at the Edinburgh Cyrenians’ website and felt the whole idea of the charity was in line with my views and the things I care about.

Describe yourself in three words.

Can I list the three things I care about? Freedom, equity and autonomy.

Describe your PhD in a nutshell.

There is a language for biochemistry that we have – it helps express what happens when things interact in a cell. I’m working to extend this language; to respect thermodynamics (e.g. when you burn something, the reaction releases a lot of energy.)

What else makes you tick?

I like politics. I’m part of the democratic revolution in Chile.

What are you working on today and what are you hoping to bring to the challenge?

We’re working on the Give in Kind website. I have been developing part of this over the past 24 hours. I’m bringing my knowledge of creating programmes to the table.

What do you hope to gain from the weekend?

 A free lunch (!)

What have you enjoyed most so far?

Talking to new people. Everything has been very interesting so far.

Lastly and most importantly – What is your favourite home baked treat?

Pastel de choclo (corn pie for all you non-Spanish speakers.) It’s my favourite dish in the whole world. Cooked in a clay pot, you first add mince, onions, gravy, black olives and raisins. A thick layer of mashed corned is then added on top. You can try the dish in Edinburgh – like my friends’ Facebook page for more info.

It’s great to have you here Ricardo! That free lunch is well and truly deserved. We’re itching to see what you guys have done with the Give in Kind website later on.

Keen to get involved in Impact48?

We look for all sorts of volunteers with all sorts of skill sets, so if you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org.

We are also looking for other kinds of assistance. The amazing people at Innis & Gunn have again donated some delicious beers for our hard working volunteers over this Impact48 weekend. Could you or your business help? Find out more about sponsoring or get in touch with us at admin@impact48.org.

You can also sign up to our newsletter, like our Impact48 page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RealImpact48, use the Twitter hashtag #impact48.

Meet Our Volunteers: Social Enterprise Traveller, Karen Leigh Anderson

With the Impact48 Weekend well underway in the Attacat office, we’d like to introduce you to some of the wonderful people donating their time and expertise to Edinburgh Cyrenians. Karen Leigh Anderson has spent the past 10 years working with social enterprises in the UK and has an impressive track record of supporting over 200 third sector organisations with investment and business development. This afternoon we caught up with Karen to hear her thoughts on how the weekend is unfolding.

Karen Leigh Anderson
@Socentraveller

Karen Anderson

How did you hear about the weekend?

Through Impact48 organiser Barry O’Kane. I was at the first weekend too.

What attracted you to Impact48?

I’m interested in new sustainable ideas around third sector organisations and seeing how you can apply this to more than just coding and design.

Describe yourself in three words.

Disruptive. Focused. Loyal.

Aside from Impact48, describe your work in a nutshell.

Developing new social enterprises and growing social enterprises through all sorts of business models and finding social investment for them.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I have an Etsy shop called MakerDifference. My friend and I both make jewellery. She has been teaching women – specifically widows and orphans – to make jewellery in Uganda and South Africa and we now sell it online.

What are you working on today and what are you hoping to bring to the challenge?

I’m good at finding tools and resources out there that can be used. I started work on the online financing report project today. We’ve identified free infographic tools to better communicate Edinburgh Cyrenians’ accounts. Not everybody wants to download a heavy PDF of figures, but the information itself is really interesting.

What do you hope to gain from the weekend?

To learn about a new idea and gain insight into how Impact48 could be rolled out to more people. I’m always interested in how things work.

What have you enjoyed most so far?

The variety and different types of people here.

Lastly and most importantly – What is your favourite home baked treat?

My favourite has to be tipsy tart – it’s full of rum (and dates.)

Delighted to have you back for the second Impact48 Weekend Karen! We’re excited to see the progress everyone has made by the end of day one.

Keen to get involved in Impact48?

We look for all sorts of volunteers with all sorts of skill sets, so if you would like to find out more or volunteer for our next weekend please get in touch with us! Email at admin@impact48.org.

We are also looking for other kinds of assistance. The amazing people at Innis & Gunn have again donated some delicious beers for our hard working volunteers over this Impact48 weekend. Could you or your business help? Find out more about sponsoring or get in touch with us at admin@impact48.org.

You can also sign up to our newsletter, like our Impact48 page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RealImpact48, use the Twitter hashtag #impact48.