Hello everyone and thank you for allowing me to be part of this group. I am new here today.
I have over thirty years experience in clerical, secretarial and administration roles including working for surveyors and consulting engineers, banks, a financial adviser, an IT training company and BT. Between 2002 and 2018 I worked in local government, mostly in a web editorial role, maintaining websites using Immediacy and Contensis Content Management System (CMS) software, writing, editing, proof reading and approving web pages prior to publication, advising on web page creation and good practice in web design, brand maintenance and search engine optimisation and continuously monitoring the website in terms of usability, accessibility and compliance with government legislation.
In 2001 I founded The Information Point for Centronuclear and Myotubular Myopathy and in 2011 The Big Sunflower Project, two voluntary non-profit organisations to raise awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy. I created and maintained the websites, handled the communications, marketing and social media for both; produced an online newsletter twice a year; obtained grants, funding, sponsorship, donations and distributed many sunflower seeds.
Between 2018 and 2020 I worked in the training and development department of the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC), a charity which supports people with neuromuscular conditions, including me and my dad. During this time I helped deliver nine workshops including cooking and baking, fine art, pebble painting, card making, Christmas crafts, seed and bulb planting, to over 70 people, with all the workshops being delivered by the NMC community for the NMC community.
I was very happy on this role but in March 2020 I was furloughed and in September 2020 the charity announced redundancies. However, staff were also given the opportunity to take a sabbatical (although with no guarantee of a return to the position they had held or a return to the organisation at all). I chose to take a sabbatical and quickly decided to complete the Honours year of my degree, as not having done so had always felt a bit like unfinished business. I also decided to see if I could get any work as a VA. Falling on my feet, I managed to get some work from an ex-manager who now had her own marketing business which I did throughout my studies and I am currently working fifteen hours a month for a business that organises home stay visits for cultural exchange students and is trying to get going again in 2022.
Although I have been working as a VA for a while, I feel because I got work immediately I haven’t put basic structures in place which is something I am now trying to do by going through the SVA standards, along with getting more work now that my studies are complete.