A Week in the Life

What’s it like running a small social enterprise? Well I’ll tell you.

Monday

Arrive to a cold office 9.00 coffee in hand. No one’s in till 1 so it’s a chance to try and get payroll sorted and wade through envelops full of project expenses. Chase invoices and the Hackney Young Photographer’s fund to see when the money will arrive. Gain new found respect for my old company IPC Media’s accounts and HR departments.

Kayla arrives making loads of noise followed by Asher. Set Kayla to finish off monitoring and evaluation for Hackney Hounds ( the short film we made with unemployed young people over the summer ), then have editorial meeting for YH World.co.uk the youth website we run. Site stats still steadily growing.

Printer doesn’t work. All three of us try all the tricks we’ve learnt but to no avail. RIP. Monitoring and evaluation STILL not completed.

Leave office 6.30 in the dark, don’t know where the day went.

Tuesday

Got to book some meetings in so spend 3 hours on the phone. 3 young journalists are in and I’ve got to put my gloved fingers in my ears at one stage due to decibel level. We have a features meeting and I try to talk them into writing the copy for our upcoming page in local rag Hackney Today. I have a partial agreement.

Think about money. Panic.

Think about tax. panic. Have cup of strong tea. Man up.

Seeing the Barbican this afternoon to do a de brief for Cold Creatives project. We recruited 5 creative young people who hadn’t heard of the Barbican and paid them to blog about their first time experience. 4 of the creatives are supposed to meet me at the entrance on Silk street. Ophelia turns up with 2 more apologizing by text and one with their phone straight to answer machine. I apologise to the marketing manager I have spend 6 months developing a relationship with. Chinwe turns up 20 minutes late and I am so glad to see her I actually kiss her on the lips. Meeting goes well the girls give some really valid feedback.

Evening – got 3 emails to reply to from young people interested in writing for YH. Really exciting to see people are starting to hear about us organically. Planning the next round of free writing for the web training and dreaming of YH journalists running all over London.

Email press releases over to one of our reliable journalist who writes up the bulk of our news stories and finish messing around with facebook and tweet deck at about 12

Wednesday

The guys from our politics and youth engagement project Evolution NOW are in so after a quiet start trying to book in some meetings three 20 year olds guys explode into the office laughing and pushing each other. Ismael and Nathaniel are identical twins and I still find it hard to tell who’s who but we have a good meeting about where the project is going and later I take Lem the project leader out for a coffee and some mentoring. it’s his first leadership roll.

Jess and Grant are in from Poached Creative – the first proper adult company I’ve had all week.  Grant has an amazing blog about his experiences of homelessness and we have an interesting discussion about the new government policy on Social Housing.  Catch up with Jess over lunch, let her know about the printer and we share a moments silence, both wondering the same thing… who can we talk into helping us fix it for free?

Run out of the office at 4.30 to go to meeting at Oval Theatre. They’ve got an ambitious new website project and a 2 week youth takeover called 33% planned for January. Really interesting project and they have a great youth leader burning with passion and ideas. Feel really inspired

Meet Sonia for a coffee, She wasn’t getting on with college so dropped out and is now keen to come and write for us. She writes well and excited to have a new journo on board.

Lem texts me to say thanks for our talk. He’d stormed out of a meeting 2 weeks ago and refused to answer my texts for a while so to know we’d found the way to work together well means the world to me.

Thursday

Working with a local youth centre to offer volunteering for reparation ( seems to be a new word for community service ) . Meet Jenkins and his caseworker to chat about the skills he can offer. He’s keen on photography so seems like a good fit. Have to negotiate which local events he can report on for us as he has issues with various postcodes in the borough.

Chase up on some invoicing and leads. Hoping to get a big contract to run creative workshops for hard to reach young people in Greenwich. Leave a message but looks like I’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Asher complains that the office is cold and asks if he can buy some stationary. I say no and suggest that being cold is good for him. Immediately feel slightly ashamed about not having any stationary or a better insulated office and make everyone a tea.

Meet Hackney Young Photographers outside the town hall this evening. Get there at 6 as agreed and they start straggling in from quarter past. I phone one to find out where she is – she’s just over at the library, promising to be there in a  ‘hot second’ .That appears to translate to 12 minutes ( I was timing )

We go to Nando’s and talk about the exciting bits of the project, like working with a professional fashion photographer. This is the 4th time this week I’ve had chicken. Think about the lifestyle change that’s taken place on the tube home – It used to be sushi and Sauvignon Blanc and now it’s chicken and fizzy pop but I couldn’t be happier.

Find out Asher has got a proper job working for Youth Music. Really happy for him and sad to lose him at the same time.

Friday

8.30 meeting for coffee with Upstreet they run a youth dance event called Move it. Looks like a really good opportunity for our dance editor to get some great content, a placement and fingers crossed some  work.

Go to The Tate Britain with Chris our old editor. He’s a recovering alcoholic who’s decided after been sober for 2 years to put himself through the 12 steps so he’s flat out doing 90 meetings in 90 days. Really miss him in the office and we’ve taken to meeting up to look at art. He reminds me that when we started working together we were in a room with 1 desk and no wi fi. Apparently the first thing I asked him was if he had his own computer.

Meet up with a friend from media land for lunch. She’s really supportive and offers to talk her husband into helping me with my tax after light whinging. Lunch is on expenses ( the first lunch this week that isn’t soup at my desk ) and she’s stolen me stationary. I feel a rush of love for her and 2 seconds of  nostalgia for long lunches

Find out we’ve got a placement for Agneiszka at an advertising agency. She did our advertising training course earlier this year and came up the comms for Hackney Hounds.

Page in Hackney Today goes off later than it should of done as one of the youth organisations who were supplying images has let us down. 3 out of the 4 articles were written by young journalist but I have to write the 4th. Hard to sound young when you’re 35, it’s 8.30pm and you’ve had 2 glasses of wine but hopefully I manage it.

Finish off emails, update e newsletter database as haven’t done it in ages.

Sunday

Meet up with Allie from my steering group in the afternoon to build a NING site ( a bespoke  social network ) for the young creatives. We’ll be able to help more young people talk to each other and find an organised way of finding people relevant placements. Allie interned for us last year when she was doing an MA in publishing and has been amazing support and inspiration. She’s one of the many people who have helped me hold the website and business together. Feel really lucky to have amazing friends and trip off home feeling really excited about this new venture.

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  • Contacts

    Lucy Ferguson : 07968532923 : lucy@mediorite.co.uk : Unit 21, Celia Fiennes House, 8 - 20 Well Street, Hackney, London, E9 7PX
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