Name: Sam Cook
From: Cambridge, UK
University attended: University of Sheffield
Degree: BA Geography
Position: Marketing and Development Assistant
How long have you worked for the Cathedral Archer Project? I started in August 2013.
Why did you want to work for the Cathedral Archer Project? Sheffield is lucky to have a lot of local organisations working to make people’s lives better. This has always impressed me and I wanted to get involved in the fantastic “third/voluntary” sector. I also love how willing local people are to help out these organisations, to “give something back”. As a student, I heard a lot of very good things about the Archer Project’s work with homeless adults in the city. So I jumped straight on the opportunity to fundraise for this amazing charity.
What do you think are the benefits of working in a small business? You get to see what you are working towards. You are often given the freedom to work on your own initiative. Small staff teams mean that your role may include a variety of responsibilities. And you may have to find ways of helping each other out when specific workloads get a bit much or if certain people are away. This brings a bit of variety to your work and I like that.
What do you think you have added to the business? The size of our Fundraising team has doubled! So I have helped with diversifying our fundraising strategy and exploring new ways of doing things. I have enabled us to dedicate more time to events and corporate fundraising. I have also focused more on our social media and general communications - this is needed to raise awareness of our work and the effectiveness of our fundraising. A lot of the admin work falls on my lap, allowing Tracy (my manager) more time to focus on the really important funding applications and the strategy side of our work.
What was the biggest surprise? That’s a difficult question. I’m probably most surprised by the amount of independence I’ve been given. In my opinion, fundraising is all about working smart so I’m glad I’ve been given the chance to make a few mistakes and discover what works best for me and the organisation. At the same time, I’m given as much support as I need and I feel comfortable asking for help!!
What is the most exciting thing you have done since working for the Cathedral Archer Project? I took part in and helped to run our sponsored Sleep Out. Just to make clear, I don’t find the idea of sleeping rough “exciting” or in anyway desirable. The event provides those taking part with an experience a long way from true homelessness. For starters, we sleep outside in a large group with access to toilets, food etc in mild enough temperatures – people also have the peace of mind that they will go back to their warm, safe beds the next night. Not to mention the fact that homelessness covers a wide spectrum of circumstances and sleeping rough is simply the most visible, shocking & best represented in the media.
However, the event is exciting for those who would not normally consider what it is like to live without the taken-for-granted luxuries of day to day life. We hope it gives participants a snap-shot into homelessness and an eye-opening and memorable experience. For us, the Sleep Out is as much about challenging perceptions and raising awareness of the issues as raising money for our work. For anyone reading this who is interested, we hold the events in March and September – please get in touch to get involved, all welcome.
Based on your RISE experience, are you optimistic about your future career prospects? Yes, I’m optimistic – I’ll expand. To be honest, I don’t know what the future holds but I am starting to learn more about what I enjoy and what I am good at. So that’s bound to be good for future prospects, right? For now, it’s exciting to be part of a charity that is always looking to do the best for those it is helping. At the Archer Project, everyone is treated as an individual and I have found we’re never afraid to try something new as long as it means best practice and best results.