September 21, 2021

Storytelling at the heart of the Scottish Borders

The Great Tapestry of Scotland tells the epic story of Scotland through 160 exquisite panels all hand stitched by 1,000 volunteers. I really enjoyed working with this project earlier this […]
August 21, 2021

Highlights from the Restoring Ratty evaluation

The Restoring Ratty project, a five year partnership effort to reintroduce water voles to the Kielder landscape, has come to an end. Supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project […]
August 19, 2021

World Photography Day

Today is World Photography Day 2021. I’m no professional but I do enjoy having a play with my camera now and again. Here’s a few photos from projects I have […]
May 13, 2021

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words

In 2020, I started an incredible project working with The Great Tapestry of Scotland. Here is an epic story told without words: 160 stitched panels, designed by artist Andrew Crummy […]
March 19, 2021

Lost time

For almost a year the car has been sat on the drive, pretty much permanently. Driving has been limited to weekly supermarket trips and not much else during lockdown. Outside […]
January 11, 2021

2021: let’s do this!

One week into 2021 and its not quite going the way I had hoped/planned: back in lockdown, teenager doing his school work from home and no sign of a return […]
December 13, 2020

Standing Against Racism

I’ve signed the pledge to stand against racism along with other cultural organisations and individuals in the north east. Over the next few weeks I will pull together an action […]
November 11, 2020

Proud to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising is now the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. This means I have new letters after my name as a Member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (MCIOF). […]
October 18, 2020

When is a database not a database?

…when it is a spreadsheet! This question has gained some attention in recent weeks and it occurred to me that I often see clients who are confused about the difference […]
October 12, 2020

Evaluating Revitalising Redesdale

It has been great working with the Revitalising Redesdale team to pull together an interim report for their evaluation. Although lockdown has made things challenging in lots of ways, it […]
October 3, 2020

Making the best of lockdown

I was really pleased to read about how the Natural Neighbours project is adapting to lockdown today. I was privileged work with Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust to develop this […]
September 13, 2020

Coast Care volunteers making a difference

This blog post from the Coast Care team is really important for project evaluation – it celebrates the impact/outcomes of the project as well as the outputs. I have written […]
September 7, 2020

Hidden Gem in Bamburgh

I’m delighted that the Accessing Aidan project has been recognised in the UK Heritage Awards 2020. Winner of the Hidden Gem category, the project has opened up the 12th century […]
July 31, 2020

Bailiffgate Collaboration

I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery, Alnwick to develop a new Volunteer Engagement and Retention strategy. I’ve worked with Bailiffgate since 2012 and I’m really looking forward […]
May 21, 2020

Lockdown Life

Working from home is not new to me but never meeting clients (or anyone) face to face is. Having company at home every day is also not what I’m used […]
March 20, 2020

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Some of the projects I work with have been looking at how they can support mental health by contributing to the Five Ways to Wellbeing. In these new days of […]
November 22, 2019

Bringing the Bamburgh Bones to life

It was so lovely to attend the opening and blessing of the Accessing Aidan project last night. It has been a pleasure to work with the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, […]
October 21, 2019

NC AONB Forum Presentation

“It’s not about the outputs – the raw numbers, but the outcomes and impact of a project that make it successful or not.“ Last week I was invited to speak […]
September 14, 2019

Restoring Ratty Wins!

I was delighted to attend the Love Northumberland 2019 awards last week with the Restoring Ratty team. Even more delighted that they were awarded the best ‘Coast and Countryside Project’. […]
June 28, 2019

Restoring Ratty

I was privileged to join the Restoring Ratty team and Trinity Primary School this morning to send some water voles onto the next stage of their journey in Kielder Water […]
January 28, 2019

Success for Accessing Aidan

It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in the development of the Accessing Aidan project, their Heritage Lottery Fund funding is so well deserved. I can’t wait to see […]
October 18, 2018

Bailiffgate’s OOT Museum

Funding has been announced for Bailiffgate’s Out of Town Museum! So pleased to have had a role in bringing this project to life – the OOT Museum is going to […]
October 11, 2018

Restoring Ratty Conference

I’ve spent the day in Hexham at the Restoring Ratty conference. What an amazing and inspirational bunch of people delivering real conservation impact through water vole reintroduction. I’m evaluating the […]
August 16, 2018

Nature Recovering at Kielder

Awesome! I’ve been working with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Forestry Commission and others since 2012 on projects which aim to improve diversity, protect iconic species and bring wildlife back to Kielder. […]
June 5, 2018

Awards for Hauxley

The amazing Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre has won a RIBA North East Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects. The eco-friendly building, designed by Brightblue Studio, was among five […]
July 18, 2017

Exploring Heritage in Benwell

Some photos from this morning: exploring the heritage of Benwell in Newcastle. This is part of a community partnership project I am supporting to improve Hodgkin Park, working with HealthWORKS, […]
July 14, 2017

Evaluating Evaluation

Interesting research from Heritage Lottery Fund about what makes a good evaluation report. “Just over a third, 37%, of reports were graded as good or excellent, while 64% where judged […]
June 20, 2017

Natural Neighbours

The Natural Neighbours project will put greenspace back at the heart of communities. This is a brilliant project that I worked on last year with Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust. […]
June 9, 2017

Waking up after the #GE2017

Last year, following the EU referendum, I wrote about how a yes/no referendum is not an effective form of consultation (read my post here). This morning, I am pondering whether […]
May 18, 2017

£6 million raised for good causes

#fundraisingsuccess! I’ve written before about how the amount of money raised is not the only measure of success in fundraising and how the small grants are as important (and sometimes […]
March 8, 2017

Reasons to Walk

I’m really enjoying the evaluation of the Peregrini Landscape Partnership project. It is early days but I am trying to embed a ‘walking’ approach to this – making it a […]
October 1, 2016

To Walk to School or Not

(and other questions about children’s freedom) I saw an interesting article from The Wild Network about how much freedom children should have. As a mum of an increasingly independent 9 […]
September 27, 2016

Celebrating Rag Rugging

I have to admit, the first time I went to a rag rugging exhibition at Bailiffgate Museum I did not have high expectations. How good could a few rugs be? […]
September 21, 2016

Measuring Success

I have been getting stuck into a couple of evaluation projects over the last couple of weeks. I find evaluation fascinating. It raises so many questions and really makes me […]
September 12, 2016

Pulling Out All the Stops

This weekend Fred and I went to visit a project which I worked on last year. The Holy Trinity Church Organ Restoration Project has restored the pipe organ, originally built […]
September 9, 2016

Living the Life I Write About

After an amazing 16 day family holiday in Cornwall we’re back into the school routine and I’m easing myself back into work gently… Who am I kidding? I’m like a […]
August 18, 2016

Ratty Returns to Kielder

I missed this when it was announced in the press – fantastic news that water voles will be coming back to Kielder in the next few years following a successful […]
August 14, 2016

Child’s Play

“The more risks you allow your children to make, the better they learn to look after themselves,” ​Roald Dhal Some lovely quotes here about the importance of children’s play (stolen […]
August 3, 2016

By the Power of Volunteers

Two years ago I was writing a Heritage Lottery Fund application for Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Dynamic Druridge project. Now we have this… …the new Wildlife Discovery Centre at Hauxley Nature […]
August 3, 2016

Playing Wild

Yesterday, National Play Day 2016, I came across a blog from The Wild Network and it really got me thinking and reflecting on my own experiences. What is really behind […]
August 3, 2016

Turning Clients Away

#5yearsfreelance Eek! I have just been asked to tender for quite a large evaluation contract. It is a good opportunity and an interesting project to be involved in. But, I […]
July 19, 2016

Lessons From the #EUref?

I haven’t posted anything about the EU referendum on this blog, although I have made no secret about which way I voted on my personal facebook and twitter pages. The […]
June 15, 2016

Going Wild for 30 Days

June is proving a very busy month, both family and work-wise, and fitting something wild into our day is harder than I remember it last year. Nevertheless the Williams family […]
June 8, 2016

Am I Underselling Myself?

Twice recently, I have been made aware that my day rate is significantly less than some other consultants doing a similar role. This has made me question what is the […]
June 2, 2016

Urban Heritage on the Tyne

I spent an afternoon in Newcastle with my son today. As well as searching for new school shoes and a new rucksack to replace the one which fell apart in […]
June 1, 2016

Heritage Upon Tyne

A couple of weeks ago I was invited on a heritage walk around Hexham – exploring the River Tyne and its tributaries. As well as the obvious wildlife and nature, […]
May 31, 2016

Looking Forward to #30dayswild

The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild campaign starts tomorrow. This is something that I and my family really enjoyed last year so, when Northumberland Wildlife Trust asked me whether we […]
May 29, 2016

Noticing Nature

I love the concept of ‘noticing nature’ – finding nature in our everyday lives and noticing, valuing and celebrating this. Noticing nature is good for me, it makes me smile […]
May 18, 2016

Cause for Celebration

#5yearsfreelance I’m feeling the pressure of impending deadlines this week and at times like this I find it hard to keep up with my Twitter feed, blog, Facebook, Instagram etc […]
May 13, 2016

Ready, Steady, Bake

Innovation is all very well but sometimes you can’t beat the tried and tested and, when it comes to community fundraising, you can’t beat a cake sale can you? It’s […]
April 13, 2016

Landscape as Inspiration

On Monday I stopped off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a place I have visited several times before but not for a few years. Where better to get inspired about […]
April 6, 2016

Juggling work and play

School holidays are always a reminder that I am a working mum (and I try to be a mum first and working second). One of the things I love about […]
March 17, 2016

Blue Skies, Blossom, & Bees

After what seems like forever (but has actually been less than a week), of dark, cold, rainy days, this weekend has brought spring. Just a few minutes in the garden […]
March 16, 2016

New Look Website

I am tremendously excited to launch my new look website. If you are reading this you will already have discovered it – please have a look around. There are still […]
March 14, 2016

Outstanding and Beautiful

#5yearsfreelance I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to help them develop a full application to the Heritage Lottery Fund […]
March 9, 2016

Measuring Fundraising Success

It has been a busy year so far and, already, I have submitted funding applications totaling around £2 million. This seems a good time to reflect on whether these will […]
February 26, 2016

Dynamic Druridge

The thrill of seeing projects come to life #5yearsfreelance Developing the Dynamic Druridge project with Northumberland Wildlife Trust is one of the highlights of my freelance career. It was a […]
February 5, 2016

Meeting Funding Deadlines

Three top tips for meeting a funding deadline. It’s that time again when a funding deadline date is approaching fast and as I and the team I am working with […]
January 19, 2016

Why should we protect the LCF?

The Government is proposing changes to legislation that will affect the way the Landfill Communities Fund works. As The Wildlife Trusts explain here, what sounds like a good idea on […]
January 13, 2016

Five Values that Define My Work

5yearsfreelance This year I am celebrating five years of working for myself. In that time I have supported fourteen charitable and community organisations to raise more than £3 million. Grants […]
January 2, 2016

Looking Back on 2015

I am always surprised by the New Year – time passes so quickly and it is hard to believe that one year has ended when it seems like only a […]
December 2, 2015

Partnership Project Challenges

I am working on a couple of big partnership projects at the moment, both with their own challenges, and so I have been pondering the pros and cons of partnership […]
October 9, 2015

New English IMD Published

Lots of funders ask you to identify a need for your project and, often, this is linked to local deprivation. We all know that deprived communities have multiple needs – […]
September 18, 2015

Saving Iconic Views

I spent an amazing day on Tuesday exploring the Lower Derwent Valley in Derbyshire with one of the DerwentWISE project leaders. DerwentWISE is a Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnerships Programme […]
September 12, 2015

Great News for Local Heritage

I got some fantastic news from the Heritage Lottery Fund yesterday. I can’t say any more at this stage (the grants have not been publicly announced yet) but what I […]
September 10, 2015

New Term, New Challenges

I think in many ways we can be sure that summer is over. Outside it feels very autumnal. The mornings are cold, not quite frosty but there is a definite […]
August 11, 2015

Improving the Workplace

I love the tips in this Guardian article about how voluntary sector organisations can improve the workplace without busting the all-important annual budget. Charities can get a lot of criticism […]
August 6, 2015

Blog Relaunch

Four years ago, when I first started working freelance I set up a blog on my website. My intention was that I would use this to update the world about […]
August 6, 2015

Ready, Steady, Bake

With a new series of Bake Off kicking off last night, it feels like an appropriate time to share this great infographic which I came across recently. I see so […]