Helping our team to shine

April 12, 2021

Over the past two years, The Rank Foundation have supported what we do at YDMT, developing our capacity as an organisation and helping us to support the people, landscape and wildlife of the Yorkshire Dales through the Covid pandemic.

Most recently, they provided funding and support through their Time to Shine programme which will enable Sophie Balderson, our Projects and IT administrator, to develop in her role.

Here she tells us about her first year at the Trust and plans for the future.

My role involves supporting the YDMT staff with IT needs and queries and ensuring everyone has the equipment they need to work effectively. I also process grant claims, invoices and purchase orders for projects.

Over this last year I have also liaised with tutors to help produce the online videos as part of Stories in Stone, which are available to watch on the YDMT YouTube channel.

I started at the Trust in March 2020, two weeks before we went into a national lockdown. This was a very strange time – I’d met some of my colleagues in person in the office and then was meeting new ones via zoom!

Luckily, in my role, I am in regular contact with everyone across the Trust, which definitely made settling in easier, especially as everybody was so friendly and welcoming.

What attracted me to join YDMT was the work they do “to help, protect and enhance the People, Landscape and Wildlife of the Dales”. Having been born and brought up in the Dales, I fully appreciate how special it is, so I feel very grateful to be able to work in an organisation that is passionate about helping to protect this landscape and making sure others can enjoy it as much as I have.

Over the last 12 months, my role here has definitely adapted due to the pandemic and factors that came with that, such as furlough. At the start, my role was predominantly focussed on helping the team get set up at home so we were all able to communicate effectively; and everyone was able to work in their new home office space as best as they could.

This then changed with the government guidelines, as more projects were able to go ahead in line with the restrictions in place at the time. My time was then split more evenly with processing documentation for the ‘Stories in Stone’ project, which ended in March 2021.

This has been my first role in the voluntary and community sector, so I wasn’t sure what to expect or how it might differ from my previous roles. Now, I would definitely recommend working for a charity to anybody! I love that staff meetings are filled with news about the incredible work everyone at the Trust is doing and knowing that what you’re doing everyday contributes to making things happen.

What I have loved learning about is how ideas have then created some amazing projects, and then seeing their impact and outcomes. It just makes you feel good getting stuck into a piece of work that you know is going to create a positive outcome for others. I find it really motivating, and time flies by.

Some challenges I have faced so far at YDMT, have been the shift to home working and the new systems required to enable this. From an IT perspective, needing to understand everyone’s individual home set ups, and working as quickly as possible to make sure that any needs were met to try to make the transition as smooth as possible, was challenging. We also rolled out the use of Microsoft Teams and a new app, to ensure we could all keep in touch easily. These were brand new to me as well as everyone else!

The biggest highlight for me so far, was being nominated for the Time to Shine programme through the Rank Foundation. Given that I’ve only been at the Trust for a short period of time, I’m so proud and happy that they feel I’m up to the challenge. I’m really excited to see what we will be able to achieve across the Trust during the programme.

Thanks to The Rank Foundation’s Time to Shine programme, I have been able to step in to the IT and Communications Officer role. Over the next 12 months, I will be focussing on developing an efficient data management system, along with improving YDMT’s internal communication, along with supporting the roll out of a new evaluation and monitoring tool.

The programme also includes a variety of leadership and personal development training sessions. I think the next 12 months will help me to be more confident in my abilities, allow me to be creative and give me the chance to grow professionally and personally.

I would like to give a huge thanks to The Rank Foundation for accepting me onto this programme and for the support that they have provided me so far. I would also like to thank everyone at YDMT for giving me this opportunity and I hope to do you all proud.