My name’s Ant. This is my first blog so here’s a bit of info about my job and me!

I’ve worked in the organisation for 13 years. Most of that has been as a Project Worker in the Young Carer Service, where I spent a lot of time developing service user participation and work with young adult carers. I also worked for a short time as the Service Lead before becoming Business Development Manager for the organisation.

My job is to bring money and resources into the organisation, to put it simply. This could be through grants, contracts, fundraising, donations or new partnerships. I spend most of my time in a nice quiet office, my head buried in a funding bid while YouTube kicks out a random playlist. Today it's Black Sabbath. Tomorrow it could be a bit of jungle if there's no one around to annoy. Thanks to a colleague, it always comes back round to Psychedelic Furs and Flock of Seagulls, though. If I'm not doing that, I'm either working with my laptop on a bus somewhere or with the Operations Manager and the Young Carer Service Lead developing project ideas that I can seek funding for. As a member of the Senior Management Team I also play a key role in setting the vision and objectives of the organisation.  With the launch of our new website, we have an opportunity to do a lot more fundraising and keeping on top of this is going to be another part of my job. I’m looking forward to seeing how better technology will help us to tell carers’ stories and attract new supporters but managing a website is pretty daunting. Thankfully we have our volunteer, Daniel, who's been giving me some excellent support.

One of the hardest parts of my job is finding ways to demonstrate the value of our work. My colleagues strive to provide the best services that they can but it can be difficult to explain the difference that they make in a way that makes us stand out to funders and potential supporters. On top of this is the challenge of maintaining motivation and positivity. Competition for funding has become much greater in recent years and success is now harder to achieve, so I have to roll with the punches when a grant application has been unsuccessful and focus on doing the best job I can on the next one.

My professional goal is to ensure that the services we provide actually make a difference to carers’ lives, whether that’s through our team of Carer Support Workers giving adult carers a break, or the support and social opportunities that the Young Carer Service provides to children and young people. I feel quite fortunate in that there are a lot of things that give me job satisfaction. I work with an amazing staff team, many of them carers, who have years of expertise and I enjoy collaborating with them and our partners to plan a new project, before finally clicking ‘submit’ when I’ve finished the grant application. I also take a simple pleasure from creating a budget spread sheet that actually works (maybe a bit weird). Over the last year, I’ve worked with an excellent bunch of parents, supporters and service users who volunteer their time as a fundraising group. With their help we’ll have raised nearly £2000 by Christmas, which is pretty amazing for our first year. I’m looking forward to seeing how this group develops and working with them on new fundraising ideas.

Having worked in the Young Carer Service for so long, my greatest satisfaction still comes from hearing about children and young people growing and succeeding. All of our young carers are truly amazing and inspiring. I’ve been very lucky to work with some fantastic groups that have won awards, created projects of their own or developed skills and qualities that they never realised they could possess. This year, three of our young carers were recognised at The Key Awards. Seeing them succeed still gives me a buzz.