What a year!! – My reflections on 2020 at Motherwell Cheshire – Kate Blakemore

I can’t actually believe that this week I have been working on Women’s Day planning 2021. It literally seems like yesterday we had just finished celebrating Women’s Day 2020. 

I am thankful that 2 out of 3 Women’s Days that we planned took place, so a great memory before the country went into lock down. 

We had big plans to launch our services in Ellesmere Port and we were going to kick it off with our first Women’s Day in Ellesmere Port, sadly, this never happened but we are certain this will happen again!

2020 was 5 years since Motherwell Cheshire was founded and launched on International Women’s Day. In hindsight I wish I had celebrated it more at 2020 Women’s Days, but I wasn’t to know what was next to face. 

I had so many plans to celebrate our 5 years, along with my 40th Birthday and didn’t get to celebrate either…something I mention a lot!

Therefore, this year I will be celebrating our 6 YearAnniversary. I am in the middle of writing a 5 Year impact report that has taken me that long it is now 6 years! I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, so I am now glad that I am reflecting on the last 6 years as opposed to 5 years. 

The last 12 months have been a turning point for the Motherwell Charity. When we initially went into lockdown and all our fundraising events were cancelled, I must admit I panicked, it was definitely a case of sink or swim and I am pleased to say, we swam well!

Most of the Motherwell team are mums and so, the lockdown put added pressure on us but, the team worked through it and I can honestly say, I couldn’t be prouder. Every volunteer gave additional hours and helped on our mission to support other women and girls. 

The trustees and I met regularly and they were such a wonderful support for me. A real team effort. 

We had new members of the team who joined us andthey have become absolute key members of the team, I feel extremely blessed. 

As many of you will know community is my passion. I love it when a community comes together. Last year we witnessed that at its best, we worked in partnership with so many fab food banks and community groups who do amazing work locally and it was great to find out more about them and how they were able to support the women we support. 

A highlight for me was the setup of our community share hub, initially set up to take over the Crewe and Nantwich Uniform Exchange, but now offering fancy dress, school uniform, coats and hopefully much more as the scheme develops. Cheshire East, as usual, were not that helpful in finding us space so, yet again, the amazing local charities supported us. Thanks to St Pauls, Crewe YMCA, Pass it on Baby Bank and Winsford Community Grocery. 

I am extremely proud to work in the towns of Crewe and Winsford, their community spirit never fails to amaze me, always there to support others. 

Our funders were extremely accommodating. Understanding our challenges within charities, helping with both funding and also allowing to change projects to reflect the new needs facing society. A big thank you to BBC Children in Need, Steve Morgan Foundation, Cheshire Community Foundation & Peoples Health Lottery for all your support. 

My personal highlight was my Women’s and Girls Conference and working alongside some amazing academics. Also having the opportunity to host placement for some brilliant students. 

Please visit my own personal blog which reflects on Charity Life

https://kateblakemore.com/charity-life

For me, although 2020 was full on, in one way it enabled me to reflect and plan ahead and this has helped us tocome into 2021 focussed and with a clear mission:

To Encourage, Inspire and Empower all the women and girls that we support – with the desired impact of:

Reducing Equalities 

Reducing anxieties

Reducing Loneliness

As we go into 2021 we have some work to do to keep the funding coming in – a challenge for any charity. However, we have some really exciting opportunities that I am hoping to share with you all soon. 

I know 2021 will bring many challenges for many families and individuals and I hope Motherwell Cheshire can help support many of you. 

I am truly grateful to everyone who supports us and I feel privileged every single day. Many say I created a monster – but a lovely monster, I hope!