When I left my previous job in 2015 to take up the role of Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Time to Shine one friend said to me “you’ll be bored after six months”.
I’ve often pondered on this piece of ‘advice’ as I’ve enjoyed (almost!) every minute as part of the programme team. Why is this? Would I have been bored working for a different organisation, a different programme, or if Time to Shine had been paid for by a different kind of funder or governed in a different way?
I got to thinking about what I liked about the way Time to Shine works and why I’m still happy in my job after six years. The work is varied and interesting, yes, and the people I work with are inspiring and enthusiastic, but I’m lucky to have had these things for most of my working life.
So what’s the secret ingredient? This may be different for everyone.
For me, I think it’s because it feels like we’re all in it together and we’re part of a community. Delivery partners, programme team, volunteers, core partnership board, trustees, funders, strategic partners: even though we all have different job descriptions we’re all playing our own small part to achieve something huge. Within the programme younger and older people work together and we can see that collectively, we’re making a difference.
Time to Shine isn’t a small programme. We commissioned 105 projects from 72 different organisations over six years, reaching over 20,000 people. There was always the possibility that Time to Shine could just become an unwieldy collection of disparate projects, but this didn’t happen. Why?
It’s this sense of community and collective effort that is the subject of a new Time to Shine learning report:
The report is divided into sections to highlight some of the ingredients which helped to create a cohesive programme. It starts by exploring the firm foundations created during the planning stages, during which 656 people shared their views to help shape the programme. Next, it shows how Time to Shine fostered the spirit of collaboration amongst the commissioned projects, identifies some of the challenges and outlines the practical actions which helped to develop a sense of community. It ends with a case study and a summary of the perceived outcomes for delivery partners, the Time to Shine programme team and the third sector in Leeds. Delivery partners are quoted throughout.
Mick Ward (former Deputy Director of Adults and Health at Leeds City Council) was one of the people who helped write Leeds Older People’s Forum’s funding bid, for Time to Shine, to the National Lottery Community Fund, way back in the mists of time. Mick said in an interview for September’s Shine magazine:
“Older people can identify what needs to change to make things better – and do it themselves. When it became clear that there was a big pot of money available it seemed clear that Leeds would be the best place to host it. It would be taken seriously in Leeds, it wouldn’t just be a stand-alone project – it would influence other things. My contribution, as well as helping to write the original Time to Shine bid, was to make sure that happened. Time to Shine went way beyond anything I’d ever conceived of!”
When Time to Shine funding ends in March 2022 and it’s time for us all to leave our respective teams, I know I’ll agree with Mick: that Time to Shine went way beyond anything I imagined!
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Time to Shine