Being Chairman of Foundation Derbyshire is a great privilege, and I often feel fortunate to be in the role. It goes without saying that as Chairman I meet fascinating and inspiring people.
These people might be some of our many generous donors. But equally inspiring are the individuals who work tirelessly for the causes that matter so much to them. Often, volunteers, are the unsung heroes who enable so many community groups to tick – and without them and their selfless efforts, many such groups would grind to a halt.
I have been delighted to go on a couple of visits recently, to see some of the causes that Foundation Derbyshire has been supporting. I accompanied Derbyshire’s High Sheriff Lucy Palmer, whose links with the Foundation are multiple; she was a Trustee for 12 years, set up her own endowment fund, and acts as a panel member on the High Sheriff’s fund.
Over two days we saw a complete mixture of Derbyshire causes, reminding us not only of the amazing things that get done ‘on a shoestring’ in the county but also of how a grant from Foundation Derbyshire can make a massive difference to their charity. Wherever we went on those two days (in Buxton, Wirksworth and Derby), we were greeted with such enthusiasm by the groups that we visited. The groups we saw were Cruse Bereavement in Derby, Revive Healthy Living in Chaddesden, Voluntary & Community Services in Buxton, the Wirksworth Heritage Centre, and WISH (Wirksworth in Support of Health).
I am very enthusiastic about the new Friends of Foundation Derbyshire scheme. Our launch event, generously hosted by Lord and Lady Edward Manners at Haddon Hall last December, introduced the scheme to lots of new friends. I am delighted that the Foundation team is working hard at planning a series of varied Friends events for 2019, and indeed for 2020.
The idea is that new friends will be able to meet each other at the events (which may take place anywhere in the county, from Swadlincote to Glossop to Bakewell to Derby to Chesterfield) and also have an opportunity to learn a bit of what we have been up to.
2019 is going to be a busy time!