A Day in the Life… Felicity Smith, National Co-ordinator at FaithAction
It’s Thursday and I’m in the office at 8:30… today is a particularly busy day for me, but no matter what I have on, the first stop is always to get a cup of coffee. Having a six-month-old son means that sleep is a rare occurrence and caffeine is the way I make it through the day!
The first thing is to check through my e-mails, which is often a mixture of messages from the Department of Health, other Strategic Partners, members, and of course, colleagues. At 9am, normally the FaithAction team is in the office (unless there are meetings going on) and we have a ‘stand up’ summary of what each of us have on for the day. It’s a great way to find out what everyone is up to and chip in if we have useful things for them to be aware of… and it shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes!
This morning, some of the FaithAction team are in a meeting about a new business development opportunity that would benefit our members. In every opportunity we get offered, we make sure we weigh it up to ensure it benefits our members and the main aim of FaithAction. I use the opportunity to catch up on e-mails and finding information for our newsletter that goes out every Thursday. I also check in on where we are with our work plan; part of my work is to complete our Health and Social Care contract and I regularly check that we’re on target. Part of our work is around faith and public health and we’re writing a web page – so I write some text for that page as well as a list of what is to be included.
At 10am, I have a phone call with a contact who works in the area of end-of-life care. I use the opportunity to update them on the work that we have going on, and to ask for resources and information for the Faith Health Portal we’re developing. The Faith Health Portal will draw together resources and information for our members on particular health issues that faith groups deal with. It will also have information on it around how to have impact locally and the Health and Social Care landscape. They agree to send me some resources for that section of the portal… and after that conversation, I jump on a train to London…
In London I have two meetings, both with different strategic partners. The first is with a partner organisation on a piece of work to see how the voluntary sector is finding Healthwatch and how to equip the sector to be better represented. FaithAction is required to deliver some resources and training at their events, so my job is to scope out the work and then deliver it. The meeting sets out the way forward for the piece of work – what we both want as partners out of it – and then it’s down the road to the next meeting.
The next meeting is at Public Health England with a number of strategic partners. We have pulled together the group to talk about Joint Strategic Needs Analysis and what we can do as partners to make the process better. Each partner has done some work around the area – as has FaithAction – but there is still a need to make the process better and the voluntary sector better equipped. I love discussions like this, as it sums up the essence of the strategic partnership – a number of similar organisations but representing different voices coming together to provide what is needed for the sector as a whole. The discussion is a very fruitful one, with PHE offering a great insight into what would be helpful to them, and some work is carved out for us. My job when I get back into the office is to summarise the discussion and type up notes… something that, from my scribbling, might prove difficult.
After that meeting it’s back on the train out of London, hoping to beat the rush hour. On the train, I work through e-mails and update the FA team on the outcome of the meeting. It’s imperative that we keep lines of communication open between us as we are often in front of people and we need to have clear knowledge of all the different areas we’re working in. On the way back, I see a fund that’s helpful to our members, so I send it to Chris, who writes our e-news, for the next edition, as well as a query from a member which I reply to, and a new resource for our health portal.
Once back in the office, I start to summarise the meeting I was just at and follow up on the partner I met with earlier and the actions from that meeting. I find it’s always best to send an e-mail with actions in after seeing someone as it helps both me and them remember what was agreed. Once the clock strikes 5pm, I’m in the car off to pick up my son from nursery… 4 cups of coffee later…