Christmas and New Year Message 2021 from The Accessful Foundation's CEO

Firstly, happy Christmas to everyone celebrating today. I know this is a different and difficult type of Christmas for many people but I hope that regardless of that, this period can be a good and restful time for all of you. Even if you’re not celebrating today, I’m sure, like me, you’ll use the coming New Year to reflect on 2021 and hopefully be excited for what is coming in 2022. Here at The Accessful Foundation we are about to complete our first year as a launched charity. This is a significant milestone for us and although the date itself isn’t particularly important, what we have learned over the year definitely is. I’d like to share three things that that we, and I, have learned or confirmed over what was been a challenging, exciting, monumental and unique type of year. Firstly, we have continually seen just how important listening to our own community is in establishing our direction as a ‘for disabled people, by disabled people’ organisation. Nothing can be more important than that. Not only is it the right thing to do but the rewards that come from that are massive, for everyone. It make us more inclusive, more efficient and more innovative and helps us understand how to better serve our own community. We can probably all agree the experience of being disabled is unique person to person, and therefore just assuming you meet the needs of your potential beneficiaries, rather than proactively asking them ‘what can we do for you?’ is not the right way to work. One thing you can be sure of is that your feedback will not only be welcomed when it is given, but sought when it is not and makes an actual difference to charity policy and procedure. ‘Listening to everyone’ is an obviously good thing, but if it doesn’t affect change or if the net of who we listen to is small, it almost becomes a soundbite rather than a commitment – we want ours to mean something. So you’ll hear a lot more from us over the coming year asking for your valuable opinions in helping us build going forward, but please contact us at any time if you’d like to put forward an idea, opinion or comment. Secondly, the power of being able to see the things you can improve upon cannot be underestimated. Entrepreneurialism is often about being adaptable and dynamic, and as a charity that is for entrepreneurs – it’s important we remember that for ourselves. We’re not the finished article at all, and that is OK. We’re very open to ideas, constantly looking at what we do and how we can improve it and vitally, I’d like to think we are an organisation that is open to admitting when things could be better or if we have done them wrong, and taking steps to change them. We’ve done that this year and I think the public and our beneficiaries will really feel those positive changes going into the New Year. Knowing your current weaknesses is as important as playing to your strengths, and we’ll continue to be self-reflective and confident enough to be honest with ourselves about where we are. Every business, organisation and individual can gain from doing this. Lastly, I’m reminded here of the quote ‘failure we can do alone, success always takes help’. I’m really proud of the steps we’ve taken in 2021, many of which have been necessary, foundational and will be stand us in good stead going forward. But, we are ambitious. We are needed. And we have a great opportunity to make a lasting, continuing and ranging impact for disabled entrepreneurs in the U.K, and we’re not going to let that opportunity pass us by. However, as with so many things, resources are always going to be the fuel in just how far we go. Of course, this does mean funding and donations – we’re currently working on a very limited budget, and although we’ve seen what we can do with that can be great, we have many things we’d like to introduce in the New Year, so if anyone is interested in donating or fundraising, please get in touch. However, human resources are just as important. We are blessed with wonderful volunteers but we are honestly fairly stretched now as our impact grows, so we’ll be making recruitment drives and asking you to come on board and help us create something special. That may be in admin, fundraising, programmes, mentoring, events or more – again, if you’d like to find out how we can work together, please get in touch. To sign off, I want to take the time to thank everyone that has been involved with the charity in any way this year. Mentors, mentees, fundraisers, volunteers and our incredible board of trustees who have been a mammoth support to the day to day running of the charity. It’s massively appreciated. This will always go down as a key year in the history of this charity, but, we have big plans for 2022 and we cannot wait to share those with you. And have you on board. Thanks for reading. Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Jack Pridmore CEO @ The Accessful Foundation

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