Hope for the Future's Chair of Trustees, Glyn Turton, reflects on the first five years of the organisation and looks forward to the next five.
July was a good month for Hope for the Future – one in which we paused to look back and to look forward. At a development day on the 10th, we thought long and hard about our future, and three days later, we were joined by our many friends and supporters at a fifth birthday party to celebrate the successes of our past.
Five years ago, a small group of friends who attended the same church, decided that something must be done about climate change – and that that something must be influencing politicians to take action. From this initial conviction came the idea of helping others to challenge our elected representatives on what is surely the most urgent problem facing the world. After four years of hard, voluntary work, testing out our ideas on how that might be done, we finally became a registered charity in the summer of 2017. Since then, our small team of paid staff and our much larger group of volunteers have become recognised as leaders in the field of training citizens to petition their MPs and councillors about the dangers of global warming.
But how do we sustain and expand our activity? To that question we turned our minds on July 10th. With the invaluable help of our facilitator, Nick Nuttgens of the University of Sheffield, staff and trustees examined every aspect of our current activity, reaffirmed our commitment to action on the climate, and looked at ways in which we might secure additional funding. In doing this, we were under no illusions as to the challenges that lie ahead; these are difficult times for all charities. But what gives us our strength is the certainty that we have found a winning formula that brings benefits for all those with whom we engage: for the groups of citizens, in whom we build capacity and confidence; for our many volunteer workers who gain experience and insight; and for the MPs and councillors who come to appreciate the concerns of their constituents and the importance of responding to those concerns.
As we worked through the issues that arose on our development day, one thing assumed particular prominence: our reliance on those who support us, and the need to increase their number. Our birthday celebrations on the 13th July gave us a splendid opportunity to gather together those who are already our friends and to thank them for all they have done for us. But it also allowed us to showcase our work in a splendid exhibition and to put out an appeal for the support, both moral and material, that will enable us to consolidate and then to grow. The appreciation, the congratulations and the plaudits we received on that memorable evening gave us all a tremendous boost and inspired us to work hard for a cause in which we passionately believe.