I came across Access All Areas by chance early 2013. A friend from college and fellow London-based Huddersfield Town fan put me in touch, knowing my accounting background. A position on the board was about to become vacant after the existing (and very longstanding!) treasurer was heading for retirement.
I was working for the organising committee of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the time. Now the games were finished, I had more capacity in my personal life than I'd had in the years leading up to the event.
Access All Areas is a theatre company for adults with learning disabilities and autism. My background is sport. Just sport. Not the arts, not theatre, not disability theatre. Just sports.
One of their performers had a starring role as the only learning disabled circus performer in the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, so when I found that out, I suddenly became more interested.
Access All Areas is based in Hackney, East London, part of the world I'd called home since moving to Bow in 2005, so I went along to one of their shows out of curiosity. It was a variety show which tailored each performance to the performers' abilities, a real heart-warming display that clearly was making a difference to their lives and providing audience entertainment at the same time. So I said yes.
Five years on and I come to the end of my term with the charity, having seen the organisation grow from 3 staff to 7, and from 80k to £350k annual revenue. Governance in that time has stepped up to the levels expected of a company of this size and beyond.
I've been involved in the set up of the finance system, accounts production, policy setting, bank account set up, pension registration - and really learned the inside workings of an organisation
first hand. Some of the challenges we've gone through will be useful in my working life and gives me confidence to be able to set up and run a growing organisation.
I have now moved out of London permanently and so look to pass the reigns on.
The Treasurer position will become vacant again.
Is this the time to expand your horizons?