Martin Baker: Christmas message

Martin Baker, Founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, looks back on 2020.

I really do hope that you have kept safe and healthy during this time. What a year it has been for us all – for you personally, for your organisations and the charity sector as a whole. I naively thought the Charity Learning Consortium was good at predicting our industry’s movements and priorities. We made our plans in January 2020, with a focus on greater support for our members and growth of our membership in Scotland with three more events scheduled. We thought we had a pretty good idea about how this year would pan out…Little did we know.

Although our member’s priorities changed in March, our core values stayed the same. We focused on strengthening our community of learning professionals. In the first seven days of lockdown alone, the RoadMap platform we provide experienced a 350% rise in usage. Charity staff and volunteers across the UK are receiving updates and new resources via the learning management system, to support them whilst working from home or furloughed. 

It has never been more important to put learners’ individual needs at the centre of learning and whilst our tech team worked around the clock to keep our systems working, the marketing team were busy creating resources and coming up with a new way to deliver our members’ meetings. Over the last six months we’ve run webinars, created a series of little books, held two virtual members’ meetings and a conference, with a wide range of speakers sharing their knowledge.

There’s always more to learn though. The Black Lives Matter protests across the country have made me very aware of our responsibility as a Consortium to ensure we represent our diverse community. You have helped to create a Consortium that is a welcoming place for everyone. I personally commit to educating myself more, surrounding myself with a more diverse group of people and using our collective voice to amplify those who go unheard. Look out for some new free resources coming your way very soon, including a full Clear Lessons series on equity, diversity and inclusion. Find out more here.

It has been a pleasure to welcome 35 new charities to our membership this year, taking us to over 200 members. I’m in awe of the work that our charity members have done to keep their teams safe and supported this year and I look forward to seeing new innovation and growth in 2021.

I am sure 2021 will bring new challenges to the third sector, but nothing has prepared us more for this than the events that took place this year. The Charity Learning Consortium is looking forward to a fresh start with loads of new projects coming to fruition in the new year. We can’t wait to support the charity sector with more free resources very soon. Have a very peaceful time this holiday season and, if you celebrate, a merry Christmas too!

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