My Week: Helen Walker has to face her worst nightmare

The chief executive of TimeBank recounts her week

Helen Walker
Helen Walker

Monday: If one more person walks into my office and asks me if I've heard from the Office for Civil Society about our application for £500,000 from the strategic partners programme, I'll go mad. At 11.39 I receive an email I'm almost too scared to open because it's from the OCS. It confirms our worst nightmares: we will not receive any funding from the programme. I watch the faces of the highly committed professionals around me fall as I break the news. My communications team immediately implements the PR plan for this outcome as we tell the world we're not happy and need support.

Tuesday: We've already got more than 1,500 signatures on our e-petition calling for the government to reconsider. The phones are ringing off the hook, emails are flying in and, what's more, I've got workmen next door to my office, noisily building meeting rooms we might no longer need. I head to parliament and manage to say a couple of things to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society.

Thursday: Our pleas to all supporters to lobby their local MPs are paying off and I'm having to drop everything in my diary to meet them. I give some thought to a parliamentary event where we will be discussing plans to build a web resource for MPs wishing to volunteer - oh, the irony. At the same time, I'm having to reassure funders that we're not about to go under and we're still committed to our projects. I also fit in a hospital appointment about a couple of broken metatarsals: a Beckham-like injury, but not caused by playing international football.

Friday: I try to fit in an interview with one of the Sunday papers around a man coming to my house to get a squirrel out of my loft. I finally manage to nail a meeting with Nick Hurd for the end of the month. With all the drama of the week, I realise that I'm speaking at a London 2012 conference next week about the volunteering legacy of the Olympic Games. Looks like my social life will be put on hold.

TimeBank helps individuals and businesses find volunteering opportunities

Helen Walker is chief executive of TimeBank

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