My Week: Linda Butcher meets some feisty campaigners

The chief executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation recounts her week

Linda Butcher
Linda Butcher

SUNDAY: I attend a training weekend for the foundation's 2010 award winners. We work hard to live up to Sheila McKechnie's legacy - she was a feisty, formidable and highly effective campaigner - so I am delighted to meet similarly feisty campaigners. This includes Noori, who is challenging negative stereotypes of young Muslims, and Lara, whose group of parents won their battle over a phone mast near the school. It makes me reflect on my own feistiness and how I sometimes experience moments of self-doubt, even when things are going well.

MONDAY: I've been in the UK and active in the voluntary and community sectors for 30 years, but it is a only year ago today that I was formally recognised as a citizen. My thoughts drift across the Atlantic to my dad, in hospital in Detroit. We almost lost him this weekend. I explain at today's session how he inspires me and tell the story of his decade-long campaign against local sewer taxes where I grew up. His battle ended in the US Supreme Court and, although the judges agreed on moral grounds, he lost because of a legal loophole. Like Sheila McKechnie, he took independent and uncompromising action on an issue affecting his community. Lifelong 'big citizens', both of them.

TUESDAY: I go to a lunch to hear about a campaign by Benard Wakoli to raise awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights in western Kenya, which won our international award. Creativity can overcome extremely limited resources. Many of us struggle to get our message across despite having email, telephones, social media and so on. I'm excited by technology's potential, but this affirms that it will never fully replace human exchange.

WEDNESDAY: I meet trustees to plan our first evening fundraiser. I'm wary of exploring every funding option in order to stay afloat, whether or not it fits with objectives and values. But I feel privileged to work in an organisation that knows who we are, what we are here to do and for whom.

- The Sheila McKechnie Foundation supports campaigners to bring about positive social change

- Linda Butcher is chief executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation

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