Working Life: Gordon Craig keeps in close contact with forces veterans

The director of fundraising and marketing at the Royal Star & Garter Homes says he wants to make sure the voices of Second World War survivors are heard

Gordon Craig of The Royal Star & Garter Homes
Gordon Craig of The Royal Star & Garter Homes

Typically, I start work at 7.30 in the morning, using the quiet time to tackle emails and admin; then I can be supportive to my 12-strong team when they arrive.

My management style is to give clear direction and then let them get on with it. I have a great team and I hate it when any of them leave, because it's so difficult to find quality applicants who have both experience and a passion for the cause.

I've been in this role for four years. It's incredibly varied because I'm wearing the two hats of fundraising and marketing. They are interlinked - people need to have heard of you and love you in order to support you – but I do have arguments with myself. It could be that an appeal will raise lots of money without looking good from a brand perspective. But my background is in corporate fundraising and, ultimately, I believe it's all about bringing in the money - otherwise the charity would not exist.

Our admin office is separate from our two homes for veterans, but I think it is really important that my team and I visit the residents to maintain an understanding of what our work is about. My father was in the army and I admire anyone who is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I visit both homes regularly and give tours to supporters. Our veterans have great stories and, at the centenary of the start of the First World War, there has been particular media interest, especially given that our charity was born out of that war.

It's also important that survivors of the Second World War are heard, because that generation is now starting to die out. Harnessing this interest also helps to attract public support for our organisation. The centenary of our organisation will be in 2016, and we are already planning for that.

After my early start, I try to leave work at 4pm if I can, so that I can try to beat the rush hour and get home in time to help my kids with their homework.

The Royal Star & Garter Homes provides nursing and therapeutic care to ex- servicemen and women in Solihull, West Midlands, and Surbiton, Surrey. It is expected to open a third home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in 2016.

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